When you’re thinking about taking the plunge and becoming an entrepreneur, for the first few weeks and months of your entrepreneurial journey, the prospect of being your own boss and investing in your own enterprise is exhilarating. You read stories about overnight successes and other business leaders finally feeling fulfilled in their work and think that you’ll experience the same level of success or fulfillment as soon as you get started.
While these positive and exciting elements of entrepreneurship are certainly true and make the job worthwhile, you have to remember there’s also a dark side to entrepreneurship. It isn’t all fun and games, and those “overnight successes” are almost invariably the product of exhausting behind-the-scenes work and years of practice and failure.
Before you get too excited about being an entrepreneur, temper your expectations with these seven dark truths:
1. You won’t make money right away.
Raising capital for your business is tough, and usually serves as a financial eye-opener to hopeful young entrepreneurs who think business ownership leads to quick profits. The truth is, for most businesses, the first few years of operations are spent getting your infrastructure up and running. You’ll spend more than you’ll generate in revenue, and as a result, you probably won’t receive a paycheck for several months. You’ll have to rely on your personal savings or reserves for basic living expenses and hope things pan out in the future.
2. Your personal life will suffer.
No matter how optimistically you charge into the role or how committed you are to prioritizing your personal relationships, they are going to suffer as you continue building your business. You’ll be working long hours, sometimes at home, and you’ll be on call for resolving business problems on nights, weekends and holidays. You’ll be distracted almost constantly, thinking about the problems your business is facing, and the financial stress you’ll bear will take its toll on your relationships.
3. Trying to juggle everything will take its toll on you.
As CEO of your own business, you’ll wear many hats. You’ll do some of the work you love to do, but you’ll also be an administrator, a supervisor, a technician, an HR manager and a marketer all at the same time. No matter how excited you are to take on these responsibilities at the beginning of your time as an entrepreneur, this constant gear shifting will inevitably wear you down.
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