It’s my 2 into my entrepreneurial adventure and it has been an exciting, but deeply challenging journey.
When you set out on a journey like this, you get called bold, crazy, adventurous, even foolish! Often by the people closest to you.
And that’s before you even start.
Yet, with all the discouragement and difficulty, some of us succeed and go on to live lives infinitely happier than they were before.
So what makes an entrepreneur successful?
Quitting you job is the easy part. Making the first few changes is easy. Fun even! But starting out as an entrepreneur is often a 24/7 job and that gets tough.
Of the many people I know who left their 9-5 job to start their own thing, few lasted longer than a year. Even fewer eventually reached success.
Part of that is due to the market today. Virtually everything is saturated. Strategies for innovation that worked 10 years ago aren’t relevant anymore.
But then, if it were easy, everyone would do it.
So why do we still try? Because it’s exciting. It’s fun. It’s adventurous. It’s leaving behind the drudgery to build our dreams! And ultimately, success is possible.
If you’re thinking of leaving your 9-5, ask yourself if you have what it takes. Here are 5 hard truths about what you will need to succeed:
1. Motivation, Determination and Curiosity
This is the trifecta of entrepreneurial drive. You need all 3 if you’re going to succeed.
If you’re motivated only by money, or have only a curiosity for a new technology, stay in your 9-5.
One of the toughest moments for new entrepreneurs is when the full realization of not having a regular paycheck hits you. And it hits hard. When it does, you will have some tough decisions to make.
Forget the Caribbean vacation. It’ll be a backyard vacation. Or no vacation at all because you run the show at your new venture. You are the show.
You will have to start watching your spending, even for necessities. Budgeting will become a way of life.
There will be times when months pass with no money coming in and plenty going out.
In fact, money now goes out like never before. You have legal fees, financial fees, contractors, service fees, business expenses and more.
If you are looking at entrepreneurialism as a quick get rich plan, look again. It isn’t.
Starting your own company is a multidimensional school; a university of thought and training.
It is an ‘in the trenches’ education on what true responsibility looks like.
To go through these tough months, or even years, you need a lot of motivation. You need to be determined. Your curiosity has to stay fresh and vibrant. You need grit.
Giving up is easy. And there will be times when that easy way out looks really tempting. You won’t have money for physical rewards, so what will keep you going?
If you stick it out, there will come a time when you can look back and see, with clarity, how and why you got through it. Following through won’t make sense at the beginning. But a successful entrepreneur will do it anyway. Maybe there’s something to calling us “crazy” after all ;-)
2. The Will to Learn
What do I mean by this?
You have to look at everything – EVERYTHING – from a learning perspective. That’s how you make it through to the end.
If you look at things from this perspective, you will always see more to an experience than what is happening in the moment. There is more than the hardship or the disappointment. There is no failure. There is only a lesson. And a valuable one.
Imagine dealing with a really tough client. The struggle of working with them is a lot for what you’re being paid. (Spoiler alert: this scenario will come up a lot.) You won’t get through it if you only look at the monetary value of the experience. You have to look at the knowledge and experience you’re gaining as part of the package.
3. Partner & Mentors
This, for me, is the most important thing.
The right mentors and partners are critical. Not only because of the financials, the lessons and wisdom, but for the support. You will need a lot of it.
Having the right advice at the right time is priceless. Sometimes, advice from an ‘expert’ is not the right advice for you. Advice from someone who knows you, your business, your goals, your strengths and weaknesses… that advice is invaluable and goes a long way.
To succeed you need smart, trustworthy people around you, either as mentors, partners or both.
If you are fortunate enough to have a co-located partner to share office space with, even better. When you leave a 9-5 you gain freedom, but often lose discipline. With the right partner, you can keep each other in check.
4. Positive Attitude
Shit happens! Honestly, everyday it’s something else. Having a positive attitude isn’t about sunshine and rainbows. It’s about keeping your head on straight and focusing on solutions, not problems.
Don’t spend your days concentrating on problems, email overload, bottlenecks and troubleshooting. Instead, concentrate on the possibilities. The potential. The solutions and opportunities. Concentrate on the positive at all times. Learn. Get better. Move forward.
Work hard, but celebrate harder.
Don’t let time pass without enjoying it. Remember why you started this crazy journey in the first place.
5. Vision & Discipline
The dream! Your dream! That’s what drives you. That’s what will get you through the hardest times.
But a vision without discipline is just fanciful thinking. Keep your eye always on that beautiful light at the end of the tunnel. But if all you do is look at it, it’ll dim. You have to keep pushing towards it for it to get bigger and brighter.
I was working with a client recently. After months of failed attempts to launch a product line due to operational issues, he looked at me and said, “Is this struggle necessary?” I looked back and said, “What could be more necessary?”
Dreams and visions are so important for an entrepreneur. At one point, your dream will be the only thing that keeps you going. Never take your eye off it.
Before leaving your day job, consider these hard truths. If you are ready for them, if your heart is still driving you to become an entrepreneur, then be crazy. Do it.
Image Source: Montreal Tips