Entrepreneurship is known to be high in risk but yield high rewards. While it's valuable and motivating to focus on the benefits, there are four things to consider before taking that first step to starting your own business.
You're not working for yourself.
It's a common misconception that entrepreneurs begin their own business to escape working in an office or dealing with a boss. Even if you're a one-man shop for several months or years, you cannot escape working with other people or having someone else to answer to. When launching a business, an entrepreneur is working for everyone: clients, investors, lawyers, accountants, and more. It's impossible to escape dealing with others' opinions, habits and styles of communication, even if you spend most of the time working from home. Entrepreneurs rely on other people for business and success, so don't start thinking it will be any different.
Jeff Ellman, co-founder of UrbanBound, tells me, "Being an entrepreneur allows you to affect change in a big way and to create the type of company and culture that you want to have, but you can't get there on your own. As a business scales, you need employees that are able to help maintain what you've worked so hard to create. Entrepreneurship is a 24/7 consuming job where you have to be able to fill many roles and keep many different sectors of people happy and challenged--I have employees that rely on me, investors to answer to and clients whose expectations need to be met. I go to bed thinking about work and I wake up thinking about work, but in the end I know that I have built the best team around me to bring an idea into reality and to provide solutions for real problems companies are having."
People are relying on you.
Again, it's a common assumption that entrepreneurs are on their own and they'll only disappoint themselves if they fail. This couldn't be more untrue. Investors, clients or customers, and the team you build are all counting on you for leadership, opportunity and success. In the early stages, you may take the hardest hit in a failure. However, once you're responsible for someone's paycheck, you're responsible for a lot more than yourself.
"Being a tech entrepreneur is a daily grind and one that requires 24/7 dedication. The others you surround yourself with are a direct reflection of you and your vision for the company," says Chris Roebuck, CEO and Founder of Clicktivated. "Picking your team and managing them is a major responsibility and vital to your company's ultimate success. Always remember that your people are relying on you, not only for their livelihood, but for guidance and leadership."
This shouldn't scare you out of leading a business. Remember to take it seriously and respect your team because they believe in the risk you're taking.
No one will care as much as you do.
It's sad but true. Even the most loyal employees and investors don't care quite as much as you do. Many people may believe in what you're doing and want to support you, but don't expect the same die hard, work-all-weekend, you-can-sleep-when-you're-dead attitude from your team. They'll respect and support you, but you're the one who believed in this idea enough to make something of it. Understand this and work with it; don't hold it against them.
Take caution in who you associate with.
The people you surround yourself with, inside and out of your business, will make a difference. Sure, there will be haters and doubters, but don't allow these people into your circle of influence or into your company. Spend time with other like-minded, hard-working entrepreneurs who get the struggle and the successes. Turn to the people who will give honest, albeit difficult, feedback. Hire constructive and open-minded employees. Don't waste time attempting to win over those who do not understand your idea or who will lie for the sake of being nice. There's nothing to learn from these people and it will negatively impact your focus.
"Attracting the right employees, investors, and customers requires being authentic and communicating your vision," says Bill Bennett, Founder of Level Office. "That way, believers opt in and then I can delight my team and partners by focusing my time on supporting their self-growth and goals. At the heart of it, leadership is about service."