Every year thousands of people quit their jobs to take up the entrepreneur path looking to build their own business. They are often seduced by the get rich quick success stories such as Uber, WhatsApp, etc., or the idea of being your own boss, setting your own hours, and having much more freedom and money.
Unfortunately, the reality is often very different. These are the seven things I wish that I had known before I decided to quit my job and become and entrepreneur.
1 - Great Ideas, Don't Always Make Great Businesses.
AltaVista was a groundbreaking search engine, when it first came out, it was way ahead of the competition, but the problem was they couldn't figure out how to monetize it. Nobody wanted to pay for searches and ultimately this great idea and flopped as a business.
When Google came along, they solved the riddle of making money from search engines, but they did it through advertising.
Great ideas that don't generate revenue will ultimately fail as businesses.
2 - If You Build It, They Might Not Come.
Now you have monetized your idea you have put yourself in a great position.
But don't think just because you have product or service is great, or because your friends and family think it's fantastic that people will just turn up and buy it.
You need to do Marketing and lots of it. You need to create the demand, plant the seed and create the need. No Marketing, no Sales.
3 - You'll Have Less Freedom.
Be an entrepreneur the advert said, and just imagine all the freedom.
I think this is probably the biggest myth of all and the one that catches most people out.
I say that as I am constantly amazed by the number of people I coach, who moved into Entrepreneurship for the freedom, only to find that they traded a five-days-a-week 60-hour job, for a seven-days-a-week 100-hour+ job, only for much less money.
Entrepreneurship should come with a warning saying Entrepreneurship: all weekends and holidays canceled for the foreseeable future.
4 - Follow The Money, Not Just Your Passion
We often hear the phrase "Follow your passion, not just the money."
Now while this sounds very appealing and romantic, but if you just follow your passion more often than not you just end up with an expensive hobby. One that eats through your savings very quickly and leaves you with nothing to show for your time and investment.
First, you need to make sure that you can monetize your passion.
Second, you need to make sure it's profitable.
Third we need to understand how money works.
"You need to understand the effect of debt, gain ideas about loans, and strategize your investments to succeed," reports Honestly Now.
We also need to make sure that we work ON the business, and not just IN business.
Unless your passion is doing business, you will find yourself spending all your time working IN the business if you just follow your passion.
And remember if you only work IN the business, and not ON the business, you will very quickly be OUT of business.
5 - Anyone Can Be An Entrepreneur, But Not Everyone Should.
This is like saying anyone can be a sales person, or anyone can be a leader. Now while it's basically true, it doesn't that everyone should try.
Being an entrepreneur is hard, it requires determination, inventiveness, focus, sales, tenacity, self-reliance, self-confidence, etc., etc., this list goes on because the roles that an entrepreneur needs to perform is long.
According to Bloomberg, 80% of first-time businesses fail, so while it's true that anyone could be an entrepreneur that statistics show that at most only 20% who start out make it.
6 - You Won't Have a Boss. You'll Have Many!
Working for yourself and being your own boss are not the same thing.
I know from experience that when you run your own business, you end up with more bosses, not less. Some days it feels like every customer thinks they're your boss, and on the other days, that's actually true.
As an entrepreneur, you can end up answering to multiple people rather than just one, such as Investors, the bank, business partners, as well customers.
7 - This Time Next Year You Won't Be A Billionaire.
Many are attracted to the entrepreneur lifestyle, believing it to be the fastest way to make big big money.
Now while that can happen, there are very few overnight successes in business, and even when they happen it's rarely just overnight.
Seth Godin says "It takes three years to be an overnight success, sometimes more."
When you take the entrepreneur path, you need to have a great business idea, have a clear plan to make it profitable, know who your customer's ideal customers are, how to market to them and you need to be prepared for years, and years of hard work.
Don't fall for the romance, because this is the reality of being an entrepreneur.