Entrepreneurs are privy to a rare set of experiences. Certainly many share the road to success and accomplishment. Standing at the top, however, has it's own set of rules and responsibilities.
Not everything in an entrepreneur's life is glorified. There are massive repercussions both good and bad to actions taken. There are many obstacles that exist only for the person in charge of the vision and the execution. The real glory is in overcoming these challenges and sharing the success with those who helped you reach the mountaintop. Share this list with those people so they understand your plight and realize how critically you appreciate their support.
1. The unblazed trail.
Successful entrepreneurs are doing something different. Some disrupt old standards in a big way, like Musk or Zuckerberg. Others are simply executing better than their competition. In either case, most likely their approach is new and different from that of others before them. That means they don't know exactly where or how to turn. They spend every day staring into the fog trying to figure out which way to go.
2. The lone venture.
The best part of being an employee is having peers to share the load. Successful entrepreneurs can enjoy the camaraderie of the team, but when the future is unclear or unsure, it's the entrepreneur who ultimately has to lead the way to success for everyone else.
3. The weight of leadership.
Success is generally attributed to all that helped. Disaster is allowed only to the leader at the top. Successful entrepreneurs understand that the failure at the front line was ultimately the responsibility of the person on top with the flawed strategy, poor hiring practice, or bad management skills.
4. The dependency of teamwork.
No entrepreneur has ever achieved success without other people's buying into the vision and giving support. A furniture maker can create a work of art locked up alone in a workshop. A writer can produce a great tome in an isolated cave. But a single person cannot build a company of greatness. Despite their human weaknesses in people skills and communications, successful entrepreneurs must depend on the dedication and commitment of others.
5. The challenge of extraction.
Entrepreneurs figure out a lot of stuff in their heads. Much of their initial success happens due to instinct. But others need to replicate their approach to build upon that success. That means the entrepreneur has to somehow share what's in his or her brain and articulate it in a way others will understand.
6. The requirement of process.
It would be great if people just naturally knew what to do and when to do it. Then any approach would build a great company. But the bigger a company gets, the more its functionality needs to be uniform. Successful entrepreneurs have to take uncommon actions and create consistent process to achieve scalability.
7. The stress of adaptation.
You can roll your eyes every time some entrepreneur says "Time to pivot!" But change is the only constant in the marketplace. Successful entrepreneurs have to anticipate change at every turn and figure out how to adapt every time, even when the market controls the required speed.
8. The responsibility of knowing.
Once the dollars have been committed and the employees have been hired, there is no turning back and no getting it wrong. When the team is out of ideas and the internet no longer serves up new facts, it's the entrepreneur who must decide how to move forward. Inertia is not an option.
9. The requirement of failure.
No great success ever happened without some aspect of failure. Successful entrepreneurs may not dwell on those downtimes, but they willingly accept them as well as the lessons that come from self-induced catastrophes. Along the way they'll bravely take the heat to preserve the egos on the team.
10. The pressure of legacy.
Rarely do successful entrepreneurs achieve for the purpose of wealth. What drives them is the need to add something to the world that is meaningful and significant. That need wakes them up in the morning and keeps them from sleeping at night. They won’t rest until they know they have made a recognizable difference.