To be an entrepreneur you have to be wired differently. Entrepreneurs crave success at all costs. Tenacity is a major component of what makes an entrepreneur successful

Anyone who has ventured to start a business of their own knows the difficulties that come with it. The journey is full of obstacles, putting you at risk for entrepreneurial burnout. Figuring out how to survive the challenges of startup life can be extremely difficult.

Austin Rolling, CEO and founder of Outfield, a mobile CRM and field sales app, shared his story with me about the up-and-down journey of starting a company. After getting his MBA, he watched his former classmates get high-paying jobs while he worked for $12 an hour at retailer Sports Authority, all while trying to launch his own company. 

As he sought to get Outfield off the ground, his house went into foreclosure and his car got repossessed. Suddenly this CEO was homeless and without a car while trying to lead a startup. 

Rolling shared with me three key learnings from the struggles he faced during his entrepreneurial journey. 

1. Focus on your vision

In the beginning stages of a company, it can feel like everything is going wrong. Employee burnout is extremely common in the modern working world, especially for entrepreneurs. There has to be something keeping you going through the day-to-day grind. If you do not have something you are working toward, you will end up succumbing to your circumstances. 

"All I knew is I had a vision. This had to happen," Rolling said. He would spend time refocusing on the vision of what the company could be to keep him going. It is easy to lose sight of the end goal when you are building a company from the ground up, so taking time to adjust your perspective can go a long way.

2. Manage your mental health

Rolling's story is just one example of how the startup life can be extremely unstable. You might not know how to make payroll or if that important deal will close. You cannot ignore the impact a lack of stability can have on your mental health. 

While starting his company, Rolling was in a very dark place. He knew he had to do something to cope, so he did some soul searching. Rolling found solace in a few places like music, reading, and the gym. "It was a form of therapy to go lay on my floor and listen to music," he explained. "I listened to as much uplifting media as I could."

As Warren Buffet once taught, how you care for your mind and body today will determine how your mind and body will operate in the future. Find the forms of therapy that work for you. It could be music, hanging out with friends, going to the gym, or watching a motivational video. 

3. See failure as an opportunity to learn 

Innovation requires experimenting, which will naturally lead to failure. If there is not a climate where failure is okay, you could be missing out on opportunities. 

When Rolling started Outfield, he had already failed at starting several companies. "When you fail, don't live in it, learn from it," he said. He brought this same mentality to his company. "I want my team to be comfortable saying a bad idea because it might lead to a good idea." 

When you embark on the entrepreneurial journey, failure and difficulties are inevitable. Embrace your failures and learn from them. If you don't lose sight of your vision and take steps to manage your mental health, you can find success long term. 

Published on: Mar 18, 2020
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