There are plenty of rags to riches stories woven into our cultural consciousness, and many times we tend to idolize those who have succeeded at making their own dreams a reality.

While success stories like that of Bill Gates are somewhat of an anomaly, there are many aspects of the entrepreneurial lifestyle that often get left out of the rags to riches, glitz and glam narrative.

The following are just a few of the things you're not likely to be told about what it's like to be an entrepreneur.

1. You have to know how to swim or else you're going to sink.

You're all alone when you start your own business. There's nobody else there to help or support you, other than perhaps a co-founder. When you work for another business, you have employees that are there to back you up and give you a sense of community, as well as to gauge the quality of your work against. However, working for yourself takes that away, and you have to learn how to be the best judge of things for yourself.

2. It's going to take time to see returns.

You will have to be patient when it comes to making money. There will be a period of time, usually between six months and a year, where you will not see any returns coming in to you (at least not significant ones) while you continue to put money into your business. This is because you need time to drive customers in to your business, but regardless, it is a bit of a grueling process.

3. You need to hire good employees.

The caliber of your employees, especially when your business is in its fledgling state, can make or break your success. Your employees need to not only know their stuff, but really be team players, because everybody is going to be counting on one another to keep the ship afloat for quite some time.

4. You are probably not going to strike it rich.

Even though the rich entrepreneur is romanticized in our society, most entrepreneurs are the furthest thing from rich. If you have not gotten the picture already, there is a lot of out of pocket expenditure that comes with starting a business, and while you are still building a customer base, you are not likely to see any income coming back to you. Even when income does flow your way, it is not likely to be in large denominations, and this is something that you are going to have to embrace as a part of your lifestyle.

5. Everything takes a longer time to complete than you would think.

And the implications of this are far reaching. Putting in 12 to 15 hours a day to make your dreams a reality will obviously take away from other areas of your life, which can be difficult for your friends and family to understand at first. It also might be hard for you to understand, even if you accept the fact of long days; they are grueling when they stack up, but they are worth it when you see the fruits of your labor ripen!

Published on: Aug 7, 2014