Entrepreneurship has become the new "rock star" title. But before you go bragging about your decision to take the road less traveled, here are a few things you should know about what's just around the bend:
1. It's harder on relationships than you'll ever anticipate.
Not only will your relationships fall out of balance, but you'll struggle to see that imbalance even taking place at all. And worse, you'll get frustrated over why your significant other and friends aren't more compassionate toward your relentless work schedule.
2. It costs double, and takes twice as long.
As my mentor used to say, "It always costs twice as much as you think it's going to cost, and will take twice as long as you think it's going to take." Plan accordingly, because this always holds true, no matter how small or large the venture.
3. Increased stress with decreased sleep.
Your business is like your child: it will never sleep, it will cry all throughout the night, and no matter how much time you spend with it, it will always want more.
4. "Hanging out" will no longer exist.
Your friends will become the people you work with--that's the truth. I highly suggest working with and hiring people you could also see yourself having dinner with, because that's going to happen on a regular basis.
5. Work-life balance will be impossible (for a while).
When you're an entrepreneur, your business and your life become synonymous. You will find yourself constantly pulled by both, and eventually you'll have to settle for the grey area in between. But especially when you're first starting out, you will have to sacrifice a lot of the luxuries a more balanced lifestyle provides to ensure the long-term success of your endeavors.
6. You will constantly feel uncertain as to whether it's working or not.
This is your venture, your vision, which means success is entirely dependent upon your own definition. Along with that freedom comes the constant uncertainty as to whether you're actually "succeeding" at all--and that feeling can be difficult when felt over long periods of time.
7. You will worry that someone is executing your idea, better.
A common fear, but one that can either feed your fire or entirely put it out. Many entrepreneurs struggle with watching their competition hit the market first, or execute an idea with more fluidity and finesse. You can't let these things get you down. You simply have to learn and adjust accordingly.
8. Both success and failure greatly impact different relationships you have with people.
When things are going well, everyone will want to work with you and be your friend. And when things aren't going so well, the opposite will happen. For as many moments of celebration, there will be moments of jealousy. For every friend made, will be another friend who turns their back at some point. This is just part of the game. Your job is to always take the higher road.
9. Every responsibility always falls back on you.
Being an effective leader is all about understanding that at the end of the day, anything that happens comes back to you. Instead of pointing and blaming, it's important to acknowledge yourself at the helm of the ship.
10. There's always something to do--which leads to feelings of inadequacy.
When you own your own business, there is never a moment of "nothing to do." Because of this, no matter how much you get done in a day, you will always feel unaccomplished. Try your best not to see it that way though. It will only exhaust you.
11. There's no guarantee of anything.
No matter how great the idea, how talented the team, at the end of the day the market decides. You aren't guaranteed success, no matter how hard you work.
12. Regardless of how you feel that day, you have to show up to put food on the table (for yourself and your employees).
This is what makes entrepreneurship a marathon, not a sprint. You need to be able to endure over the long term. Because whether you're sick, whether you're feeling down, whether you've got something going on in your personal life, your business is dependent upon you--especially in the beginning. That's a big responsibility for a lot of people to handle.
13. When your business is operating at a loss, it will make your stomach twist.
Before I took my own leap into entrepreneurship, my mentor (a serial entrepreneur himself) told me, "There will be days where your stomach will twist. It's then you need to get quiet in the storm and just ride things out."
14. Other people's livelihoods are dependent upon you.
Your business isn't emotionless--it's actually very human, since you are most likely employing other people. And those people have lives, of which they are looking to you for a stable income. That, in itself, can be the source of a lot of stress that you need to prepare yourself for.
15. There comes a point when you have to accept you've failed, and pivot or move on.
Over time, you become attached to your business--which makes cutting ties with it a difficult task, should things not pan out accordingly. But entrepreneurship is all about pivoting and adjusting, and if you aren't able to do so, you'll find yourself in even worse circumstances soon enough.
16. No one will appreciate how much you do, nor should you expect them too.
This is your road. This is your dream. You cannot and should not expect the people you employ or work with to clap for you along the way. You have to be emotionally mature enough to be able to move forward without needing validation for your efforts.
17. You will try to run the marathon as if it's a sprint, and it won't be sustainable.
Your personal health will be the first thing to go. You will ditch things like going to the gym or eating healthy in an attempt to get more work done. And while this may work for a small amount of time, eventually it will start to hinder you severely. Do not fall into this trap.
18. You will have to learn to judge success over the course of a quarter or a year, not a day or a week.
While it's small successes that ultimately ladder up to become much bigger wins, you will have so many balls in the air that you won't be able to touch them all on a daily basis. Which means in order to properly gauge success, you'll need to learn the difficult lesson of reviewing progress over much longer periods of time: quarters and years.
19. If and when you do fail, it will have your name on it.
And of course, the single most frightening part of entrepreneurship that so many people struggle with is pride--or rather, the fear of losing pride. If you fail, everyone will know you were the one driving the ship when it crashed. That, in itself, can be a debilitating thought, but it's a real one.
However, with all these things at the forefront, it's important to acknowledge what could potentially hold you back on your entrepreneurship journey, so that you can effectively move beyond them.