You read about people who are successful. You see their smiling faces on television and social media. They look calm, confident, and happy. And you think, "I want that." Looks can be deceiving. Do you have what it takes? Are you willing to give it your all?
I've been an entrepreneur more or less all my life. This is my truth.
1. Time. You will work night and day, including weekends, for a long time. Thinking about your business will consume you, to the annoyance of your friends and family. You'll even dream about it. For how long will your focus be this intense? Most likely years. If you aren't willing to dedicate the time, stop now. You need to be all in, because it will take twice as long as you think it's going to take. It's extremely rewarding, but becoming an entrepreneur will take a toll on you and everyone around you. So make sure you get enough sleep, eat right, exercise, and keep things in perspective. Your business is your universe, but the same isn't true for others.
2. Money. You will need twice as much capital as you think you will -- I guarantee it. Even if you're frugal! You'll still have to fight not to be behind on payments. You'll be trying to make ends meet constantly. If you have significant financial backing, you should still adopt the mindset of a startup and be as frugal as you can. I cannot stress this enough: You must plan. When it comes to starting a business, your financial health is critical. You and only you should know your every expense and all revenue coming in. If you're scraping by now, think twice. The stress of being underfunded will take its toll. My advice is to try to work with someone who has experience. This person will keep you on track and hopefully tame your anxieties. The pressure you will feel is very specific; it's not for everyone! Even if your business is successful, there will always be times when you have to float money.
3. Determination. Having a good plan and goals, being tough -- those qualities aren't enough. You must be willing to give everything you can. To me, being determined is a perspective. It's thinking, "It doesn't matter what's put in front of me. I'll get around it." Sure there will be twists and turns. But at the end of the day, you visualize yourself at the finish line. There is no plan b.
4. Knowledge. Your desire to learn is endless. You're curious about everything. Of course there are parts of your business that fascinate you more than others. Your interest in learning not only how things work but also how to do better is one of your greatest assets. Sure, you'll never have all the answers. But that's okay, because there's always more to learn. You also recognize that what you don't know is almost as important as what you do know. You're willing to seek out opinions from multiple sources. Knowledge is king.
5. Failure. If you never try, you never fail. Entrepreneurs look at failure as an opportunity to learn. In fact, you think of failure not as a problem, but something you'll overcome. You also realize moving forward, you'll inevitably make mistakes. What matters is that you learn from them. You'll also hate it! But at the end of the day, you own your failures. You take responsibility for them. And you move forward quickly.
Is it worth it? For me, emphatically yes. To finally see your product or service in the marketplace is an incredible experience. Looking back, witnessing how happy my product or service made customers made all of the struggles and obstacles extremely worthwhile. I don't regret one minute of it. In fact, that's what motivates me to this day.