Owning your own business is not for everyone.
There are ups and downs. Joys and heartaches. Wins and losses. Ebbs and flows of income.
There have been moments when I was unsure when the next paycheck would arrive (it's happened more often than I'd like to admit). And although there seems to be an endless number of opportunities, most are actually distractions disguised as opportunities (making investment decisions difficult). Plus this year I'm taking on some massive business projects that are exciting yet scary.
Despite all this, I feel more blessed than ever to do what I do.
July 4th is Independence Day in the United States; something that was achieved with struggles and battles. Even though it wasn't always easy to achieve independence, in the end it was worth it.
And in business we have battles that consume our time, energy and money. These are necessary struggles to achieve our work independence.
My Entrepreneurial Battles
After nearly 20 years as an entrepreneur, I've seen the ups and downs of our owning your own business. How many of these battles can you relate to?
- Financial Battles - Not knowing when the next sale would be made. Wondering if I would get paid after delivering my goods or services. Not having enough money to properly invest in the business to help it grow. Looking at my bank account balances daily wondering how long I can hold on.
- Emotional Battles - For me, this has been my Achilles Heel. I doubt myself. When business is slow, I wonder if I should get a "real" job. My inner critic tells me that I was lucky to stay in business as long as I had. When I receive negative feedback, I take it personally. Which then leads my inner impostor to question my knowledge, making me wonder if I really know as much as I think I do.
- Travel Battles - I have the most loving and supportive wife in the world. She never gives me a hard time for being on the road as much as I am. But being away from her makes my heart ache. Unfortunately the nature of my business (and the business of most entrepreneurs) requires a lot of travel. It's not as exciting as people might think. Lonely nights in less than glamorous hotels, with air travel becoming less enjoyable each day due to smaller seats, fewer upgrades, and more delays.
- Strategic Battles - This one reflects an existential crisis I go through every couple of years. As the world around me changes, I realize I need to change my business too. I have a lot of ideas, but I sometimes struggle to know which changes to make. I can help other businesses, but I find it challenging to see what's right for mine. The reason is, "expertise is the enemy of innovation." Because of this, it is difficult to innovate your own business without outside help. Which leads to the next dilemma.
- Partnership Battles - I know I need outside support. But a big challenge has been finding the right partners. I've spent more money than I'd like to admit on consultants, marketers, coaches and others who never positively impacted my business. I keep hoping that the next "vendor" will have the solutions.
And there are so many other challenges entrepreneurs face, such as investing in the right technologies, predicting the future, hiring the right people, firing the right people, knowing your customers better than they know themselves, and more.
There are constant battles to be fought. We win some and we lose some. But like our forefathers, the battles must be fought in order to stand up for what matters.
So this July 4th, in addition to celebrating this country's independence, I am also celebrating my work independence. It's not always easy, but I can't imagine working any other way.
Happy Independence Day to all of my entrepreneur friends!!
P.S. Feel free to share the biggest challenges you've faced (or continue to face) in growing your business.