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Being an entrepreneur is not easy. If you decide to start an entrepreneurial journey, nothing is guaranteed, but then again, nothing is worth nothing without a certain degree of risk and hard work.
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I like what Theodore Roosevelt said about it:
“Nothing in the world is worth or worth the trouble unless it means effort, pain, difficulty … I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I envied a large number of people who lived difficult and good lives. – Theodore Roosevelt
So, in addition to avoiding the common mistakes of beginners, you must understand that it is not all the sun and the happy days when you follow this path. Here are five awful truths about entrepreneurship you should be aware of before you start.
1. You are more likely to fail than to succeed.
I’m not saying this to take your breath away right now – I’m just being realistic. The Small Business Administration has stated that only half of all new establishments survive five years or more and about one third survive 10 years or more. The success rate is even lower for startups supported by companies, three out of four do not reimburse investors’ money.
While failure is more likely than success, it shouldn’t stop you from chasing your dreams. There are very few entrepreneurs who hit a home run the first time they hit the plate. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs have failed several times before finding out what seemed to be an overnight success.
2. You can lose everything.
There will always be a financial risk when you start a new business. While there are ways to start with very little capital, you may need to take out lines of credit for stocks and operations or a small business loan to help with growth. The bootstrap is excellent, but the majority of new companies trying to get into the market quickly get into debt to do so.
A young entrepreneur fresh out of school will have a very different financial risk than an entrepreneur in their mid-thirties, with a family to support and a bunch of financial obligations.
Go big or go home, right?
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3. You will experience extreme stress.
When you start a business, all the weight that accompanies the territory is on your shoulders. There is no one to rely on – it is up to you to fix the problems and find a cure. You need to find answers to the many questions you will face.
Will your path be stressful? Sure, but there is nothing more satisfying than watching your vision come to fruition and come to life. Stress is inevitable, so find ways to help you get rid of it – for me, personally, the gym has become that outlet.
4. At first, you will lose contact with family members and friends.
Being an entrepreneur is very demanding for your personal time. In fact, you won’t have many, if any, at first. There will be people in your life who will pass out because you will not be able to give them the time and attention that you once had.
Someone told me this a long time ago and I didn’t believe it. I assumed that these people I had lost contact with simply did not put in enough effort. But once I experienced this loss firsthand, I understood the situation better: I was trying so hard to build my business when it started that I simply lost touch with people. I didn’t do it on purpose, but after a while I learned to manage my time better and reconnect.
5. You will have regrets at some point.
It’s only natural to have regrets at some point. You will see your friends log out of “work mode” at 5:00 p.m. on Friday and go out for a drink while you work late in the evening. There will be events and weekend outings that you need to pass on because your business controls your time.
There will be times when you think 9 to 5 work is attractive, but guess what? Some of your friends will also regret not having pursued their dreams. There will be times when they wish they had your freedom and flexibility. Remember, the grass isn’t always green on the other side.
That being said, there is no greater feeling than winning. Understand the risks, challenges and opportunities – and pursue your dreams.
Related: Why Small Business Failure Rates Decrease