First of all I like to say that I love being an Entrepreneur and that I can't imagine now doing anything else but running my own start up fashion businesses. But I honestly can say I didn't expect it would be that hard and that challenging and such a long way to travel before you are getting some sign of rewards and success. The reason for this misconception is simply because until recently hardly anybody talked about the other side- about the brutal reality you face as an Entrepreneur in your daily task to build your business and staying "alive". In retrospect I don't think I would have changed my decision of starting my own business and becoming an Entrepreneur, but I would have loved to be more informed of "what to expect" professionally and personally- how my life will be turned up side down as well be more aware of what challenges will be coming my way -professionally and personally. A lot of them are completely the norm for starting out as an Entrepreneur and not just unique to me- it is just nobody talked about the other side- The Flipside" - just about how wonderful it must be following your passion and doing something you love to do.
Obviously things are very different when you start with having money. What I mean is when you have enough money not to raise any funds for your business or when you have enough savings that you can afford to hire staff, rent an office and pay for external support from legal, PR and other marketing support and still have enough savings not to compromise on your life style e.g. working crazy hours in the week and weekends, afford weekend breaks and holidays, as well as joining your friends on social events from parties, special occasion events to expensive dinner parties. So, I am not talking about this scenario, but about when you have an idea and you have to raise money or when you have some savings to start your business, but not more than that. Meaning you are taking a chance and investing your savings, where the business becomes your life and not your job, where your start up dictates everything you do, because you need to make it work, where you are forced to do almost everything yourself because you don't have the money to delegate your work or affording the luxury of going on a holiday or having a massage to clear your head.
If I had known of what to expect I could have been better prepared and saved me a lot of heartache along the way. I would have made changes in my life earlier on as well would have taken precautions on how to avoid some of the pitfalls that you step in as an Entrepreneur. It is not that you can prepare yourself for all the things that come your way, but I hope that with this honest account I can help other Entrepreneurs to feel less lonely, less of feeling of fallen of the grit - but instead of knowing what to expect, how to address them, how to adjust your life and how to change your life for the better.
1. Not everybody will love what you
That was one of the hardest lessons. I expected more love, understanding and support from my family and friends. But instead I heard more like " if you go through with this, then you are on your own." My parents were upset and disappointed that I chose this path after spending money on my education and my friends didn't understand how I could do such a risk or did not understand my business idea. So, the two lessons learned here are that you need take a stand of what you want to do and see it through and that not everybody in your life is meant to stay. You need to let them go in the sense that their part in your chapter is over and you need to start a new one. It doesn't have to be forever but you need to remove yourself from people who don't have a positive impact on you.
2. It is a very lonely planet when you are starting out
Working on your own, doing everything yourself, possibly working from home, using your savings for your business is super scary and lonely and the older you are the scarier it is. When you start out in your 20's it is easier, because you have "less to lose" and when things are not working out you will have it easier to find another job without risking being too old or not being able to regain what you lost in your start up business. It is a fact that a lot of Entrepreneurs ' are committing" commercial suicide after the first year- not because their idea is not good enough, but simply the loneliness, the daily rejection and financial risk as well to find the strength to keep going is simply too hard to cope with.
3. You need to be ready to make sacrifices
When you starting out as an Entrepreneur your life will change instantly, because being an Entrepreneur is not a job but will become a lifestyle, that will dictate the rhythm of your life. It is not a job that you do when you feel like it or a job from 9-5pm. You need to be prepared to work very hard, long hours including the weekends. Your family and social life will change and will come second or third simply because you have to do what you need to do in order to keep going, take the chances when they come and do business when it present itself. Also, you might find that you will be loosing a lot of your social circle, because you can't afford their lifestyle anymore. There is no point of pretending you are still one them- because you are not. Your spending power and mindset is now a different one. So, you need to find another crowd that is more like-minded as you are.
4. As Entrepreneur you have lots of business hats on
When you are hired to do a job, you do what you are usually good at and love to do and can delegate the rest to your team. As Entrepreneur you don't have that luxury due to costs. As a result you have to do a lot of things that you are not good at, you don't like to do as well are not an expert in. This is another reason why you work long hours, why it is hard and frustrating at times leading the life as an Entrepreneur- the only thing you can do accepting it and keep going- that is the only thing that can change your situation.
5. You need to be courageous, brave, resilient and fearless
If you are not all of these things- it is simply a no starter. Following your passion and having the belief in your business without knowing the outcome as well putting yourself out there where everyone will judge you and have an opinion about you and your business takes real courage. It takes a brave heart to see it through, to change your life and life style and to deal with all the daily struggles and obstacles. You can't allow yourself to fall apart by all of it, but you need to keep going, keep your eyes on the prize- you need to be resilient in your pursuit by moving forward as good as you can. Last not least you need to be fearless - it does not mean you are without fear- it means that you keep doing, keep pushing despite you are afraid. Fear is a daily constant to an Entrepreneur and you need to learn how to deal with it, so it is not paralyzing you of what you are set out to do. So, focus on what drives you, which is HOPE and that it will be all OK in the end.