THE BLOG

The Dark Side of Entrepreneurship

24/01/2014 12:06 GMT | Updated 25/03/2014 09:59 GMT

So you want to become an entrepreneur and for that I salute you... being your own boss can be one of the most rewarding experiences, but there are dark sides most people are not aware of.

Most people fear getting into business because of the perceived risk, but risk is in many cases easily overcome. Especially today where you can get a business started online for less than a good meal... or in some cases for FREE, but that's not what this article is about.

This is about the often unknown dangers of starting and being in business. I'm not trying to stop you from going ahead, but I believe that if you are to have the greatest chance of success you MUST know all the pitfalls you can encounter.

So let's take a look at the 3 darkest sides of being an entrepreneur:

Dark side #1) Loneliness. Unless you get funding from the beginning, chances are you are going to work many many hours by yourself. Most people think that it's going to be great working by yourself, I mean... what could be bad about lose the stupid boss and annoying colleagues, right? The reality is that many entrepreneurs soon find themselves feeling cut off from the world and not getting their social needs covered.

So unless you hate people, make sure you plan social events throughout the month. Depending on your social needs the number could vary greatly. I personally have to get out among people once a week at least. And the important thing here is that you PLAN it ahead. If you wait till you think you will have the time, you will never get around to it.

And if you don't do it you WILL lose your creative spark and energy at some point... Guaranteed.

We need interaction with other people to constantly recharge our batteries.

Dark side #2) Family and friends think you have lost your mind. Having people close to you shake their heads in disbelief is one of the most crushing experiences anyone can have. This happens for around 9 out of 10 entrepreneurs. I hear so many of them say "why can't my family just be happy that I've found something I'm passionate about and love doing"?

First of all understand that they do it because they love you and don't want to see you fail. Don't blame them for not understanding you... very few people understand the entrepreneurial mindset.

Don't expect or seek approval from anyone... especially the ones close to you. But even though you are not necessarily seeking approval, it's almost impossible not to be affected by the people around you. If they don't believe in you, soon enough you will have self-doubt starting to creep in.

The solution is to go to events with other entrepreneurs and business owners on a regular basis. I always feel recharged after an event with business owners and as a side-effect it can of course also lead to more business.

Dark side # 3) Too many hours working and difficulty mentally letting go of work. Sometime you are thinking about your business constantly. And don't get me wrong, it can actually be great to obsess about a problem for the short term... this will often allow you to come up with solutions quickly. But if you do this for too long you will not only risk burnout, you can potentially destroy relationships.

So be in the present moment where ever you are. You will also find that when you think about other stuff that great ideas will often come to you out of the blue.

My final thoughts are that building a business is not for the faint at heart... and even though I've encountered all the above problems at some stage in my life, I still think going into business is the best decision I ever made. So go ahead, you might create the next big thing or change the world, but expect and plan for the problems. Embrace the dark side and you will have a bigger chance of making it to the other side where business becomes truly fun and fulfilling.