There’s a famous quote about entrepreneurship:
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can live the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
I remember starting my first business out of college. It was a crazy time. I was so green – bootstrapped and borrowed my way to sustainability. It was scary and exciting, but also incredibly motivating. I’ve always been a great proponent that a little fear goes a long way. And boy was I was afraid of failing. I didn’t want all my doubters proven right if my venture flopped. Hell, I was even afraid of not being able to cover the bills (even though they were minimal as I lived with my mom at the time). Nevertheless, I used that fear as motivation to succeed. That fear got me up at 5 AM every day. It kept me working until 10 PM. It was my fuel.
Pursuing entrepreneurial dreams can be nerve-racking, initially. And that’s why very few people commit to pursuing the dream of being self-employed. They don’t have the stomach for it because they listen to the voices of doubt, be it their parents, the pundits or that little voice inside their head. They let the voices overwhelm the positives of entrepreneurship, resulting in many brilliant ideas going into the grave. It’s sad, and it happens every day.
In order to avoid the same fate, it’s important would-be entrepreneurs understand the resistance they will face before even launching their idea… preparation is the key. I’m speaking from personal experience.
The Three Fs that Destroy Entrepreneurs Before they Start
Family and Friends: Bless their hearts, but unless your mother or best friend is an entrepreneur, they may steer you away from the idea. My mom has been a great supporter of my dreams (she faithfully supported my NBA dream as a youth that took me all over the continent from one basketball camp to the next – despite the fact I was a white kid from Canada…), but even she cast doubt over my decision to start my own business. I can’t blame her. At the time, I had recently been promoted at my job, and my career path in banking looked promising. She encouraged me to stay the course. Take the safe route, so to speak. Thankfully, I ignored her subtle advice and opted to take the glamorous career approach of starting a company from my childhood bedroom…
As for my best friend, I convinced him to join me in the world of entrepreneurship. However, almost all of my other friends thought I was crazy. It was hard to hang out with them because they all had their career paths laid out – they were company men. When they were waking up to go to work every morning, I was in my housecoat blogging away (this was long before blogging was cool)… my future was uncertain, while theirs appeared determined and secure.
After 6 months of making little to no money as an entrepreneur, one of my friends had somewhat of an intervention, and said he could get me a job… you can imagine how I felt at that point. But it’s all a part of the process, and to this day I’m so grateful I didn’t budge or cave to the uncertainty.
Fear: That little voice inside your head is a powerful one. It will make or break you. As mentioned, you can use it as a source of motivation (which I believe most entrepreneurs do), or let it deter you from stepping outside your comfort zone… and no one ever grew by permanently living inside their comfort zone. There is no reward on the planet without a degree of risk. Risk is mitigated with focused, consistent and dedicated effort.
Finances: Often, would-be entrepreneurs never pursue their self-employed dreams for two reasons:
Either they don’t want to leave their high-paying job (this is the danger of contentment – golden handcuffs), or they don’t know how they’ll finance the early days of the venture.
I’m here to tell anyone debating leaving their high-paying job to become an entrepreneur that it’s the lifestyle of entrepreneurship which makes it priceless. And no job can compete with the emotional rewards of being an entrepreneur.
For those concerned about financing their venture early on, there’s nothing wrong with working nights while you build your dream life. Combine that with a little short-term borrowing from a credit line, or perhaps credit card, and you’ll get it done. If you really want it bad enough, you can cut back on your ‘lifestyle’ expenses until you’re a success. Bare necessities only. Refer to the quote at the top of this blog entry for motivation.
Before you even start out as an entrepreneur, you will face some of your biggest opposition – the three Fs. Be prepared for them. Embrace the uncertainty. Get ready for a lean lifestyle while building your dream, and believe in yourself enough to work harder and longer than ever before.
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