The Entrepreneur’s Journey

Your Strengths Will be Challenged

For the most part, people who start their own businesses are optimistic. We believe that things will work out. Most importantly, we believe in our ability to shape our experiences. These are positive traits. They are strengths. What many don’t know is that owning your own business will challenge your strengths. Your optimism will sometimes give out and falter.

Recommendation – Keep a list of your accomplishments and triumphs. Remember that no matter how short or long you have been at it, you have overcome obstacles and barriers. Remembering those successes will help you regain your optimism  when it wanes.

You Will Work Harder than You Have Ever Worked in Your Life

We often pick our businesses based on what we are good at or enjoy. Many of us turn what we love into work. There is, of course, the saying “if you are doing something you love there is never a day’s work in your life.”  Well, in my experience that isn’t true.

No matter how much you love what you do, whether it is fixing cars, trading stocks, painting portraits or practicing therapy…there will be times that you won’t love it. Not because you don’t like the work anymore. But because you have attached a lot of responsibility to it. It is because your very livelihood depends on it. It is also because there is no one else to take over the work. You may hire staff and other support, but ultimately it all comes down to you.

Recommendation – Expect to work hard. Give yourself permission to take breaks. Many of those breaks need to be mental breaks from thinking about work or things that you need to do. Try to be in the present both when you are working and when you have given yourself permission to take a break.  Many of us come to entrepreneurship from having had a boss and a team of people to say “Take a break, we’ve got it.” Now you are that person and hopefully will develop a team to support you.

Focus on Your Weaknesses

There are some challenges that you will face repeatedly in your business. If you don’t know what those are, you will find out very early on…so pay attention. If you don’t take the time to improve your weaknesses, you will find yourself stumbling through the same problems over and over again.

The reason why focusing on our weaknesses is something we have trouble doing is that there are many things that require our attention. When many things require our attention, it is natural to focus on either what we are good at or what we enjoy. It is precisely then that weaknesses get compounded and what was once a mole hill becomes a mountain.

Recommendation – Don’t run from what feels hard or time consuming or tedious. It won’t go away. It will just get more difficult. It can even become the dirty little secret in your business that makes you feel guilty and ashamed. If you are not good at something that needs to get done or requires attention, then get help. Get help even if you think you can’t afford it.  Read, learn, hire support…do something to address that weakness.

You Will Feel Alone

Even if you have a business partner or a spouse, there are many times that you will feel alone. You have a unique and singular experience of your business. You alone have or will have an in depth understanding of its challenges and needs. Not everyone will want to hear about what is going on and even if they do want to hear it, they will not fully understand it.

Often entrepreneurs anticipate that all of their friends, neighbors, family and everyone they know will buy their product or service. The truth is that a few of them will. But the reality is that just because your life has changed, it doesn’t mean others will keep the fact that you would like their support in mind. Most people are just trying to deal with everything that is on their own plate.

Many of those closest to you will want to support you but they may feel helpless as to what they can do to alleviate some of the stress you experience.

Recommendation – Don’t expect others to show up and be helpful. If you want someone to do something, ask them directly.  General requests for help may not be specific enough for them to receive the message. Gain support by joining organizations or groups for people who do exactly what you do. This will decrease your isolation and give you much needed support. Spend time with loved ones doing something fun. Fun is vital to balance out all of your hard work.

The Entrepreneur’s Journey

Remember you can get on or off the ride whenever you want. Do not treat your business like a job or relationship that you stick with because you don’t like change or you don’t know what else to do. Just know that “success,” whatever that means for you, is hard fought over the long haul.

Too often I see entrepreneurs moving from one business concept to another. Never fully committing, never giving themselves a chance to see something through the process described above. The entrepreneur’s journey is worthwhile and like most things that are worthwhile, it requires commitment.

Copyright © 2017 Ruby Blow. All rights reserved.

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