Whether you succeed or fail, starting a business will give you the most valuable of asset of all: Knowledge.
Entrepreneur is the most overly used word in the business world. Almost everyone dreams at some point of quitting their job and starting a business. The appeal of being your own boss, and doing what you love for a living sounds amazing. Though it can be rewarding, it comes with many sacrifices. When starting a business it is important to keep in mind that it’s all about the journey and not so much the end result. There are a few great quotes about what it means to start down the path of a true entrepreneur, but by far my favorite is this:
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t”
I highly suggest that if you ever have the chance to dedicate yourself to starting your own business, that you take that chance. I warn you: that the misconceptions are abundant – but so are the learning experiences.
Lesson #1 Saving Money:
Just because you can spend it – doesn’t mean you should. Success is when opportunity meets preparation and there is nothing more disheartening than being presented with a great opportunity to invest in yourself and not having the capital to do so. It comes down to discipline and reminding yourself of your long term goals. Would you rather go out to dinner regularly or save up and invest in your business? Short term sacrifice for long term success is key. How bad do you want it?
Lesson #2 Patience:
When you are funding yourself, and putting your own time into projects and tasks you tend to be a lot more aggressive. Time is money – literally. Every second that goes by without you making money you are actually losing money. You will soon notice that as with many things in life it is all about timing. Sometimes you need to wait patiently with your tools in hand ready to pounce on the opportunity. When someone isn’t ready to buy, you run the risk of being pushy and annoying them. Your job is to make the product visible to them – not force it down their throat. As a business owner you will be forced to learn the careful balancing act between being aggressive and being patient.
Lesson #3 Discipline:
When there isn’t a supervisor to assign you jobs and point you in the right direction it will be up to you to decide what needs to get done and when it needs to get done by. Being able to bypass distractions and get things done without any push or persuasion from anyone is an admirable feat. All the weight will rest solely, or sorely, on your shoulders. Without having someone tell you what time to come into work and what time you have to stay until – it is your responsibility to fill your days with meaningful tasks and complete them in a timely fashion. Having the willpower and initiative to keep yourself productive is a characteristic which is useful in any terrain.
Lesson #4 Appreciation:
You never really realize how much goes into bringing a finished product to the market until you get behind the wheel. The amount of paper work, research and planning, and grunt work that it takes just to get off the ground will surprise many. In order to save money you will need to play several roles: sales person, accountant, graphic designer, event planner, web designer. You will need to force yourself to learn – A LOT. Most importantly, you will learn to appreciate customers and you will learn to appreciate other business owners. You will see the struggle behind the products and the reward of a satisfied customer.
Lesson #5 Faith:
Probably the most important lesson to learn from starting a business is faith. In my opinion, this is what makes or breaks businesses. This is the sole determining factor of success. When you start a business you will make mistakes. You will lose money. You will get criticized. The failures are what mold you into something stronger. In order to succeed you need to look at each failure as an experiment. You must learn to put your feelings aside, take a look at the loss and ask yourself where you went wrong. What can you do to improve? If you step away from a loss without learning anything – only then is it considered a failure. Avoid pointing blame at others because you can only control your own actions.
Lastly I want to finish with a quote, yes “another one” (DJ Khaled voice):
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”
— Theodore Roosevelt (26th President of the United States)