Almost two years ago, I decided to take the largest leap of faith I've ever taken and start my business and entrepreneurship journey.
Over the year(s), I've managed to start almost a dozen businesses.
I've learned arguably more than I have ever learned in school or anywhere else.
I've had the chance to challenge myself, step out of my comfort zone, and do things I never knew I would be doing a few years back.
My initial goals were to build a simple dropshipping store and make more money than anyone could have imagined.
Dropshipping was positioned as an easy way out for people looking to make lots of money.
Being the naive boy I was, I decided to bite.
Here's where everything started to change for me. I had thought that business was simple, you make a site that sells something, you feed Mark Zuckerberg some ad money, and you get paid.
This couldn't have been any further from the truth.
In fact, I've failed or quit almost every one of the dozen businesses I've started.
Not because I've given up, but because I found that this is not what I'm meant to be doing in the meantime.
This article on knowing when to quit a business may help you understand this.
This is the part that many people neglect - they forget to tell you about the downsides of being an entrepreneur.
In fact, entrepreneurship is never what it seems on Instagram or social media.
You're not swimming in money, you're not always having fun, you're not stress-free, and you're certainly not perfect.
I wanted to write this article to outline the downsides of being an entrepreneur.
I wanted to discuss the struggles an entrepreneur faces on a daily basis in hopes that this helps you make a better decision for yourself.
You've probably seen adverts online on YouTube which promote the 'perfect business.'
They tell you that you can make 100s of thousand per month by working a few hours a week.
The sad reality is that a lot of people end up believing what they hear and end up signing up for something that doesn't work.
Course sellers and gurus are after nothing but your wallets - you need to be careful who you listen to and who you watch.
I've made a small list of people I personally recommend watching - they share content about business and entrepreneurship without the BS.
They tell you the truth because they've experienced the truth.
They know how hard building a business is.
They know that building a business isn't an overnight process, but something that takes 100+ hours per week.
Lots of people blindly walk into business and entrepreneurship looking for an easy way to flip their lives over.
They've had enough of working a 9-5 job so they start looking for ways to escape their current reality.
Driven by the influence of social media, they start to see opportunities in business and entrepreneurship.
When I first started my dropshipping business, it was for the sole reason of getting rich and proving people wrong.
Unfortunately, it never went as I had planned.
I expected colossal results from minimal time and effort.
Don't get me wrong, there are businesses that can be started for less time, less money, and less stress than others.
However, there are no promises that it will be easier, or any more enjoyable.
Rome was not built in a day - and it was definitely not built by a single person.
It took thousands, even tens of thousands of people to build Rome.
Similarly, you can't expect to build a lucrative business without time and help from others.
Time is your best and worst friend in business - you have a lot of time, so you don't need to worry.
However, you're also in a race against time trying to outperform your competition.
This can be extremely difficult to manage for new entrepreneurs especially.
Lots of failures
When you first decide to become an entrepreneur, you're jumping into a sea full of sharks.
You're jumping into territory that you never knew existed.
With this said, you're going to very quickly realise that there is nothing you know or understand in the realm of business and entrepreneurship.
There's no handbook, no guide that tells you what to do from A-Z.
There's no school that can teach you to be successful in this field because success in entrepreneurship is not yet a science.
We know a bit about it - we know you need a good idea that has demand, we know you need a unique angle on your solution, we know you need consistency, and we know you need to know about marketing.
However, learning these things all comes from your own initiative.
That's where all the failure comes from.
You'll never be able to get anything the first time.
The first time you start a business, you'll fail.
The first idea you have probably will fail.
The first marketing campaign you create will fail.
Failure is an inevitable part of business, nothing great was done through flawless execution.
It took time, energy, resources, and a bunch of failures to build the biggest businesses we see today.
Going through your business journey trying to avoid failure is like walking outside and trying to avoid the air - it's impossible.
The important thing is to not let your failures drive you, instead learn from your mistakes and make a better effort next time.
Stress and anxiety
If your personality is anything like mine, introverted and naturally anxious, you're already going to know how this feels.
From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, you're thinking about your business.
- How am I going to grow it?
- Will I be able to grow it?
- Can I do this?
- Am I cut out for it?
- What if I can't do this?
- What if I fail?
- What if everything I'm doing doesn't work?
No matter how hard you try, how many videos you watch, courses you take, training, or seminars you go to, you're going to feel like this.
It's very difficult to take something so deeply rooted in you and change it.
Humans are made to sense danger and avoid it - this is only your body's reaction to the unknown.
Your body tries to protect you from doing something it's never done before, using your mind as a mechanism against you.
I've written an article on overthinking - it does work.
However, it will never completely get rid of that voice in your head that tells you this won't work.
I've written an article on getting out of your comfort zone - it does work.
However, it doesn't mean that you all of a sudden become this completely new person who fears nothing.
You will always have those feelings and emotions inside you, you either learn to tame them or deal with them.
If you ask any entrepreneur, they'll tell you that stress and procrastination are part of their daily routine.
One of the richest people in the world, Ray Dalio, says that 'if you're worried, you don't need to worry.'
Ray believes that fear is a great motivator.
In his book, 'Principles,' he mentions how treating your life as a game where challenges are like levels to beat is a great way to deal with it.
For many people, dealing with the constant fear, stress, and anxiety is unbearable.
However, find comfort in knowing that the people you look up to all faced the challenges you're currently facing, overcame them, and kept going.
Boring and lonely
One of the worst feelings as an entrepreneur is being and feeling alone in times of struggle.
When you decide to become an entrepreneur, you're deciding to do something not a lot of people do.
You're deciding to open up to that annoying little voice in your head that's constantly telling you there's more out there for you.
You may look crazy to the people around you, after all, they don't see what you see.
You've got this big, crazy vision that even shocks you sometimes, and no one else can see it.
No matter how hard you try, no one will ever see what you see as clearly as you see it.
With that said, there will naturally be a lot of loneliness as you go deeper and deeper through the maze.
Here's where I also disagree with a lot of others - passion doesn't get you far.
How about this, what if you don't have a passion? What if you don't know your passion?
Facing this journey on your own will be hard, it will be stressful, and you will get bored.
No matter what you see on social media, people get bored of entrepreneurship, there's not a lot that's fun about it.
You're doing the same thing every day, consistently, waiting to see a breakthrough.
Some days might be a little different, you're going to test some new things.
However, at the end of the day, you're going to be doing the exact same thing - it feels like you're on a hamster wheel, just running, and running.
The loneliness and boredom can be enough to make people quit - that's why I wrote this article on never giving up.
It should act as a guiding light when all seems lost.
The challenge of a lifetime
There's an indefinite reason why over 90% of businesses fail.
Going into business is not a walk in the park.
You're not going to just decide to be an entrepreneur one day, go in, and change your life immediately.
This will, by far, be the hardest thing you've ever done in your life.
Don't get me wrong, your life will change - but not for the better, not immediately at first.
As you take this risk, you're going to struggle, you're going to fail, you'll realise there are so many things you don't know yet.
As you persevere, you're going to have to learn from those failures, learn new things, relearn things you thought you knew.
Business and entrepreneurship is a journey, it's not a destination that one can physically reach.
People usually have a triggering event in their lives that makes them look into entrepreneurship as an option.
Business and entrepreneurship are like the discovery of one's self.
You venture out into unknown territory with the goals and dreams of coming back a much wealthier man or woman.
Little did you know, you've gone out to discover who you are, what your personality is, and if you're cut out to make it back.
The path is unwinding, never-ending - you're going to learn so much about yourself than you've ever known before.
For some, this is a great thing to do, and it is!
If you're able to put up with all the downsides of business and entrepreneurship, it's an amazing journey to go on.
However, it's not for everyone.
We see a lot of people who go into business and entrepreneurship and everything goes well for them.
They're able to quickly build something that a lot of people want and start earning a lot from it quickly.
For others, and in fact, 99.9% of entrepreneurs, this will never be the case.
It'll be a constant inside battle with your mind.
You're going to want to throw the towel in but for the true entrepreneur, it will kill you to even think of giving up.
No matter how many times you think of giving up, you need to remember that consistency is the only way out of this now.
That's why it's the challenge of a lifetime - it's a journey that one embarks on and dedicates their life and purpose to.
The countless days, weeks, months, and even years of work all compound and grow exponentially.
It'll never happen overnight - give it the time and resources it needs.
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Till next time,