No matter how tenacious you are, it’s tough – very, very tough – to be an entrepreneur. I’ve been at it for seven years running a marketing communications agency, and I can attest that sometimes you’ll find yourself asking why you chose this life, and much of the rest of the time everyone else around you, including those who love you, will be asking the same thing.
What this means is that you’ll need to be your own cheering section, and that’s because the path you chose is not meant to be understood by the average person. You may not even have chosen it; you may have become an entrepreneur by necessity. Cheering yourself on may be the difference before quitting prematurely and sticking it out until your investment in yourself finally pays off.
1) It’s fine to cheer yourself on
As an entrepreneur, you’ve taken risks that most are too afraid to even imagine, and in return there can be great rewards if you persevere. It’s lovely to think that family and friends will be your biggest support system, but the likely reality is that they just don’t get it.
2) You need your own personal manifesto.
If you’re going to be your own cheerleader, you’ll need a personal manifesto to help keep you focused. Ask any serial entrepreneur and most will tell you they have a personal creed that they live by. Mine is, “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life living like most people can’t.” Trust me when I say it’s helped me ride some stomach-churning rollercoasters.
3) You must be comfortable with failure.
Entrepreneurship is an exception to the rule that failure is a bad thing. Any seasoned and successful entrepreneur will tell you that they failed many times before they made it big. In fact, I’m of the mind that you haven’t quite made it until you have a really good failure story to tell. So become comfortable with failure and don’t back out or back down because of it. Get back up, stick with it, and see yourself overcoming and winning.
4) Don’t count on friends or family to make you money.
I can laugh now when I hear a newcomer to the game talk about how their family and friends are going to be their biggest customers, but I wasn’t always able to. It’s not to say that family won’t support you, but any entrepreneur will tell you that you’re better off developing your strategy around real customers – customers who don’t have a familial tie to you. While family will always be there for you, they’re just not enough to take your business to the level it needs to go. So don’t count on them being your mainstay customers.
So there you have it…the entrepreneur’s dilemma. Your cheering section may be limited to a single voice, but if you shout loud enough and long enough, you may be able to inspire your team to cross the finish line.