Entrepreneurship is not as cool as you think. Frankly, it’s probably nothing like what most people would imagine.
Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurship is not a super glamorous lifestyle that is full of models, private jets, incredible mansions, and long days on the beach. Easy to say, this perception of entrepreneurship has primarily been driven by mass amounts of misleading content on social media.
To test this, type in #entrepreneurship on Instagram and take a look at the results; more likely than not, you’re going to find a myriad of inspirational quotes, pictures of fancy cars, private jets, stacks of cash, and other things that would lead you to believe that entrepreneurship is a straight, easy path to become ultra-wealthy and successful.
This is not entrepreneurship.
As someone who feels like they’re just starting their entrepreneurial journey, it’s easy for me to say that this twisted mindset around entrepreneurship is extremely pervasive. While there are some leading voices that are pushing against this false narrative of entrepreneurship being so luxurious, the amount of people that assume that starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur is going to be a walk in the park is still enormous and growing.
All being said, these are the 5 lessons that I’ve learned so far and that every aspiring entrepreneur needs to know:
Lesson 1: Shit happens; your days don’t always go as planned.
One of the substantial things that people forget is that when you’re an entrepreneur, especially when you’re just starting your business, there is a ton of volatility in your schedule and in how things are going to pan out. Regardless if you’re in a situation where you have a full-time or part-time job that is helping you pay the bills or if you’re going all-in as a full-time entrepreneur, both your personal life and professional life are going to lack stability.
Whether it’s because you thought you were going to close a client that pulled out at the last minute, because your boss at your other job asked you to work longer hours this week, or because you simply got a flat tire when on your way to a meeting, shit will happen.
Lesson 2: Everything is your fault, always.
If I have a client decide that they no longer want to work with JPORT Media tomorrow, that is 100% my fault and no one else’s:
If it’s because someone on my team did a bad job, I am responsible for putting that person in the position to allow that to happen. If it’s because the client could no longer afford our service fee, it’s my fault for offering too large of a package to that client. If it’s because the client is “too difficult to work with”, it’s my fault for not doing a better job when vetting the client to see if we would work well together.
Entrepreneurship is all about taking full accountability for everything that happens, even when you yourself didn’t do it directly.
Lesson 3: There is no security.
Look, if you decide to leave your job and go all-in on your new business, there is absolutely no security. If you don’t sell your product or get any clients, you’re not going to get a paycheck.
At a traditional job, it typically doesn’t matter if you’re operating at an A-level or at a D-level, your paycheck is your paycheck and you can count on getting it. On the other hand, as soon as you’re out of that system, the only way you’ll be able to afford to travel, go out with friends, or even pay your rent and feed yourself is if you make money.
Because everything is your fault, the entirety of your success and of your livelihood is predicated on your behavior and your behavior alone.
Lesson 4: You have to be disciplined and self-motivated.
In entrepreneurship, you don’t have a boss or a manager that will hold you accountable. If you’re not disciplined or motivated, nothing will get done.
The easiest way to ensure that you’ll hold yourself accountable is by establishing systems that work for you and that allow you to maximize your days. This is important because not only are you going to have to try to build things from the ground up, but you’re also going to have to do a lot of shit you hate.
The goal with being an entrepreneur should be to put yourself in a position to do what you love so that you can live a happy life; however, in order to get there, you’re going to have to deal with a lot of the tasks that you despise. When starting, you’re may not have the capital to hire a web designer to build your Shopify store, or to hire a CPA to manage your finances, so you’re going to have to hold your breath and do it yourself. Because of this, staying motivated to reach the end destination of achieving happiness is extremely important.
Lesson 5: Master the balance of urgency and patience.
“Patience” has almost become a buzzword because of how frequently it’s thrown around in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, but most people don’t truly understand how important it is.
Not only that, but it’s also just as important to recognize that you can’t just work slowly and “be patient”. You have competitors that will take the clients and customers that you otherwise would have sold. If you’re too slow, your competition will beat you.
Realistically, you are going to have to do plenty of things that leave a bad taste in your mouth and you’ll also need to expect to get 1,000 “no”s before you get a single “yes”.
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling client services like I am or if you’re selling a product, one of the biggest tells as to whether or not you’re going to be fit for entrepreneurship is how you deal with the “no”s. Not just one, three, five, or even ten “no”s, I’m talking about what you do when you’ve been hit with your twentieth, fiftieth, or hundredth “no”.
How you react to those “no”s and how you then decide to pivot and play your cards will be the biggest indicator as to whether or not you’re fit to play the game.
All being said, if you work hard and fast day-to-day, but also understand that the fruits of your labor may not be seen for three years, you will do extremely well.