The life of an entrepreneur is never easy. If you’ve made the decision to become an entrepreneur, or you’re at least thinking about becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business, then you’ll know that there are many challenges that you’ll have to face along the way.
Aside from the logistical, strategic and financial challenges that will regularly crop up during your journey as an entrepreneur, you’ll also be faced with plenty of niggling doubts and questions. Am I good enough? Do I belong here? What on earth am I doing?!
The good news is that you’re not alone. Trust us, all entrepreneurs have to tackle these questions head-on and conquer their inevitable doubts.
Here are three of the biggest questions that all entrepreneurs must face and conquer; read on for some helpful guidance on how to handle them (though we can’t provide the answers — you’ll have to look inwards for those).
Am I good enough?
“Am I good enough?” is probably the biggest question that hounds entrepreneurs — especially when they’re starting out. Everyone wonders if they’re good enough to drop everything, leave the safety of their full-time job and go it alone with a business idea.
One of the things to remember is that you chose this life of an entrepreneur because you relish the thought of an adventure; you step up to embrace challenges and overcome obstacles. You don’t want a life of 9-5 monotony working for someone else — you want to forge your own path and create your own career where you are the boss.
This niggling doubt can be crippling for entrepreneurs (even high-achievers experience “Impostor Syndrome” at some point), but it’s worth remembering that there are tons of entrepreneurs who went ahead of you who have succeeded. And in their journey to success, they failed plenty too. Trust us, lots of famous and wealthy entrepreneurs have made many mistakes and felt like they weren’t good enough.
Entrepreneurs are by no means perfect when they start out — and they don’t need to be. Part of being an entrepreneur is the journey — making mistakes, learning from them, and improving until you have a brand and a product that your customers love.
Until then, remember that merely having a passable product is okay, to begin with; launch with a minimum viable product and you can finetune it as you go along.
How do I fit everything into my day and still have a life outside work?
Time management is a challenge that every entrepreneur must conquer. Creating your own company and the daily tasks of running it can take up huge amounts of your time and energy. And worrying about how you’re going to fit everything you want — and need — to do into your day is one big question that you need to face and answer as an entrepreneur.
Of course, there are ways that you can make your working day more effective: creating to-do lists of necessary tasks, using automation tools to cut out menial or lengthy jobs, and delegating tasks to other people (either building your own team, or outsourcing to freelancers).
If you opt to outsource, you can pick up a freelancer for a one-off project through a site like Fiverr. Alternatively, if you require some longer-term support but aren’t ready to commit to taking on permanent talent, you could opt for an independent contractor: just be sure you know the ins and outs of paying them (this guide from Remote might come in handy).
Of course, we all want to strike the perfect work-life balance. But as an entrepreneur, this is a big challenge to face; your chosen career path is so time-consuming and energy-zapping that many other aspects of your life — your relationships, friends, family, personal hobbies — can become neglected all too easily. You may not notice at first, but after a while, these sacrifices will have a big impact on your happiness and your quality of life.
Juggling the different parts of your life may seem like an impossible task as an entrepreneur, but it is doable. You may just need to prioritize what is most important to you. Ask yourself some key questions. What are the things you hate doing? What are the things you struggle with? What are the things you shouldn’t be doing at all?. Be brutally honest, and don’t be afraid to say no to things either; your mental health will thank you later.
Of course, there is no right answer, and everyone is different. Like everything, you’re going to need to figure out how to conquer this question yourself.
What if I fail?
So maybe you’ve prepared yourself for the inevitable “am I good enough?” question. But another challenging question that all entrepreneurs must face and conquer is “what if I fail?”.
This is one that stumps so many people; we hate the idea of failure — and the shame, self-disappointment, and potential financial ramifications that come with it.
Unfortunately, this is just part of being an entrepreneur, and something you’re going to have to come to terms with. Failure is inevitable; if you push yourself to reach the dizzying heights of success, it stands to reason that you’re taking risks to get there — no one ever achieved anything of note by playing it safe. And the danger of taking risks is that you can fail and things can go wrong.
Minimize your failure by taking calculated risks. Come up with a viable business strategy; plan out your financial expectations, make forecasts about the next year and where you expect to be. Assess your profit margins and overheads. Take every little thing into account and the success of your business is far more likely.
Of course, success is not always guaranteed. Sometimes, you can map out every detail and make meticulous plans, and something will still go wrong.
In these situations, it’s not about the failure (which may or may not be out of your hands) but how you handle it. Aside from irrecoverable catastrophes (such as your business going under), most failures can be rectified in some way. We’ve all botched an email marketing campaign, struggled with customer service, or found a niggle with our product post-launch. It’s not the end of the world, and it’s definitely not the end of your business.
What matters is how you treat this failure. See it as a temporary hurdle standing in the way of your success. If your email marketing campaign flopped the first time round, analyze your data and optimize your future strategy. Failure is an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, improve your product and your business, and grow as an entrepreneur (and as a person).
There are many challenges you will face as an entrepreneur — and some of the biggest challenges are the niggling questions, doubts and negative thoughts in your own head.
Face these questions head-on with a positive attitude and logical thinking, and you will be able to conquer them. It’s possible to find answers to these questions, as well as success and a happy, balanced life as an entrepreneur.