Five Things No One Ever Tells You About Starting Your Own Business
So you left your 9 to 5 job to pursue your dream business. Congratulations! Not everyone has the courage to choose this path, nor the grit to see it through. As you’re probably well aware, starting your very own company entails many challenges. Rest assured, however, that although entrepreneurship can be difficult, it is not impossible to succeed — as countless success stories and articles will show you.
But to help you be better prepared, here are some key things about launching a business you need to know but people don't often talk about.
1. It gets lonely
Brace yourself for plenty of alone time, especially if you’re working from home. You may not have time for friends and family, and you will sometimes miss the sense of community found in a typical workplace setting. Furthermore, the pressures of starting a business can isolate you even more.
The Gallup Wellbeing Index reveals how lonely entrepreneurship can be, as 45% of entrepreneurs reported being stressed, while 34% worried a lot.
One way to combat the loneliness is to join or start an online community of like-minded individuals. This way, you can share your struggles with fellow startup founders who are more equipped to relate with your struggles.
2. You may not receive honest feedback from friends and family
Friends and family may not be the best sources of feedback. Because they want to see you succeed and care about your feelings, their support or praise for your business idea may just be a polite gesture. At the other end of the spectrum, well-meaning relatives may also shoot your idea down if they believe entrepreneurship is not the best fit for you.
Therefore, it’s crucial to seek honest opinions so that you can tackle your objectives realistically. This is yet another reason to be involved in a network of business-minded people, as their opinions may be more helpful than those of your close relatives.
3. You can’t always do what you love
Quitting your job and starting your own business might have been driven by a passion to see your idea through, but the reality is that passion alone won’t lead you to success. In fact, in the early stages, it might even be your downfall. Professor Noam Wasserman points out that passion can trick the mind into thinking you’re ready to start your own company.
Instead, what is more important for startups is preparedness. This often means that you won’t be able to do what you love most of the time. When building a cupcake business, for instance, you may end up spending more time doing research, preparing legal paperwork, or planning marketing strategies, rather than actually baking.
4. Early success is temporary
Most new entrepreneurs fortunate enough to achieve early success are not guaranteed to maintain it. The key is to remain focused and keep your ego in check; otherwise your efforts will go to waste. Your product may be in demand initially, but there's no telling how long that will last.
To keep the momentum going, it’s important to build trust and brand loyalty among your target market. As senior content marketing manager Jessica Neale writes on Ayima, “Earning the trust of your audience leads to retention," which in turn, can help sustain your success. In order to establish this trust, you’ll need to provide excellent customer service and think of ways to keep your audience engaged beyond the initial excitement. More than how new or interesting your business idea is, remember that people appreciate it when a company goes out of its way to care for them.
5. There is no set path
You need to understand that the startup journey is never linear. A new business can be taken in different directions, and there is no way of knowing which path is the best option. That’s why you’ll often find yourself “winging it,” and that's okay. In these cases, just trust your gut and have confidence in your decisions.
To help you jumpstart your business, we previously created a list of things to do when you come up with a good product idea.
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