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  • Writer's pictureKarleen L.

The FOUR Things I Wish I Understood Before Being An Entrepreneur!

I have said it before, being an entrepreneur feels like you’re the main character of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. You are one person with two split personalities. One minute you are confident that you will thrive and the next minute, you feel like everything is going to crumble. I am here to tell you that it is normal to feel this way. Every entrepreneur, including myself, experiences this change in emotions daily. It does dissipate over time but, in the early stages of entrepreneurship, it is natural to succumb to this doubt/success equilibrium. For a long time, I thought pursuing entrepreneurship meant that you equally abdicated the fear of rolling solo but in fact, entrepreneurship is building a business despite the fear. So give yourself a break when you have concerns about your business. Here are the four things I wish I understood before becoming an entrepreneur.

  1. Not everyone will be able to support you. To help in your entrepreneurial journey, know that not everyone will be able to support you because they may not understand the drive or pursuit of entrepreneurship! I say ‒ outsource a supportive network. When I made the leap to be an entrepreneur, I thought I would naturally be applauded for taking a huge leap of faith and betting on myself. That didn’t happen. Friends and family will make you feel guilty for choosing this lifestyle. Often because they resent you for doing something they didn’t do or sometimes they fear that they may be the source of your income or rent. The truth is, as my Pastor Mike Walrond says, “Not everyone will clap for you,” so recognize that: A) you don’t need to tell everyone about your decision to be an entrepreneur, and B) you may have to outsource your support team. If you don’t have a support system at home, there are several economic development councils in the nation or small business services locations that will give you free support and resources. Use them as your champions to thrive.

  2. Savings is just as necessary as investing. When you start a business, many people will tell to you that every dollar needs to go back into your business as an investment. That is true. However, a wise investor knows that you also need to save money for incidentals, permits, and services. Just as you invest money, set aside a portion of that to save for the business. It doesn’t have to be a lot.

  3. Always have a clear vision you reassess yearly. Every entrepreneur is out to solve a problem. Sometimes to solve that problem, there are several steps. Those steps can take anywhere from a few days to a few years. Whatever step it is, make it clear and focus on that. Often enough, entrepreneurs want to do it all at once. That never works, 1) because there are never enough financial resources to start, 2) you may have resources but not enough time, and 3) you may not have enough staff and employees to initiate certain phases. To combat some of these challenges, strategically plan what goals you can accomplish per year and in what order. It will help you prioritize your tasks and give you a chance to orient yourself to your business and the market.

  4. Everyone at any age needs a mentor especially an entrepreneur. Every entrepreneur should have a mentor who isn’t afraid to tell them the truth. Entrepreneurship can tip the scales of balance. Sometimes you work so hard, you don’t rest. Sometimes you are growing way too fast to even manage the business. It could also be that you are missing key assumptions about your business because you have not worked in the industry long enough. Mentors are a great way to check-in and receive guidance. They offer insight and perspectives that you may not see from the inside.

There are millions of things that you will learn as you build your business but creating an environment, team, and plan that eases those transitions will make the journey exciting and more importantly ‒ stable for you!!

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