If you have never found the idea of becoming an entrepreneur appealing to you, it’s normal. Not everyone has to be an entrepreneur. A lot of of talented and bright people focus on their professional skills and work as employees quite successfully.
To be an entrepreneur doesn’t mean to be better in any point - it’s just different. But if you really wish to go along, it’s good to be aware of some important things that you have to be ready for.
Here are a few main points you need to keep in mind:
Since you started to work as an entrepreneur you take responsibility for everything in your life. Nobody will warrant that you will earn certain amount of money this month. And nobody will guarantee that you will get certain number of projects or sell a fixed number of products - everything is totally under your control and responsibility. So you have to rely on forecast and plan all your business activities including your payments and earnings in advance to make sure that you are able to manage your expenses. If your entrepreneurship involves other people working for you - you take responsibility for all of them, which makes things even less predictable and you more vulnerable. You’re person number one in taking the lead and resolving anything.
Before becoming an entrepreneur you just could probably follow the flow, but now you have to plan all your work activities in order to make sure everything is under control. Create year, month, weekly and daily plans, set deadlines and checklists and make sure that all planned activities are completed. Plan everything - your team expansion, finances, marketing, product/service development. It can overlap with some personal events and occasions, that are really important to schedule in advance in order to prioritise and sort it out.
3. Hard job.
No doubt, it sounds cool to be an entrepreneur, but in reality it’s not that much a ‘Wolf from Wall street’ life as people might think. Actually it’s more about working hard nearly all the time. So even your business idea is great, you will have to work intensively in a long-term period. Sometimes you won’t have days-off, sometimes you won’t go on a vacation or you’ll miss someone’s important occasion. That’s the reality in which entrepreneurs live. Even one single day or even hour can drop and raise your business. So you have to be vigilant.
4. Lack of time and money
It’s quite a frequent story that you are challenged with time and money pressure. You could always do more work that you are doing at the moment. Hours in a day are naturally limited, so instead of working more than 8 hours/day, try to focus on increasing productivity. As for money, even if your business is profitable, there are still so many areas to invest your money in. I highly recommend to create a cashflow buffer which can cover at least 3 months of your monthly expenses, in case you get a gap in sales. You will still be able to perform without issues. Please take into consideration seasonal ups and downs in business activities and sales in particular. Surely, it depend on your industry but mainly January-February and July-August seasons are usually low in sales and business in general.
You need to be prepared that your work can be challenging for relationship. Mainly because you are 24/7 responsible for your business. That means you definitely have less time for your partner comparing to people who work 9 to 5. It’s better to discuss your work schedule in the beginning of relationship to avoid misunderstanding and prevent disappointment.
6. Plan B
Let’s say you started your entrepreneurial journey and at some point realised it doesn’t go exactly as you expected. For example, you get issues with customers, payments or team. Try to think in advance what options you have: whether you go forward with your business no matter what or you will probably try to get a job. There is no golden rule when there must be a decision point to evaluate your performance. However, if you start your first business, avoid any business ideas which will take longer than 18 months to reach BEP (break-even point). There many other risks of running first business which can lead to business fail. So instead of investing several years into something, try to find some idea, which is quick to work on.
You need to be motivated, inspired and to have enough energy and passion to drive your business. Try to surround yourself by like-minded people, find some motivational books and any other ways of keeping you up. You probably will fail many times during your journey even if you are a really successful entrepreneur. The question is how you will deal with it. That means you need to keep going no matter what. It’s easier to say than to do. So you need to make sure there are some people around to get help and support.
If you are a sole entrepreneur, you still need team for your business. Try to find some people to work with as soon as possible because establishing work and business relationship really takes time. It can also improve your productivity when you share your tasks and responsibilities. However, team building is really hard, you need do be an energiser, motivator, psychologist, leader and teacher, all in one person.
Be honest and ask yourself: why do I want to be an entrepreneur? Is it just because of money? Or maybe your parents wanted you to become a business person? Or some friends around look like successful entrepreneurs? Be honest with yourself and make sure you are going to do what you really enjoy doing! Otherwise, even if you manage to earn lots of money, it won’t make you happy. There are other ways to earn money and do what you love to do. Only if you like challenges, ready to deal with issues and you are not scared by taking responsibility for yourself and others, go and best of luck.