The 10 Hardest Things About Being An Entrepreneur
Embarking on entrepreneurship is an exciting adventure that leads to a sense of freedom and accomplishment I have not felt before. It is a scary ride that is different every day and continues to push me to my limit. I absolutely love what I do and being able to make decisions for myself, but it hasn’t come without difficulties. Part of my job on social media is to make my life look easy, pretty, and hopefully relatable. The part I don’t show are the late nights, crying or anxiety when things get tough, or the hustle it takes to succeed in this journey. Many of my friends are entrepreneurs that own PR agencies to fashion designers; what each successful person possesses (in my opinion) is the hustle. If you are a hustler, being an entrepreneur may be exactly what you should and need to do!
I get asked about working for myself often and the successes are by far easier to share. The hardships aren’t necessarily shareable and when they are happening, there’s no time to share or do much but to try to figure out how to solve it! No one likes to share failures, we all experience them. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I like to blog about the background of the pretty stuff. Today’s post isn’t about being negative, but being honest about entrepreneurship and the hardest part about it from my experience.
#1 Feeling alone – being an entrepreneur can be a lonely journey if you build a business by yourself. I was lucky to have my family all work together to create T&J Designs, but my blog has been mainly myself. I did not make money for YEARS and I did it as a means to support my business. These days I work alone, I sit at my desk, and all the decisions made are all me. I do have great support from my sister, who blogs, as well as friends, but the alone feeling is through out the process. Networking is key to finding some support and key to expanding my business and blog. Right now, the hardest part for me is finding the right people to trust to confide in for business decisions. I love having a ear to guide me.
#2 Financial risks – taking risks financially to invest in your decisions, to start and to continue is the hardest! Money is needed to build a business and grow it, but making the right decisions and learning from the difficulties is tough. The first year is one of the hardest, money goes out the door so quickly and revenue is slow. Figuring out the 1, 3, and 5 year plan is a guessing game. Depending on what you do, you just never know. Before you make the leap, sitting down to build a business plan or at least a guideline of how costs will be invested. There’s so much to do in the beginning, I can’t list them all. Trusting your gut is part of the game too.
#3 Building the right team – this comes with growth or if you have funds, hiring the right people for each job. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in hiring, but I have found gems along the way. Make sure to take the time (even if it feels like you have no time) to find the right hire and it is ok to test out the waters first before hiring full time. I learned this the hard way, now I do a transitional period and at the end of the 3 months we both evaluate if we continue.
#4 Finding the right support – do you have the right support system at home or with family? This definitely helps in the journey of entrepreneurship. Surrounding yourself with those that cheer you on and are happy when you succeed, but also there for you when things go wrong. Dating or being with an entrepreneur is tough, I get it and saw my own marriage affected by work. I needed more emotional support and he wanted a more available present wife. This juggle was a tough learning this year.
#5 Looking at the flaws in your business – figuring out what is wrong with your idea or product and asking others what they may see as a flaw is key to growing. Taking the time to see what you can improve on is hard. At times, I was so busy just to trying to manage everything in my life and work, that I couldn’t sit down to see what we were doing wrong. Take that time, evaluate the business often and don’t get bogged down with the daily duties. The only way to grow is to evaluate, maybe pivot, and keep reviewing things.
#6 Time management – I’m the worst at this. I work whenever I have free time. Based on what I do, my work and personal are so intermixed that I sometimes don’t really take time to relax. Going out to dinner is the best, but not when I’m on my phone doing stories or instagrams instead of talking to my friends. Small price to pay, but I’m learning to be present and to enjoy. Time management seems to be a problem for tons of people right now 🙂 moms, CEO’s, even our kids!
#7 CEO of all hats – as an owner or CEO or sole entrepreneur in a business you’ll have to wear all hats. Marketing, shipper, accountant, assistant – every position is filled by you. Hence, no time management and the pressure to do everything right.
#8 Strategy brainstorming and building – as with looking at flaws in the business, constant strategies to build the business is needed. Networking, coming up with ideas, spearheading growth and where to head is a constant struggle. How do I know what I’m doing, what will work, what will not? And feeling alone (#1) in this step happens quite often. Generating new ideas with no one to bounce ideas with is hard!
#9 Learning when to say yes and when to say no – I’m still learning this! I’m always struggling when I say no. Did I just decline a huge opportunity? Did I mess up my path? I’m getting better at it, but it is still a work in progress. I still tend to say yes too often. Not a bad thing, I’ve also had plenty of opportunities come my way. My goals these days, look at the positives and saying yes hasn’t hurt me I just need to figure out the value of my time.
#10 Money – the constant struggle with money. Isn’t this the problem in life? The stress about feeding the machine and paying yourself is the worst. At times, I miss the corporate ladder, I miss the paycheck, knowing I have a job and that my pay is set and a yearly raise is coming with hard work. My pay has ranged from zero for a year to a good amount, but month to month is a huge range. And the harder I work doesn’t always result in money right away. I’m always looking forward and these days selling myself (not literally). Tracking money is a daily struggle and making sure what I charge is enough.
Advice I would give: Breathe and take it step by step. Organize and write lists daily. Cross them out each time you finish and it will gives you a sense of accomplishment. Set up a weekly conference with your team or yourself. Go over the accomplishments, the problems, and the analytics of your business. Enjoy the ride, enjoy the stress, and if you can continue to be an entrepreneur for months, years, give yourself a congrats every once in a while.
Are you an entrepreneur?Anything I miss you would like to add? And congrats on being your own boss.
Subscribe to my blog newsletter here. *I could not be where I am without my family or my ex. Every person along the way has helped me do this (including you reading this). So appreciative of the support.