There are three key elements which I have not seen covered in most of the tests on entrepreneurship that I think are critical. My belief is that these things are not talked about because they are huge challenges for any entrepreneur while at the same time being very difficult to quantify or manage using a "standard process".
However, if you can't deal with these three things - there is every reason to believe that you will not be successful as an entrepreneur or if you do achieve business success, you won't be happy with your life...and really, why be an entrepreneur if the lifestyle doesn't allow you to be happy?
So what are those three things...
The first of these is Rejection. To be a successful entrepreneur, you are going to have to sell your product or service and not everyone will want to buy it or buy it from you. In fact, you may well be totally and completely rejected by the people you are selling to or even asking for financing from and how you deal with this will to a large degree, define the probability of your success. The bottom line here is if you don't handle rejection well - don't become an entrepreneur!
So what does handling rejection well mean? Well first of all, you can't lose your cool. Becoming argumentative or defensive will not serve you or your budding business well. See rejection as a worthy difference of opinion and you will do well. Oh and by the way - it is personal, but you can't choose to see it that way. Your self esteem and confidence will definitely be under attack and you have to see this as part of the game, not the end all and be all. It is also very important to have a support network you can help you get back on your feet when you have been kicked to the ground.
The second item that often gets overlooked is that of Loneliness. You are probably familiar with the expression that it is "lonely at the top" and that is very true for entrepreneurs. If you are a single source provider, this can be huge because you have no office mates to interact with. If you are a small business owner with staff - well, you are not one of them - you are their boss and the owner of the business. Sure you can interact, be friendly and enjoy their company, but they will not understand what you are going through, the challenges you are facing or the anxiety of building a business.
Again - it is very important that entrepreneurs have a strong support system where they can be honest about their fears, concerns and get honest help when they need it. No one but another entrepreneur will really understand what you are going through.
The third thing that many people think they understand but often fail to appreciate is Uncertainty. This can be cash flow unpredictability, i.e. lots of revenue today, none tomorrow or it can just be the uncertainty of putting yourself out there on the market and not knowing what the reaction will be. Being an entrepreneur is the exact opposite of stable, predictable and certain. Every decision you make will have large consequences on the success of your business. Every revenue stream can become a torrent or a trickle at a moments notice. Every cost structure can be blown out the door without the slightest warning. If the thought of this sort of thing scares you or causes you great anxiety, then you may wish to revisit just how important security, stability and predictability are for you as an individual.
So there you have it. Three key things that are not always considered in the decision to become an entrepreneur - Rejection, Loneliness, Uncertainty.
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