Nowadays, there are lots of experts, coaches and mentors out there that will teach you how you can become a great entrepreneur. Almost all would sell the idea that being an entrepreneur is one awesome ride. They highlight the ups and somehow minimize the downs. I really wish Jessica Bruder wrote the article The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship 6 years ago. I would’ve been warned.
Don’t get me wrong, I never ever regret taking the route of entrepreneurship. In fact, if I would be given a chance to go back in time, I would still go for the same decisions I previously made – leaving the rat race, and starting up my own online business. However I would’ve taken extra steps along the way that would probably have made the journey a lil‘ easier.
Entrepreneurs have struggled silently. There’s a sense that they can’t talk about it, that it’s a weakness.” – excerpt from Jessica’s post.
So true for me too.
There was a phase in my business life where I went into hiding from offline friends and connections. When my first 2 businesses failed, and finances started crumbling I got scared of facing reality. So I pretended everything was going okay, virtually. I thought, if I kept it for myself, no one will know and the business will still thrive… somehow.
All the articles and books I read just focused on the positivities of being an entrepreneur. Nobody prepped me for bad times. The anxiety attacks, the sleepless nights, the bills, the unpaid invoices, disappearing clients, negative feedback, betrayal, integrity issues, staff problems, fear of failure and everything in between.
For budding online entrepreneurs:
I salute you for taking the plunge, for boldly taking the risk. You took the first step. Buckle-up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
- Equip yourself with knowledge – having our very own business takes away a lot (if not all) of our spare time. At first, I was hungry for knowledge and self-development but as soon as problems started to kick in, and the nitty gritty details of everyday business life, that desire and passion eventually faded. Don’t spend too much time worrying about business permits, or even decorating your office, use that time to improve yourself and your services. Once the ball starts rolling, and money starts flowing in, decorating, taxes, and everything in between will be easier to handle.
- Take Care of Yourself too – For sure this is not the first time you heard this advice but this is so true for entrepreneurs. We tend to take care of everyone else: our clients, our staff, and our families except ourselves. Most entrepreneurs (esp. Me) thinks our own health is our last priority. To be honest, I am still guilty of this: I still work 16 hours a day, have an erratic sleeping schedule, eat comfort food. I have paid the price of seeing my team fall like domino pieces because I was lying in bed and sick for weeks. I’m still learning how to triumph over this but at least I learned my lesson and I am sure I will figure it out soon.
- Hard work is useless without faith – Aside from our hard work, it was faith that brought me through the downhill path. In this journey, the downhill path seemed longer than the uphill ones. I was fortunate to realize early on that my own hard work isn’t good enough to get me through it. I needed faith – both in myself and in God. The business downtime has scraped off the pride I had left in me. I realized, I was neglecting my “Business Partner” all this time. I was making all the decisions by myself and didn’t even ask God for help. He had to take me down in order for me to realize my own knowledge and understanding is never going to be enough. The downtime also taught me how to operate a business in faith. Putting it entirely in His own hands. I even asked God to take away the clients, the staff, and the people surrounding the business that was not part of His plan. It was a very scary and difficult process but I obeyed and its all worth it.
Are you an online entrepreneur too? What are the lessons you learned along the way? We’d love to hear your story! Comment below.