Running a business is hard. It’s like a baby: it requires a ton of sleepless nights in the beginning, needs constant attention, and still might grow up to be a disappointment! Think long and hard before jumping into business ownership.
1. Your spouse will consider her/himself a widow. A major cause of both marital and business strife is trying to maintain your marriage while starting a business. Putting in long hours at work means you take away from family time, and some partners simply aren’t willing to make that sacrifice. If you do become an entrepreneur, communicate clearly about what your partner should expect the first year, and strive to designate family time each day or week.
2. You’ll lose your hair. Even if you don’t, you can’t begin to prepare for the amount of stress running a business causes. You’ll lose sleep worrying about having money to pay vendors and employees, getting new clients, losing bad clients, traveling, paying bills…the list goes on and on.
3. It’s not always rewarding. Sure, you have visions of sugar plum fairy VCs swooping down and bestowing millions for your amazing idea. But in reality, there are tons of entrepreneurs with tons of ideas. Sometimes yours isn’t as good as you think, or sometimes you don’t execute it quite like you envisioned in your head.
4. Profit can be a long way off. Most entrepreneurs don’t make a profit for a while. Keep in mind the expenses you’ve incurred: office space, inventory, salaries, benefits…it will take a while to cover those expenses before you can consider yourself profitable. Make sure you have enough to pay these expenses even if you have zero sales for at least a year.
5. Investors don’t care about you. You might think you’ll waltz on “Shark Tank” and get the sharks clamoring to invest in your business, but ego aside, the likelihood of that is slim to none. Do your homework on what investors look for and make sure your business is viable. Be prepared to answer any questions they throw at you.
6. You’d rather play solitaire. If you start a business because you love, say, writing, you’ll quickly discover you do little of that and a lot more marketing, sales, accounting, and managing. You’ll put off tasks you hate (for me, Quickbooks) and play Solitaire to avoid having to do it.
7. You’ll get sales calls. As soon as you incorporate or file business paperwork, the sales pitches start. You’ll get mail with special offers for entrepreneurs and you’ll get sales calls too. Don’t they get that you don’t have any money (yet)?
8. You’ll get “that look.” When you try to explain to your parents/friends/random strangers what exactly you do, the title “entrepreneur” will get you funny looks. Most people think that’s another word for “unemployed.”
9. You’ll find out how dumb you are. No matter how smart you are, entrepreneurship will knock you on your ass and show you just what you don’t know. Having passion for something is not the same as being business savvy, so you better start reading some books on the subject.
10. You’re not up for the challenge. To boil it down, entrepreneurship is hard. Really hard. Many people can’t handle the pressure and amount of constant work it takes. You will be pushed to your limits, and you will cry. Trust me. But if you run the gauntlet and survive, you might just find it the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done!