Getting into business is something I would always encourage, as in the long term it's the way to achieve personal and financial freedom. However I always tell people of these seven issues that they will be forced to confront at one point or another.
You will find plenty of articles out there explaining the positives of being an entrepreneur, but for now, let me welcome you to the dark side of entrepreneurship...
1. You will be unhappy. Entrepreneurs are people that are always chasing the next big wave, looking to the next venture, making moves that will come into play months later. This can have a positive impact if it all goes well, but the chances are it will never always go according plan it and that's when unhappiness kicks in. Unhappiness with the result, with the way it's gone and most important of all, unhappiness in yourself and your ability.
2. You're relationships will suffer. Most entrepreneurs I meet are single and I think that's often a personal choice. When you are chasing that next big wave you need to ride your own board and have that board all to yourself, because there isn't the room or the mental capacity to look after others on this journey. You will be working into the early hours of the morning, you will get cranky when things don't go to plan and you will feel like you have a constant itch that no matter how many times you scratch it, it just won't go away.
You will look at time you're spending with somebody doing couple things a waste of your time and overall, it's not fair to make somebody else unhappy whilst you chase your goals.
3. You're overdraft will become your best friend. When starting up, cash-flow is tight and you will often be living from week to week, let alone month to month. With this, you can expect to dip into your overdraft and have a few phone calls with your banking provider about lowering your overdraft fees. I remember having to make the decision between spending the last £10 available on my overdraft on food for a week, or train travel to a meeting. I chose the train ticket which resulted in a client acquisition.
Remember, with every failure you are adding layers to your mental strength.
4. You will have a terrible diet. You're pulling 15-18 hour days on a daily basis, getting no sleep, no exercise and worst of all, you're surviving on microwave meals or packets of super noodles. We don't have the time to cook a meal from scratch do we?
Well, we don't, but taking that time out is important. I've found that doing seemingly tedious and menial tasks often starts a thought process that I get the eureka idea I've been searching for. Try it.
5. You have to be mentally strong. Yes, we've heard lots of stories of people going to the wire on their last penny, or putting everything they have into one last hoorah and it works and all of those other turnaround success stories. Well, let me tell you, it doesn't always end like that and when it doesn't, you need to be prepared for that mentally. It's soul destroying to put all of your time, resources and energy into something that doesn't work out how you imagined it. This is where surrounding yourself with mentors and people who have experienced this is vitally important. Remember, with every failure you are adding layers to your mental strength.
6. You won't go out and raise £1 million overnight. I see so many so called ‘entrepreneurs’ prepare a business plan and chase funding without even having registered an actual company. They want somebody else to take all the risk for their idea. Raising money takes time, preparation, a solid business model and a great team behind the business. Stop kidding yourself that you have the next Facebook but need £15 million before you can start it. Start with what you have, do what you can and then go to raise investment. Investors will respect you far more if you've had the terrible diet and the overdraft account because they will see how passionate and committed you are to the success of the business.
7. Your social life will diminish. We often see pictures of entrepreneurs all drinking in bars with each other, laughing, joking and having a good time. Yes, this is true, for those entrepreneurs that have built a company and successfully integrated a structure and team that allows them to free up their time. Starting out though, a combination of lack of funds, long working hours and constant uncertain ness of success will mean that you cut back on a trip to the pub with friends, Xbox live sessions and shopping trips. Be prepared to have friends question you, moan at you and make you question yourself.
So, these seven points are all from personal experience. If you are prepared to go through them, I salute you and I look forward to seeing you at the top, if you aren't prepared to go through this, you're probably much saner than myself and will have a nice comfortable, yet in my opinion, unfulfilled life. Either way, entrepreneurship isn't just a job, it's a lifestyle and you must be prepared to let it become a lifestyle otherwise real entrepreneurship just isn't for you.