One of the most important skills a business owner must posses is the ability to maintain a positive attitude despite setbacks and constant challenges. This ability to jump these mental hurdles of entrepreneurship can often be more important than having the right skills, knowledge, and expertise.
This month we’ve been talking about all the little (and some big) things that can take the fun out of being a business owner. Today, we are talking about the mental side of entremanure.
After starting a business and hiring your first employees you might — wait, who are we kidding? You will run into some challenges. Do you have the brain chops to make laps on the track mentally?
Perhaps the most challenging part of owning a business is the stress and mental perseverance it requires on a daily basis. Will I survive this year? What is keeping my business from thriving? Was my awesome idea not as awesome as I thought it was? Do my employees even like me? Why do I even do this?
You’re right, the odds are against you. That’s why doing what you do is so awesome!
- Over the lifetime of a small business, 60 percent either break even or lose money (source).
- 51 percent of new businesses die within five years (source).
- 80 percent of entrepreneurs fail at their attempt within 18 months (source).
Failure is pandemic in the entrepreneurial community. The “fail fast, fail often” is a Silicon Valley mantra. Don’t buy into this garbage. Fight failure, and stay strong mentally. If something’s not working, change your approach.
The Mental Hurdles of Entrepreneurship
#1 Dealing with People
Employees are people. Your customers are people. People are tough. It’s like they have a mind of their own or something. The social complexities and hardships from having employees on a mental and emotional level is incredibly taxing. Employees leave and complain. Customers are not always happy. Your family and friends won’t understand. The ability to successfully deal with and handle people on a constant basis, whether employees or customers, is a critical skill all entrepreneurs must learn in order to be successful.
#2 Dealing with Setbacks
Yes, bad things will happen. No, not all setbacks are signs. A mentally fit entrepreneur has the ability to keep their cool and keep moving forward. You must be able to be happy with progress – no matter how small. It often takes a while to see pay-off for work you are doing now. Facing uncertainty is common and you need to be comfortable with this. How well do you deal with disappointment? An entrepreneur who is mentally fit in this area does not let their emotions get the best of them.
#3 Dealing with Risk
Owning and starting a business involves risk. Sharp entrepreneurs in this area know how to identify opportunities that involve risk that are worth taking and those that are not.
Don’t over analyze and get stuck in analysis paralysis. At the same time, don’t get so trigger happy that you take every risk you come across. Do you know when to take risks and when to stay conservative?
#4 Dealing With Yourself
One of the biggest opponents you will face is yourself.
- Don’t doubt yourself. Entrepreneurs often doubt themselves. Maybe its because the very word entrepreneur is attached to some mystical powers that only a few elite youngsters posses who started giant software companies while slinging code in their ASU dorm rooms. No, being an entrepreneur simply means starting your own business. That’s it. Don’t doubt that you have what it takes just because you aren’t like the people on the cover of Entrepreneur. We have created an unrealistic stereotype of what this word means. You are doing it. You are capable. You are an entrepreneur.
- Don’t be a control freak. Letting go of control – its really hard for many to let go of control of things regarding their business. This is a critical step in hiring and empowering leaders for your company. It’s hard, but force yourself to be okay with other people taking responsibility for things in your company.
#5 Dealing with the Burden of Leadership
When you’re the leader and things go awry, the finger usually points towards you. Its hard to blame failures on anyone but yourself. You call the shots, what if they’re off target? Being a leader of a business is not easy. It can also feel like a pretty thankless job. You have to be able to carry this burden and accept the responsibility that comes with it.
Like the word “entrepreneur,” the word “leadership” is almost just as meaningless. Don’t be scared off by it. There’s not one right way to be a leader and the gift of leadership looks many different ways.
#6 Dealing with the Details (Lots of them)
I get exhausted even thinking about attempting to make a list of the number of details one single business owner has to deal with. Dealing with these details is even more exhausting. The pile is never ending. Start with State and Federal government compliance issues then add marketing, budgeting, payroll, hiring, recruiting, materials, technology, vendors, printing, safety, including hundreds of other areas and you’ve got a lot of spinning plates. Entrepreneurs have to learn quickly how to manage these details and not get too overwhelmed.
You need to be able to accept there are things that HAVE to get done NOW before you get to what you want to focus on. Putting food on the table today instead of pursuing your new innovations and creations is not easy nor fun for entrepreneurs. Can you wade through all the details and decipher what is worth your time and what is not?
It’s a Journey, And You’re Not Traveling Alone
The struggle is real. Many quit before they even get started. Entrepreneurship is a journey. You will need other people to come alongside you on this journey. It will help you keep your sanity. If you find people who want to be called a leader, a manager, a CEO, or whatever… fine! What’s most important is that you know you don’t need to be, nor should you be, everything. It’s not about asserting absolute leadership or control, it’s about building something, together, with other strategically chosen people. Rally a team, don’t workout alone. Get mentally fit. These hurdles are no match for you.
We would be honored to be part of your team to help you handle administrative details related to payroll, HR, insurance, safety, and compliance. With one simple payment per payroll cycle we give your business access to over 50 business solutions to help you survive and thrive.