Thinking About Starting a Business? Here are Three Common Challenges

Andy Anderson

biz-stress2Starting a business may be the “American Dream,” but it can also be terrifying.  As exciting as it sounds to break free from the shackles of your 9-to-5 job, corporate American may appear comforting in comparison to the instability of entrepreneurship.  For example, you once had a team of experts at your disposal, not to mention peer support from coworkers, not to mention the stability of a regular paycheck.  You had 24-hour assistant from an “IT Helpdesk,” and someone to fix the printer when it broke down for the third time in a week.  

Leaving the security of a full-time job can be daunting, but there are three specific challenges that seem to affect all entrepreneurs – chief among them are stress, instability and solitude.  According to the experts in entrepreneurship, facing down these demons is the only way to overcome them.

Instability

Any small business owner will tell you that having your own business with dozens of paying clients is a lot more secure - and profitable – than working for a single employer.  In this hyper competitive economy, this is the best way to make a decent living is to build a business, but what do you do in the interim – before all those new clients are on board.  It is this challenge that keeps entrepreneurs up at night.  In fact, if you’re the kind of business owner that craves predictability it can be terrifying.

In reality, most new business owners will scale their business while continuing to work in a full-time job.  However if you are already out there in the trenches you will find that all those marketing skills and sales CRM systems will become your best friend. Just remember, you may be excellent at your area of expertise, but the true stability of any business comes from having leads and clients in the pipeline.  

Stress

Few people in the general population truly “get” the demands associated with entrepreneurship.  For some reason they continue to assume that business owners lead an enviable lifestyle, making calls from the beach with a big “umbrella drink” in one hand and an iPad in the other.  Oh, if they only knew!

Consider this: the U.S. Small Business Administration has reported that 50 percent of small businesses will close within their first five years.  This alone should be proof that most entrepreneurs are not sunning themselves on the beach somewhere; they are dealing with periods of high stress on a regular basis.  

The stress of owning a business isn’t always the hours; it is all the decisions.  Figuring out how to pursue new clients, what rates should be charged, how and when to go to market, how to collect payments and find the best personnel.  Even when there are other employees on board, the bigger decisions usually fall on the business owner.  

The path to success for the entrepreneur has a lot more to do with learned skills, like learning how to prevent, reduce and overcome stress.   There is no known way to fully eliminate stress; it is part of the learning process, but seek out the support you need to get through it.  Business coaches are a great place to start.  They will teach you how to embrace the stress and develop healthy coping and stress management mechanisms.  

Solitude 

This may seem like an easy thing to deal with, especially if you’re not a “people person,” and after all, aren’t entrepreneurs also the lone wolves who prefer to go it alone.  But is solitude really a good place to start when you are in a high-stress situation? It can be incredibly isolating to work alone and never have someone who to bounce ideas around with you.  Not only that, entrepreneurs tend to project a lot more self-confidence than the average person so it can be hard to confess struggles or admit defeat.  

If this sounds like you, then you’re in luck.  There are thousands of other entrepreneurs who also feel isolated and lonely. Whether you choose to become a mentor or a mentee, join a networking group or start attending events at your chamber of commerce, being a small business owner opens you up to several different ways to connect with others to share your personal and business struggles.  

 

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