Everyone has daydreamed of being free from the doldrums of the usual nine-to-five job, with its unbearable commute route, patronizing supervisors, and mountains of paperwork they don’t care about. They would rather be their own boss and grow a business they can put their heart and soul in, whether it’s starting a digital marketing firm or a grassroots social enterprise. That is why people venture into the world of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs chart their own path and go on a journey to create something that can solve the world’s problems while generating a sizeable profit.
However, being an entrepreneur is not a walk in the park. Failures and challenges will come first before the sweet taste of success. Just look at the story of Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma. Before topping Fortune China’s list of most influential business leaders this year, Jack Ma’s first two business ventures failed. Alibaba also took a while before becoming profitable, with finances straining in the efforts to topple then e-commerce giant eBay. Now, Alibaba is considered one of the world’s leading online marketplaces.
Following the exciting and treacherous path of entrepreneurship can impart many lessons. It will teach people what it means to start a business from scratch, without the foundational support and network that big companies usually have. Here are a few other realizations entrepreneurs will make along the way:
Risks are not something to fear
People are usually allergic to the word “risk” because it means there’s a chance of something bad happening. After all, who in their right mind would want to court danger and be placed in an uncertain situation? Unfortunately, or fortunately, risk is something that entrepreneurs must accept with open arms if they’re going to break through the mold. As the saying goes, you won’t be able to bake a cake if you’re not ready to crack a few eggs. Smart entrepreneurs expect and account for risk in their decision-making process. They already have alternatives they can fall back on if things go awry.
Knowing your why is everything
During rough patches and hardships, entrepreneurs can keep their motivation going by remembering the reason they started in the first place. Their “why” will serve as the lighthouse through the dark and chaotic seas, especially when a lot of factors such as debt and untrustworthy partners want to drown them. It will also give business owners clarity on what to pursue and focus on when there is a multitude of tasks fighting for their attention.
Not all sources of money are worth it
When entrepreneurs are starting, they might be tempted to cater to all clients and accept whatever paying job goes their way. However, failing to define the target market and establish standards on the get-go can guarantee wasted time, headaches, and misery. Demanding clients with unrealistic expectations will eat up valuable resources business owners can spend more productively elsewhere. They might even end up in a deficit because time and energy have corresponding financial value.
Being an entrepreneur can teach a person about life, themselves, and the business world more than getting a master’s in business administration degree. There’s nothing like real-life experiences that can hammer theories and principles more effectively.