When you’re starting as a business owner, the chances are pretty high that you know that you’re not going to get much sleep. You can expect a lack of sleep, lack of comfort, and probably even a lack of money for a while too. It’s obvious that at the very beginning, it’s all going to be rocky. It’s all going to be rocky and uncomfortable, and you’ll be scrounging around for a little while.
That is truly the reality of it all. While these aren’t necessarily a secret when you’re starting a new business, there are some things that no one tells you. No entrepreneur bluntly announces it, and no one on LinkedIn ever talks about it; surprisingly, there are no mentions on Forbes, and of course, influencers don’t mention it either.
It’s not a closed secret, but it’s just something that entrepreneurs will experience when first starting, and no one thinks to make a warning about it. But of course, when starting, the fewer surprises, the better. So, with that said, here are some things that no one is going to tell you when you start.
There’s So Much Loneliness
When you think of business owners, the last thing you think about is loneliness, right? They’re always going to networking events, out to dinner with clients, happy hour with the employees, and other fancy things like that. But is this the reality? At the start, it’s not. In general, starting a business can be a lonely pursuit. The responsibilities and decisions fall squarely on your shoulders, and there might be moments when you feel isolated. You’ll need to focus on building a support network, whether it’s through mentorship, networking events, or joining entrepreneurial communities, which can provide valuable insights and emotional support.
The Money Isn’t Always Consistent
It’s similar to how freelancers do it. One month, you might be raking in the dough, but the second month, you might be scrambling just to get by to pay your regular bills. Also, you just really need to keep in mind that finances are a constant source of concern for business owners. The income may not be stable initially, and unexpected expenses can arise.
At the end of the day, it’s going to be crucial to have a solid financial plan, a buffer for emergencies, and a realistic understanding of the time it takes for a business to become profitable.
You’re Going to be Well-Acquainted with Failure
It’s not going to be your best friend, but failure is going to show up a lot at the beginning, even when your business becomes fairly successful- it’ll rear its ugly head in. But overall, like it or not, failure is an inevitable part of entrepreneurship.
Seriously, just think about it for a moment: many successful entrepreneurs have faced setbacks before achieving their goals. Instead of fearing failure, view it as a learning opportunity. Honestly, adaptability and resilience are key traits that will help you navigate the inevitable challenges.
There’s No Such Thing as a Work-Life Balance
Have you ever watched shows and movies that have business owners who go out to eat, always talk about business, and constantly have phone calls about business no matter what time of the day it is? Is this real? Well, yes and no, but it’s not as glamorous as this. Clients might demand revisions in the middle of the night, people cross boundaries, and sometimes, you have no choice but to deal with it.
You could be on a relaxing vacation with your family, and something goes wrong with your business to the point you’re doing damage control. It’s hard to achieve that work-life balance, and it’s hard to get people (clients and customers) to not cross personal boundaries. It’s not always glamorous. Sometimes, it’s such a nightmare that relationships you have in your personal life begin to crumble.
You’re Expected to Know Things You’d Never Think You’d Have to Know
Depending on what your business is, you might have to learn and understand things that you’d never expect to learn. For example, if you’re running a marketing agency, there’s always the chance that industries you’ve never worked with before might be interested in hiring you. For example, your agency has a construction company that is interested in being your client.
In that case, you’re going to have to learn about construction (specifically their niche), and you’ll probably never need to look through a construction industry glossary. But it’s the same if you need to hire someone yourself, whether it be an employee or a freelancer. There might be things you just don’t know, but you might need to have a general idea of what some of these things are so you know you’re not getting swindled. Overall, you have to constantly learn; even when you feel like there is no need- you’ll still have to.
Marketing Is Way More Important Than You Think And Harder
It’s not as easy as writing up a blog post or posting a random Canva image on Instagram, and that’s where businesses go wrong. Marketing brings awareness, but it never guarantees sales or foot traffic. It just doesn’t work that way.
With that said, no matter how brilliant your product or service is, it won’t gain traction without effective marketing. Investing time and resources in understanding your target audience and developing a robust marketing strategy is essential. Building a brand and establishing an online presence are critical components of business success.
Legal Matters Matter
Unless you have money for a lawyer, you’re going to have to constantly keep up with changing laws and regulations. It’s not like you’re going to get an email or always read the changes on the news, either. Sometimes, they just creep up, and you have no choice but to know. Sure, in general, navigating the legal aspects of running a business can be complex. From registering your business to understanding contracts and compliance issues, seeking legal advice early on can save you from potential headaches down the road.
There’s Going to be Times of Uncertainty
It’s really scary to think, but entrepreneurship is synonymous with uncertainty. Life is unpredictable, and the same can be said for business owners. Seriously, you just never know when economic shifts, market trends, and unexpected challenges take place, and these are par for the course. Learning to embrace uncertainty, staying agile, and being open to adjusting your strategies are essential skills for navigating the unpredictable nature of business ownership.
It’s Almost Always an Emotional Rollercoaster
Honestly, just about every job is, but this just seems to be much stronger when you’re running a business. You’re supposed to feel strong and resilient, but that’s not always going to be the case. Of course, when starting a business is an emotional journey with highs and lows. In general, celebrating victories is important, but learning to cope with setbacks and uncertainty is equally crucial. Mental resilience and emotional intelligence are assets that can help you weather the emotional rollercoaster of entrepreneurship.
You’re Wearing Multiple Hats for the First Few Months or Years
As a new business owner, you’ll find yourself wearing multiple hats – from CEO to customer support. It’s horrible, but it’s just how it is. Of course, knowing your strengths and outsourcing or hiring for areas where you lack expertise is key to sustainable growth. But you need to have the funds before you can outsource.
You’ll Get Burnout Quickly
The passion that fuels your entrepreneurial journey can also lead to burnout if not managed effectively. It happens way more than you think, especially when you have high hopes, but none of it works in the way that you were planning for it all to happen. It’s going to happen, and it might happen more than you’d ever expect it to.
So, with that said, you’ll have to try and focus on this balancing act of work and personal life; taking breaks and recognizing when to ask for help are essential for preventing burnout. Sustainable success requires a healthy and well-rested entrepreneur.
You’ll Have to Learn to Say No
In the pursuit of growth; there will be numerous opportunities and requests for your time and resources. Learning to say no is a skill that will help you stay focused on your priorities and avoid spreading yourself too thin. Not every opportunity is the right fit for your business.
You’ll Be Juggling Passion and Practicality
While passion is a driving force behind many entrepreneurial ventures, the reality is that passion alone may not sustain your business. In general, it’s again, another balancing act where you’ll need to focus on balancing passion with a practical approach, focusing on market needs, and adapting your vision to meet customer demands are crucial for long-term success.
Overnight Success If a Myth
Well, for the most part, it is. Sure, sometimes, a few businesses get lucky to the point they go viral, or one good article written about them circulates like crazy. All of these can be very possible and plausible. But it’s so rare, it’s incredibly rare, and even if you or others make UGC, there’s still no guarantee it’d work!