In between the sea of marketing hype, and fantasy, lies the brutal truths about being an entrepreneur.
These are the truths that very few talk about, and/or even know about.
Think about it…
When you started out on your entrepreneurial journey wasn’t it all excitement, energy, joy, and dreams of easy success? Now that you’ve been in the game for a while you probably realize your success has been a bit more “interesting” than you ever thought it would be.
Well, during that journey we learn some brutal truths about being an entrepreneur.
A lot of times we don’t want to hear them or face them, but they will always be there no matter what.
And in my journey and working with a lot of clients over the years I’ve come up with a list of…
38 Brutal Truths About Being An Entrepreneur
Here ya go…
1) You Are Going To Fail
Duh… no shit. But it’s amazing when I look back how no one really ever spoke about how much failure their would be. Of course people would say “entrepreneurship is risky” but no one mentioned how much failure you would go through to get where you want.
2) You Will Unfortunately Develop A Great Ability To Doubt Yourself All Of The Time
Since you are constantly walking the edge, and stepping outside what society considers “normal” you will doubt if what you are doing is the right thing. Swimming in uncharted waters on a daily basis will lead to bigger and bigger doubts and fears. It’s part of the learning process to figure out how to work through them.
3) You Will Face Fears You Never Thought Existed
Those same uncharted waters that doubt swims in also includes fear. Since you will push the boundaries of what you’re doing, fear will sink it’s ugly teeth into you…. A LOT. For the entrepreneurs that say they don’t have fear…they are the ones who are scared the most.
4) You Will Hurt People
This is an ugly truth but a real one. At some point in your growth of your business or your growth as an entrepreneur you will hurt people. Some will be clients. Some will be business partners. And some will be friends and even family members. Most times it may not be intentional, but it does happen.
5) You Will Stress Out Like A Crazy Person
Since you have to manage so many moving parts, and there are so many unknowns that happen as an entrepreneur, stress can become your middle name. And sometimes it’s debilitating. Some entrepreneurs say they thrive on stress, but the stress I’m talking about is the extreme kind. The kind that will shut you down for a long time if you don’t learn to manage it.
6) You Will Have Haters… A.K.A people who REALLY Don’t Like You
It doesn’t matter how many people you help, or how nice you are, or how great your product/service is, there will always be people who will hate on you. And I don’t care what any guru says… it will bother you to some degree.
7) You Will Lose Quite A Bit Of Sleep (Maybe not get much sleep at all)
Yep, sleep will be a commodity that will be more valuable than money for you. Whether you have a lot going on, employee troubles, financial troubles, etc… this inevitably leads to a lot of sleepless nights. In fact, you may run on zombie mode for a while until things die down.
8) At Some Point You Will Put Your Business Ahead Of Everything Else
This includes your friends, your family, your faith, and even your health. It’s the nature of the game. Now you may say you’ll never do this, but I have yet to meet a successful entrepreneur who hasn’t put their business ahead of everything else at some point in their journey.
9) You Will Compare Yourself To Other Entrepreneurs And It Will Drive You Crazy.
You’ll wonder why you are not as successful as other people who’ve been at it for less time than you. You’ll wonder how other entrepreneurs do what they do in half the time you do it. And you’ll even wonder how they are able to run their business running their lives the way they do. It’s inevitable that you will do this, and it will be a huge piece that will hold you back.
10) You Will Feel All Alone
Doing what you do, and constantly stepping outside the lines will lead to a lot of time where others will not understand what you are doing. Since a lot of people won’t understand, sometimes it will be difficult to find people to turn to and connect with. Which will lead to feelings of loneliness. And some times if the shit hits the fan, you will feel like you are all alone and that you have no one to turn to.
11) You Will Lose Money
It’s almost laughable that I believed that I’d never lose money before I started my journey. I never realized that constantly testing and trying new things would cost money. And most of those times those tests, projects, or businesses failed… costing a lot of money. And it will be no different for you. So expect to lose money on your journey.
12) You Will Have No Clue What You Are Doing
There probably wont be a month that goes by that at some point you will wonder what the hell you are doing. You will question yourself constantly because you will feel lost. Especially after the one direction you were heading hit’s a massive roadblock and you have to figure out how to shift directions quickly.
13) You Will Question If What You Are Doing Is Actually Worth It
Here’s that self doubt popping up again. This time it’s even deeper. Especially when you hit a string of failures or things not going the way you would like them to go. There will be moments that wear on you so much that the you will seriously ask yourself if what you are doing is worth it.
14) Throwing In The Towel And Quitting Will Be A Viable Option
You always hear the most successful people say to “never quit” or “never give up.” That’s because your dreams are achievable. But what they don’t tell you is that they themselves almost threw in the towel multiple times. They had the thoughts and feelings of burning everything to the ground and walking away, and one of the only things that kept them going was seeing people more successful than them not give up.
15) You Will Deal With Things You Could Never Possibly Imagine
From time to time a situation will pop up that you never saw coming. Not only will you have no idea how to handle it, you will also over-think and over-analyze the situation to death. When in reality the best solution will be to go with your gut.
16) Employees, Contractors, And Hired Help Will Screw Up And It Will Hurt The Business
They are not you. They don’t have the passion, the drive, and energy that you have towards the business. They also don’t know how you think, so they WILL make mistakes and it will annoy you and it will cost you money.
17) You Will Forget Why You Started The Business In The First Place
After working on your business for years, and each day seems like it’s a blur, there will be a moment where you realize that you have forgotten the reason you started the business. This happens especially after you’ve reached the success that you’ve wanted to reach.
18) Many Relationships Will Suffer
This is similar to the one where you will hurt people. It’s inevitable that at some point or another the relationships you have either in business, or personal, will suffer. This is due to the singular focus of growing your business at all costs so that you can create the life that you really want.
19) You Will Get Bored…Like REALLY Bored!
You are an entrepreneur. You like to solve problems. You get excited about the next big idea. So it’s normal that the business you’ve worked on for years will get a little stale. Especially after the business is up and running, and seeing success. Once things are flowing your mind will start looking for other new and exciting things to do. Ha, this happens a lot to people who don’t have a successful business as well.
20) There Will Be People Who Will Want To Take Advantage Of You
The more successful you become, the more people will want a piece of your time, your knowledge, and your money. So people will look for and scheme ways to gain access to these.
21) Others Will Copy And Steal From You
With success comes douchebags. The people who want what you have and what you’ve created, believe the easiest way to do that is to not only copy what you do, but sometimes they will flat out steal from you. It’s part of the entrepreneurial process, and something that you will never have full control over.
22) Rarely Will You Ever Be Happy With Where You Are At
You will always want more. And once you get that, you will want more after that. It’s sad that you may forget (or haven’t learned) to step back and be grateful for what you’ve achieved and accomplished. At the same time it is also a big element of what will drive you forward.
23) Things Will Take Longer Than You Want
The farther you get in your entrepreneurial journey the faster you want to see results. Only to find that very rarely does time meet your expectations. There are a lot of hiccups along the way, and those hiccups always slow things down. So get used to time being one of your biggest challenges.
24) Your Patience Will Be Tested
Sometimes daily. You have no control over time. You have very little control on how long things will take. The more irons you have in the fire, means the more things can eat up your time. Eventually that will wear on you and your patience will be tested. Other times your patience can be affected by employees, projects, hell… even the weather.
25) Your Business And Personal Life Will Mix Together
You hear a lot of gurus and coaches say “never mix business with personal things.” Well, business is personal. It affects you, your family, your friendships, so there will be times that both mix together. Sometimes the outcome will not be exactly what you want.
26) You Will Forget To Slow Down
It’s funny how you will push as hard and as fast as you can to reach your dreams. The longer you do this, the more you keep pushing. Over time all you know is how to go at ludicrous speed. Which will lead to burnout, overwhelm, and a shit ton of frustration. It doesn’t help that so many entrepreneurs preach that working like this is O.K.
27) You Will Forget How To Relax
Relaxation, what’s that? Just like forgetting to slow down, relaxation is something that sometimes goes bye bye when you are working really hard. Once you do have some down time to relax, all you will end up doing is thinking about work, or something along those lines.
28) You Will Feel Guilty When Not Working
Another bye product of being an entrepreneur and working your fingers to the bone is that over time all you know is work. It will consume you, and you will become your work. So the time where you are not working and trying to relax, you will feel guilty that you are not pushing to achieve your goals.
29) The Hardest Thing For You To Do Will Be To Do Nothing
You may think that it’s pretty easy to sit on the couch, binge watch the latest Netflix show, and just chill. Or you may think it’s easy to go on some vacation and just hang at the beach. Well, that will last for all of about 2 minutes. The next thing you know you are searching for something to do, or looking for some sort of work that needs to be done. Doing nothing is harder than just about everything else you’ve done to build your business.
30) At Some Point You’ll Let Yourself Go.
Your health, your fitness, your nutrition, and even your mental health will just go. Sometimes you will feel so busy, or so overwhelmed that your only focus is the business. You may be starting a new business, or have a huge launch of a new product coming up, and it requires all of your time. So the other things will just go by the way side. It’s not until you realize that you look and feel like shit that you’ll bring the other things back into your life.
31) People Closest To You Will Question What You Are Doing
If your family or friends are not entrepreneurs they will never truly understand what you do and why you are doing it. If you skip out on social or family events, or are stressed all the time, those closest to you will question what you are doing. Even if everything is going smoothly, people will still question you. It’s something you just have to get used to.
32) You Will Feel Like An Impostor
At some point you will start to think “who am I to be doing this?” You will feel like a fake, and that you don’t belong doing what you are doing. You will see others around you who are much more successful, and get great results for their clients and customers. And you will wonder how you can even compare. Especially if you’re clients/ customers end up becoming more successful than you are.
33) You Will Forget To Laugh
The constant push to achieve what you want brings a long a lot of serious elements. The more you take those things seriously, the more serious you become. All at the cost of having fun with what you are doing. When you are not having fun, you don’t laugh. It’s not that you don’t think things are funny, it’s just that things have gotten so serious that you’ve forgotten how to laugh.
34) You Will Forget How To Have Fun.
Just like forgetting how to laugh, you forget how to have fun. At some point you will take things so seriously that it won’t be fun. If it stays this way for too long, you’ll forget how to have fun. And you’re only idea of having fun is having a big win in business. And that is no way to live life.
35) You Will Burnout.
No if’s ands or buts on this. At some point you will burn out. Even if you’ve developed a good way to keep yourself balanced, sometimes the burnout still finds a way to creep in.
You will either be so emotionally invested in something, or so afraid to be called a quitter/failure that you will push way past the point of when it’s smart to let something go. Which will lead to more and more problems. Regardless of what the gurus say, sometimes quitting is the right thing to do. Especially if it’s not working, or it’s causing you too many issues.
37) The Goals You Set Will Be Influenced By Others
Whether you want a billion dollars, a Ferrari, or even just a simple vacation, the goals you set will be so heavily influenced by other successful entrepreneurs and what they do, that you won’t even know what you really want.
38) You Will Lose Who You Are At Some Point
With all the different methods, strategies, techniques, and gurus out their pitching you that their stuff is the best, you will end up getting confused. Not by which one to follow, but by following too many of them. Over time as you follow more and more of these things, you will begin to lose your identity. It’s not until you have the realization that something feels off, will you finally realize that you’ve lost who you are to some degree.
So there you have it…
38 brutal truths about being an entrepreneur.
To be honest there are probably a thousand of these truths that can be shared. And you’ve probably had a bunch of different ones as you’ve gone on your own entrepreneurial journey.
Some are obvious, some are not so obvious. But as an old mentor of mine used to say…
Progress begins with the truth!
And sometimes, the harsher the truth… the faster progress is made.
Do you have any other brutal truths about being an entrepreneur that you’d like to add?
Then leave them in the comments below.