You know that entrepreneurship is no cakewalk. You paid for those classes that guaranteed 100% results, you vowed to explain it to your parents when the time comes and listened to multiple podcasts on startups on loop. You did all this and more to give yourself the satisfaction of preparation. But what if it isn’t enough? What if the road to entrepreneurship is colder and drearier than you were made to believe? It’s time for a reality check. Let’s start by shedding light on four of the darkest corners entrepreneurship can put you in.
According to the Gallup Wellbeing Index, “45% of entrepreneurs report being stressed, 30% are identified as depressed (compared to the national average, which is 7%), and 72% of entrepreneurs have a family history of mental health conditions.”
Perhaps, we should begin to call it common stress, because like common cold it seems to be infecting the entrepreneurial community at large. Most aspiring entrepreneurs are attracted to the shimmer and glitter of starting up on their own and their excitement leaves them impaired of insight. The hard work, late nights, severe competition, lack of a mentor can open door to disillusionment. But in the face of mounting debts, salaries and bills they are forced to carry on. Such monumental pressure opens the doors to stress and bouts of depression, self-doubt and uncertainty. This ultimately affects their productivity and personal health, and problems like and obesity, indigestion, insomnia and fatigue soon become commonplace in their lives.
According to entrepreneur.com, “The day you decide to start up, make a personal note in your diary and bid an adieu to the word called security. Security of future, finance, family and freedom! This journey often deprives one of the ability to make free choices in terms of 4Fs mentioned above. The financial crunch, uncertain future, irregular family engagement and the lack of freedom to make personal decisions will surround you.”
Uncertainty, thy name is entrepreneurship! Doubt and insecurity are an entrepreneur’s worst enemy. But they are indeed a reality, especially for those who enter the startup scene without the right preparation. Entrepreneurship is planned development but it can also become an unplanned disaster. One bad decision can lead to another; one poor review can send your company into a downward spiral. An entrepreneur is always one decision away from realizing his/her dreams or activating a nightmare. If you lack in preparation, knowledge and courage, you will become insecure and be more susceptible to making bad decisions.
According to techinasia, “No matter how you explain what you do to your family, friends, or even your loved ones; they can never fully grasp how you feel about your business at any point in time. The ups of entrepreneurship are rewarding, fulfilling and exhilarating, but the downs can be dismal, depressing, and nerve wrenching.”
There are some things in this world that are very hard to explain. Loneliness is one of them. With time, it has changed many garbs. Some see it as a sign of independence, others of failure. Some think of it as strength, others condone it for its vulnerability. All in all, loneliness is not a desired aspect in our society. However, as an entrepreneur you will have to face the beast sooner or later and it will all come down to how well you have cultivated yourself to face difficulties that challenge your very being.
According to women2, “When the buck stops at you, there’s no one to blame but yourself.”
To be unsure once in a while or seek guidance, every once in a while, is normal. But the moment you start second-guessing each of your decisions, then know that you are beginning to lose confidence in your skills. In such moments, it’s important to take a pause and reflect upon your choices. If you continue to stay in denial, not only will you affect your company’s productivity, you’ll also develop an unhealthy sense of self. And once you let the devil of self-doubt get the better of you, you’ll get lost in a maze of confusion and ambiguity.
Simply knowing that entrepreneurship isn’t easy is not enough. You must know what makes it difficult and challenging. It serves to prepare yourself mentally and physically by learning from the experience of those who have already taken the plunge in its deep waters.