As the saying goes, entrepreneurship is not for the faint at heart. Honestly, I could not agree more. As an entrepreneur with more than 14 years’ experience, I can testify that being a business owner takes courage, grit, and resilience (and lots of it). Since becoming an entrepreneur, during the many interviews I’ve done in the press/media, I have always candidly expressed that for me, entrepreneurship has been a “faith walk” which is definitely a journey and not a sprint. Not only has my faith in myself been tested, but also my faith in God, and humanity as well.
Considering the Halloween season, I wanted to discuss the scary truths about entrepreneurship. Not that I celebrate Halloween, but I thought today it would be fitting to write about something “scary” as it pertains to business. Before we look at the scary truths of entrepreneurship, simply looking at the statistics about small business ownership in the USA, are startling enough.
Here are the facts and stats:
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is estimated that 637K new businesses open each year in the United States of America. Based on this estimate, approximately 127,400 new businesses fail within the first year.
- 30% of U.S. businesses fail in the second year.
- Half (50%) of all small businesses in America fail in their first 5 years.
- Around 70% of small business owners fail in their 10th year.
What I’ve learned is that what most people classify as small business is really micro or tiny business.
According to the Small Business Administration, a small business is defined as an enterprise with less than 500 employees. However, there are nearly 28 million small businesses in America. Of those 28 million, a full 22 million consists of one single employee. These single employee businesses are considered, solo entrepreneurs and are referred to as non-employer businesses.
The average revenue in the US for small businesses is $44K annually. (Isn’t that scary? In this economy, that’s practically poverty.) The fact that most entrepreneurs in the USA do not make more than $50K annually is scary enough. However, it goes to show that millions of people care MORE about being their own boss and charting their own path than they do about making big bucks.
Considering all of the facts about entrepreneurship in America, it’s not surprising that a common saying is that “entrepreneurship is not for everyone.”
Below you will find 7 startling aka scary truths about entrepreneurship (as I see it).
- You Must Create Your Own Pay Days – One of the reasons many small businesses fail is because of a lack of funding. No one who starts a business has a steady paycheck at first. For most entrepreneurs, It takes time to become profitable on a consistent basis. The fact is, you must create an income for yourself as well as bring in sales that contribute to the overall revenue of the business.
- The Overwhelm of the Never-Ending To-Do-List – The fact is, as an entrepreneur, you must wear many hats. There is always a long list of items that need your attention. Furthermore, even when you have the budget to hire a staff, delegate, or outsource, you are still responsible for checks and balances as the CEO of your business.
- The Responsibility of Everything Always Falls on You – There is an old adage that states, “the buck stops with you.” This couldn’t be truer in entrepreneurship. It doesn’t matter who you hired to do whatever task, the bottom line is, you are responsible for everything, all-the-time-period.
- Imposter Syndrome Is Real – When it gets right down to it, most entrepreneurs have felt as though they were not good enough at some point during their entrepreneurial journey. It doesn’t matter if you have suffered from limiting beliefs, negative mindset, or a lack of knowledge in a particular area, it is common to feel is if you are ill-equipped or unqualified to be a business owner.
- Concerns About Your Competition Leaving You in the Dust – It really doesn’t matter what type of work you do or what industry you are in, you will have lots of competition and your target audience will always have other options. Many entrepreneurs worry about their competitors being better than them or getting to the market first with an offer. The scary part is that your competitors are not going anywhere either. If anything, as time goes by you will gain more and more competitors who will be vying for the attention of the same target audience as you are.
- Failure at something is inevitable – As an entrepreneur, it goes without saying that you will fail at something. You may not fail at running your business as a whole, but there will be some aspect of business that you will inevitably fail at, and it’s okay.
- Work-Life Balance Doesn’t Exist – When it comes to entrepreneurship, there is no such thing as a work-life balance. Some days you will neglect yourself, your family, your health and your friends…all in an effort to keep the business afloat. Your relationships may suffer, and you may feel isolated because of all the work you feel you have to do. Entrepreneurship can be a very lonely journey at times.
Now that we’ve discussed the scary truths about entrepreneurship, let’s look at the bright side. How do you deal with the scariest and most startling aspects of entrepreneurship?
- Profitability is the answer to the scary truth of creating your own paydays. Profitability starts with creating products and services that meet a need and solve a problem for your target audience.
- Productivity and prioritization are the best answers to feeling overwhelmed with a never-ending to-do list.
- Outsourcing and delegating are the best answers for having an anti-superman or anti-superwoman syndrome. You can’t possibly do it all, so don’t try.
- Mindfulness, positive affirmations and continually learning are the best answers for dealing with feeling of unworthiness or inadequacy.
- Awareness of how you are different or more unique than your competition is the best way to circumvent any comparisons that may pop up.
- Learning to Failure Foward is the answer to thinking about failure. Never be afraid to fail. In fact, fail as much as you can and as often as you can so that you can learn what not to do. Knowing what NOT to do is just as important as knowing what to do.
- Making your health a priority is necessary. This is the #1 thing you must never sacrifice. Without your health, you don’t have a business for very long. Furthermore, taking time to invest in the relationships that matter to you, is something you should never be willing to compromise. At the end of the day, we are stronger together. Humans need humans, period.
In this article, I’ve only touched the surface about seven of the scary and startling truths of entrepreneurship. There are many other factors that entrepreneurs deal with on a daily basis that can be quite disturbing.
If you’re brave enough to share, LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW and tell us what is one scary thing about entrepreneurship that you’ve dealt with and how did you overcome it?
In summary, although entrepreneurship is very scary, it is also very rewarding for many of us. There are many ways to overcome the things that scare us in life. Business is no different. As an entrepreneur, you must feel the fear and do it anyway. And if it’s any consolation, understanding that you are not alone, should make you feel better.
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This article was written by Lori A. Manns. President of Quality Media Consultant Group. Lori is a multi-award-winning marketing mentor, sales coach, and trailblazing business strategist who works with small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them grow and scale their businesses. She specializes in sales and marketing strategies that result in her clients attracting their target market, gaining brand visibility, and growing revenue. Lori is the President of Quality Media Consultant Group, a consultancy firm specializing in media, advertising, marketing, and sales. She is the founder of the Trailblazer Business Academy. where advancing entrepreneurs go to learn growth strategies and how to run a profitable business the soulful way. Lori is also the creator of the Sponsorship Sales Secrets.