So you want to be an entrepreneur. You want to dedicate thousands of hours into building a business that can take you to the promised land of success and financial freedom. You’ve been lured in by the images of flash cars, large houses, and holidays to some of the most beautiful places on earth.
Are you prepared to do what is necessary?
Work Hard and Make Sacrifices
In his book “How to Get Rich”, Felix Dennis described the process of getting rich as giving up on everything that most people enjoy. He himself lived in squalid conditions to save money so that he could fund his business, Dennis Publishing.
While his example may be a little extreme, the message is right. Overnight success doesn’t exist, so you need to be prepared to put in years of hard work.
Bill Gates described “not having a day off in his 20s”. He didn’t go into detail, so what he might have meant was that he did at least some work every day, even if he did stop to go to the movies once in a while.
No entrepreneur has made a successful, sustainable business without making sacrifices. Whether that be foregoing holidays, spending less time with friends or family, or having less money and time available to pursue hobbies.
Get Your Money Right
Entrepreneurs don’t make a lot of money in the early stages of their businesses. In fact, any that already have some capital resources behind them often end up pouring their own money into the business.
The money is better spent on product development, marketing, and the wages of your staff that are helping to grow the business. Entrepreneurs make this trade off in the hopes of making bigger returns later down the line.
This requires you to slash your own personal spending to make your limited income or savings last long enough for your business to succeed. This means no buying of unnecessary luxury items, less meals out, much less travel, and finding ways to scrimp and save in just about every area of your life.
That said, it is important to find a balance between cutting your spending, and still having some ways to enjoy yourself. Allow a small amount in your budget for “fun money”, which you can spend however you want.
Don’t just blow that money though, if you’re smart you can make it last longer so you do more with it. For example, if you’re going to a restaurant, find a voucher to get a discount. If you want to bet on sports, find a bookmaker that is offering free bets. Or if you want to go on holiday, find ways to cut your cost of travel through sites like Groupon.
Put Your Ego Away
Many businesses fail because their founders cannot work together. They let their egos get in the way and don’t work towards the common goal of making their business succeed.
Instead of needing to take the glory, recognise that your business needs the combined skills of your team. While one may be great at sales, another may be great at coding. On their own, they’re not going to make the business succeed, but together they create value that’s larger than the sum of its parts.
Another part of egoism among many new entrepreneurs is something that has been labelled “wantrepreneurship”. A wantrepreneur is someone who sees the idea of being an entrepreneur as an easy way to get rich and work when and where they want.
They set up their business and then spend their time buying expensive gadgets and flashy clothes to show that they are now a big business person, without having actually earned the money to do it. The fact that they’re now a “high flying business person” gets to their head and it quickly unravels when their business fails.
Being a wantrepreneur is the 21st century equivalent of seeing rockstars in the 1960s and 1970s and wanting to be like them, without learning to play an instrument.
Are You Willing?
Just like Felix Dennis asks his readers in his book, you need to ask yourself: are you willing to do what it takes? Can you put away your ego? Can you put your ego away, and give up on certain luxuries and having free time to make your dream a reality?