Starting your own business has been so glamorized that many attempt it without fully knowing what they’re getting into. Even those who do know what it would entail are surprised by how difficult it is. Almost every entrepreneur who’s starting a business will have at one point said these words: “I knew it was going to be difficult, I just didn’t realize it was going to be this difficult.” But it makes sense, right? The Mark Zuckerbergs of the world wouldn’t be glamorized if what they accomplished was easy. Make no mistake, it wasn’t. It isn’t. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. It is riddled with unknowns. And the things you think you do know, quickly become challenged. The beliefs you’ve held onto so dearly, quickly get put to the test.
From reading stories of other startups and being on that journey ourselves (this is what we’re working on we’re doing here), below are the 7 qualities we believe are a basic requirement for those who want, even a tiny shot, at building a successful startup. Again, this is the bare minimum which, in entrepreneurship, rarely cuts it.
As the saying goes, it takes 10 years to become an overnight sensation. Or simply put, nothing good happens overnight. Starting a business requires patience. It will take years for you to reach your ultimate goal. Years as in like 5 or 10 or 30. You will have smaller victories along the way, but the big prize will be a long time coming. Do you have that level of stamina?
Can you give up the comfortable for a good few years of your life to pursue the dream in your heart? Are the people in your life on board as well?
Along with patience is consistency. It will take a while to get where you want to go, but you’re going to have to keep showing up. Entrepreneurship is being able to strike the perfect balance between showing up every day to do the same thing over and over again and having the wisdom to know when to stop. As an entrepreneur, you’re going to have to experiment. You might have a hypothesis about something, and so you’ll have to test it out. But usually, some of these tests don’t work out immediately. You’re going to have to be consistent because sometimes it takes a little to see the results you hope for.
Consistency requires discipline. And a whole lot of it. Without discipline, you won’t show up. Without discipline, there is no self-motivation to get things done when you don’t see immediate fruit for your labor. Without discipline, you don’t know when to say no. You are prone to distractions and can easily take your eye off the prize. Without discipline, you might be inclined to letting your business overtake your life to the detriment of your health. You might forget to eat or forget to sleep. That may seem impressive at first. But food and sleep are things we need to function at peak performance. Having a strong sense of discipline helps you stay the course for the long haul.
Let’s face it. When you start out, the majority of us don’t have a wad of cash sitting around. In fact, many of us are hanging on by a thread and a dream. We want things to look amazing, but we don’t have look-amazing resources. So what do we do? We have to do the absolute best with what we have. Maybe you envision this snazzy website. Perhaps for right now, you’re going to have to make do with a WordPress website. But for goodness sake, unless you’re getting it for free, you don’t need the mug, or the pen or the bag.
As entrepreneurs, it’s so important not to get enamored with an idea. This might seem contrary to our point on discipline, but part of being an entrepreneur is knowing the difference between an idea needing time to hatch vs. an idea not working. And when an idea isn’t working, even if you think it’s the best idea in the world, you need to be able to be flexible enough to admit defeat and change.
Additionally, as an entrepreneur, hardly anything unfolds as planned. You have to be flexible and learn to roll with the tide and then pick back up where you left off.
6. Thick skin
Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey. Most of the people around you, have never done it and so many can’t relate. Unfortunately, although many people around you have never built businesses or even worked for a startup, many will have their thoughts and opinions. And many times it’s the least experienced who have the loudest and most cutting voices. Many times those also happen to be the people closest to you. As an entrepreneur, you will feel an overwhelming sense of lack of support. But don’t waver. Always remember the few people who did believe in you because if you’re one of the 5% who succeeds, you can thank them, because you wouldn’t have been able to stay your course without them. And for everybody else, the fruit of your labor will be enough of an “I told you so.” But you’ve got to learn to shrug off the naysayer because the truth is they are strong enough to take you down if you’re not strong enough in your vision.
For those of you reading this, and thinking about entrepreneurship, are you interested in joining a group of like-minded people? The group would be made of people who understand your struggle and who can be a support system for you to bounce ideas and to help you overcome your obstacles? We’re putting together a free slack or Facebook group. Please add your name and email, to let us know you’re interested.
I’M INTERESTED IN AN ENTREPRENEUR’S SUPPORT SYSTEM
Last but certainly not least, you won’t make it a day without grit. A buzzword made popular in 2016 by Angela Duckworth, simply put is the strength of character. A ‘gritty’ person has passion and an immense level of perseverance. Are you gritty? Here’s this little quiz to find out.
Grit is what holds the above 6 qualities together. Without passion and perseverance, it’s too easy to give up. There will be an obstacle every day. Obstacles you never imagined. You will run out of money, you will lose friends for no reason, but if you don’t have grit, you will quit too early.
This article might almost seem like discouragement, but honestly, we’re trying to make you aware ahead of time so that when you do decide that entrepreneurship is the path you want to take, you don’t feel like you’re losing your mind or that you’re alone. If it feels rough, you’re on course, and you’re in good company.
This video will talk about some of the common things we go through as entrepreneurs.
In fact, if this is the path you choose, here are a few youtube channels we like to listen to motivate us and keep us going. They all have a completely different perspective on entrepreneurship. It might not all be for you, so keep the meat, spit the bones:
Starting a business is going to be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. And unless you possess the basic qualities necessary for an entrepreneur, proceed with caution. As an entrepreneur, it’s too easy to quit. Every day you wake up to walk on your journey, there are a million reasons you should quit and maybe only one reason why you should keep going. Do you have what it takes to hold on to that one reason, whatever it is, every. single. day?
Do you want to be part of a support system?
I’M INTERESTED IN AN ENTREPRENEUR’S SUPPORT SYSTEM