Sharing a post from our sister company, EM+PACT Bars today... Have you ever asked yourself if you are cut out to own and run your own business?
*** I wish someone had asked me ‚ÄúAre you suited for entrepreneurship?‚Äù Becoming an entrepreneur is like jumping off a mountain and trying to build an airplane on the way down. There‚Äôs no training manual. You learn through experiences. Through failures. Through doors shut in your face. Through failed ideas and ultimately, through your customers. No matter what books you read or experts you talk to, it‚Äôs impossible to prepare for. At the end of the day, it‚Äôs about grit. It‚Äôs about mental toughness. It‚Äôs about embracing the grind and digging in. Are you considering walking away from your career to become an entrepreneur? It‚Äôs a rewarding profession. Fun, exciting, it‚Äôs an incredible feeling to create a product or a company from scratch and see it grow and can be akin to parenthood. Except it‚Äôs more expensive and unpredictable, less instinctual and sometimes messier than changing diapers. When I say it‚Äôs not for everyone, I‚Äôm candidly wondering nearly every day whether I‚Äôm cut out for it. The truth is, it‚Äôs not for everyone. It‚Äôs scary, stressful, full of risks, and expensive. Above all else, it‚Äôs an emotional rollercoaster. I get asked all of the time how I walked away from a lucrative, stable career as a big-firm lawyer and put everything on the line. It wasn‚Äôt an easy decision or one I took lightly. But it was the right choice for me because I know what I want and I know the value in what I am learning. Entrepreneurship is not what I expected it would be and I‚Äôve realized there are a few things I wish I‚Äôd known before making the transition, so I‚Äôm going to share them with you. (1) Hustle Like Nobody‚Äôs Business
I mean, you have to be ready to work harder than you have ever worked. Including nights and weekends and vacations. You can never really clock out and turn off the work part of your life. You‚Äôre on at all hours and in the beginning, it‚Äôs all hands on deck all the time. A friend once told me being an entrepreneur is great because it‚Äôs eighteen hours a day, but you get to choose which eighteen. He was so right. It‚Äôs great to have control over your schedule, but I caution you not to take the plunge if you‚Äôre looking for a ‚Äúlifestyle‚Äù profession. Because you‚Äôll work harder as an entrepreneur than you‚Äôve ever worked. The difference is that it doesn‚Äôt feel like work. Don‚Äôt get me wrong, the stress and financial predicaments are real. But, I can honestly say I have never woken up lamenting that I had to work on our company. Maybe that‚Äôs because we have a mission of empowering women I wholeheartedly believe in. Maybe it‚Äôs because I equate success with enabling more women to become empowered. Maybe it‚Äôs because I‚Äôm type A and it‚Äôs all I know. It‚Äôs pretty awesome to create something, so if you aren‚Äôt having fun doing it‚Äîthen find something else to do because it‚Äôs not worth the stress and expense! (2) Think Big; Implement Small
From big-time pitches and mission statements to handing out one protein bar at a time, you have to be a task rabbit as well as a visionary. Being an entrepreneur requires a mix of long-term strategic thinking and short-term task implementation. You‚Äôve got to be able to see the big picture and know what you are working toward. This requires large-scale thinking and development of your goals. But it doesn‚Äôt stop there. Most startups are nimble in the beginning, so you‚Äôll need to be the one to implement the tasks. If you are someone who only wants to be the big picture thinker, you won‚Äôt get very far or you‚Äôll burn through cash too fast from hiring people to implement. On the other hand, if you are someone who works solely off a task list and struggles thinking big picture, you might get lost in the shuffle of the daily grind. There‚Äôs simply too much to do and it‚Äôs impossible to get all of it done. You have to prioritize and spend time on the action items that will help you achieve the goals you‚Äôve set. It‚Äôs been my experience that people are typically one way or the other. It‚Äôs tough to find both, but it‚Äôs necessary with a start-up. (3) Dole Out a Lot of Cash and Then Some More Cash
You‚Äôre going to need capital, so you‚Äôll either need investors, loans, or a large expendable savings account. The reality is, it‚Äôs going to take more money than you think it will. Yes, you can get a loan, but it probably won‚Äôt be large enough if you‚Äôre starting out since you‚Äôll have a new company with no credit or track record. Figuring out a budget can be impossible when you‚Äôre just getting started because you have no idea how much things will cost or when, if, and what you will get paid. If you don‚Äôt go through this financial exercise, your startup will become a black hole and you‚Äôll wake up one day with no money in your account and all credit cards maxed. Adhere to the lean startup and go in informed. When you estimate how much you will think it will cost to launch a company or a product, double it. Maybe triple it. Your capital needs will vary depending on your industry, on whether or not you want to build a brand, and on a variety of other factors, but talking to experts in your field about their startup costs can give you a better idea of what you will need. There‚Äôs never enough money and in the first couple of years, cash flow is tough so it‚Äôs wise to have access to some reserve capital for a variety of reasons: growing too fast, having to scale up, seasonality of business and keeping a rainy-day fund. It‚Äôs also wise to have a ‚Äúsunny day fund,‚Äù so if Taylor Swift calls and wants to promote your product you‚Äôll be able to make it happen. (4) It‚Äôs All About Relationships
I can‚Äôt emphasize enough the value of a good network. You‚Äôve got to put in the work and build out your network. I‚Äôm not talking about just going to conferences or events. You need to put in the legwork, help people where you can and develop strong personal relationships. You have to give without want. As a good friend says, good will is like a boomerang‚Ä¶it will come back at you. But the first step is throwing it out there. My personal opinion is you‚Äôll have much more of a battle if you are truly introverted and have a hard time developing relationships. That said, plenty of people that have been labeled, right or wrong, as introverts, run some of the largest companies in the world, but it seems like most of the people I meet who are largely successful are outgoing, friendly and have a vast network. (5) You Can‚Äôt Survive Without Tough Skin and Mental Fortitude
Being an entrepreneur will test you in ways you‚Äôve never been tested, and you‚Äôve got to have tough enough skin to survive. Things will go wrong and people will try to pull you down. Some people do not respond well to challenges and obstacles. I have friends who have turned to alcohol and drugs¬†and others who are at the top¬†but are incredibly depressed given the stresses and responsibilities that come with owning a business and trying to grow it. Stress is unavoidable. You have to be able handle it. That doesn‚Äôt mean I‚Äôve mastered this. I‚Äôve had moments where I had to walk out of the office to keep my composure and to avoid hyperventilating. There‚Äôs a lot at stake, both financially and professionally. And it‚Äôs an emotional rollercoaster. You‚Äôve got to be able to roll with the punches, and not everyone is built for it. It‚Äôs probably the ‚Äúrecovering‚Äù lawyer in me, or my personality type, but I like to prepare, so I‚Äôll know what to expect. Every business and situation is unique. But if you‚Äôre more aware of what it takes at the onset, you‚Äôll be better prepared, and as a result, more successful. Keep digging, ladies.