The road to entrepreneurial success can be a long and daunting one. In this article I’m going to share with you four challenges you’re likely to face so that you can be prepared for them, and can even embrace them, if they show their heads during your journey.
Challenge: Down in the Doldrums
According to several studies, entrepreneurs are more prone to depression and anxiety than the average company employee.
Rob Emrich in response to a Brad Feld blog post wrote: “I think there is correlation between the type of people who become entrepreneurs and those prone to depression. I also think most entrepreneurs know that the daily ups and downs and constant uncertainty can easily cause and reinforce a tendency toward depression.”
When you ask most seasoned entrepreneurs how to deal with this the response is almost always the same, “make sure you surround yourself with supportive people that will be there for you and can help you get to where you want to go.”
Another challenge entrepreneurs face is overestimating their initial success. You might read an article about another entrepreneur and believe that just because they sold their company in 1 year and made millions that you can do the same. When I first started FreshGigs.ca I overestimated what our sales would be in the initial months. Only after I spoke with a mentor at that had worked in the same industry did I get a realistic view of how to think about our sales growth.
One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make in their early days is trying to be all things to all people. They attempt to sell their product or service to too wide of a market. When you’re building your business, especially early on, it’s important that your marketing is grounded in a strong foundation with a clear focus on who your ideal clients are; and that you establish and work towards dominating that marketplace before moving on to others.
Entrepreneurs also face another challenge in this area. They focus on the wrong things. They spend too much time building their product without validating that the marketplace wants, needs and will actually pay for it.
Challenge: Passion and Purpose
Many entrepreneurs choose an oxymoronic approach to business. They decide to start their own company because they want unlimited income potential, to be their own boss and holder of their own destiny. Yet as they work on building their business they realize they lack passion for what they’re doing. If you’re going to be spending 10+ hours a day building your business, writing articles, doing research, and attending trade shows in the industry you’ve chosen, you’d be well served to ensure it’s one that you’re passionate about.
If you don’t enjoy the work you’re doing you’ll find it hard to get up off the ground the first time you get knocked down. And all entrepreneurs get knocked down at one time or another. The more passion and purpose you have for your business, the more motivated and energized you’ll be to work on it.
I can’t think of one entrepreneur that has been immune to these challenges. Know that you know to expect them you’ll be ready to deal with them and well positioned to stay on track and keep growing your business.
Michael Zipursky is a direct marketing consultant, author and founder of Business Consulting Buzz and FreshGigs.ca. His work has been featured in FOX Business, Marketing Magazine, KISSmetrics, Unbounce, Financial Times and HR Executive.