3 Hidden Truths You Need to Know About Starting A Business
Starting your own business sounds glamorous, right? The fancy cars, the freedom, the money, the ability to work from anywhere…
… all that sounds awesome, doesn't it?
But there's an aspect of entrepreneurship that nobody will tell you. There are hidden truths about starting a business that you need to know so you can make an educated decision about whether or not you're ready.
Want to listen? There's an audio version below
The other day, I was on a Zoom call with one of my subscribers named Michael. During our call, Michael asked me why I got into podcasting. I told him,
“I started podcasting because I wanted to get rich.”
Whoops! I don't know if I'm supposed to say that… After all, aren't we supposed to get into podcasting because we love the sound of our own voices? Or, because we love talking about ourselves?
Ha, no. Not those things either.
In all seriousness, I started podcasting because I heard John Lee Dumas tell Pat Flynn how much he was making with Entrepreneur On Fire. I told myself that if I could make even a fraction of what John was making, then I'd be successful.
Well, fast forward a few years, and I've not made a dime from my podcast. At least not directly. I don't have any sponsors, though I've turned down a few. The only products or services I promote are my own, so in that way, I've made a LOT of money from my podcast.
But this isn't about making money with a podcast. This is about the hidden truths of starting a business. And my experience with podcasting is a good parallel to my experience with entrepreneurship. And that leads me to the first lesson for today:
If you start a business to get rich, you will fail.
People can see right through an agenda driven by money. If you think about profit first, you will fail.
But ok, that's pretty obvious. That's no “hidden truth.” You're right. But these next three things are hidden truths about starting a business, and nobody seems to be talking about them.
3 Hidden Truths You Need to Know About Starting A Business
Hidden Truth #1: You Will Lose Friends
You can't steal second with your foot on first. You can't sail the ocean if you won't leave the shore. To become who you were meant to be, you will have to leave parts of your old life behind.
I remember walking around in my backyard one day, and a guy I used to work with drove by on his golf cart and didn't say a word. When we worked together at Dell, every time he'd see me out on my back porch, he'd stop and chat.
When you strike out on a new adventure, you'll have to leave people behind. Out of an entire village, Frodo only took three friends with him when he left to save the world.
Related: 3 New Friends You Need to Make Today
People from your old life often want to keep you in the box they've put you in. They won't understand the new you. And that's ok.
Hidden Truth #2: You Will Have to Leave Part of Your Old Self Behind
What got you where you are is all of the things you've done. Every decision you've made and every action you've taken has led you to this moment.
Though some people like to believe their victims, the odds are, they aren't. Once we accept that we're in control (and A: you are, and B: you will have to embrace that if you're going to start a business), you can accept that there are some things about yourself you'll have to give up.
You'll have to leave your bad habits behind and create new ones. You'll have to leave behind your shyness, your insecurities, and your doubts.
If you're going to be successful, you've got to leave your laziness at the door and pick up new skills and talents that will help you get where you're going.
Even if you're happy where you are and with who you've become, you'll have to ask yourself if where and who you are is where and who you want to be.
That's deep, isn't it? But it's tha hashtag truth.
I haven't talked with a single successful entrepreneur who didn't get that way without making significant changes in their lives and shedding the skin of their old self.
Hidden Truth #3: You Will Get Lonely
I left loneliness for last because it's one of the hardest parts of starting your own business.
Whether it's loneliness due to physical closeness to other people or loneliness due to mental isolation, entrepreneurship can be a lonely thing.
During the first six months after leaving Dell, I worked from home every day. I'd put in long hours all day and usually work until I could barely keep my head off of the keyboard.
When convicts in jail break the rules, they get placed in isolation. They're removed from the other prisoners and put into “solitary confinement” and aren't allowed to interact with anyone else.
Entrepreneurs put themselves into isolation voluntarily.
After six months, I started to lose it. I was going nuts. My only interactions were with my wife and with our cat. And that's when I started going to Starbucks once a week to work for a few hours.
The other type of loneliness is the mental isolation that accompanies starting a business.
There are a lot of pressures that go along with entrepreneurship. Society has given us a set of rules to live by (go to school, get a job), and when you live outside those guidelines, it's hard for people to understand.
When you're creating something new, that thing is like your baby. You put hours, weeks, MONTHS into something that people can tear to shreds in seconds. Entrepreneurs create things, and every day we're judged by the merits of our work. Even our spouses, regardless of how interested or involved they are, often struggle to relate to what we're going through.
If you're going to be successful in any endeavor, you must surround yourself with like-minded people who've been through what you're going through and who understand where you're going. That's why having a mastermind is so important.
I wouldn’t trade my life as an entrepreneur for anything, but it does get lonely – not all the time, but often enough to notice.
Entrepreneurship is incredibly hard. Striking out on your own or attempting something new is very difficult. Most people aren't prepared for sacrifices they'll have to make, and when they discover them, they decide their dream isn't worth it.
I do NOT want to discourage you from starting a business. In fact, I believe everyone should start a business at least once in their life, and that entrepreneurship will make you a better person.
Every NEW level of success you attempt to reach will require new and different sacrifices; you'll have to leave more things behind and make new friends to get where you want to go.
However, going into the situation unprepared is a mistake. You need to know what you're getting into so you can face the challenges head-on. And, if you need some support, guidance, encouragement, and accountability, I'm here to help.
Over to You: What other hidden truths need to be on this list? What challenges have YOU faced as an entrepreneur?