Things You'll Learn as an Entrepreneur

I've officially been an entrepreneur for about 3 months now. I know, when is my autobiography coming out!?! (Kidding).

I may be pretty green but I've learned some hard lessons really fast that I might have been aware of before but have really hit home recently.

  1. Everyone has an opinion.

We all know this but as someone trying to build a business and a new life, you're particularly vulnerable. Many times you're asking for advice and sometimes you're pointedly saying you don't. It can be revealing who feels success is inevitable and who doesn't. 

You're also trying to get so many things running, started, and tested that you never have enough time and yet it seems you'll regularly hear people telling you what you should be working on.

The really challenging part of this is that it won't just come from the jerk at the drug store, it will come from family members, mentors, and friends. People you trust and love. 

As much as you want to assure them you'll be successful, know that it's a lost cause. Just keep working on proving it. 

2. You'll see a different side of some people.

Not to be a Debbie Downer but you'll be surprised at how some people offer support, advice, or input. I think sometimes seeing you take a risk and starting your own project can seem glamorous, gluttonous, or precarious and that brings out jealousy or judgment. A small percentage for sure, but it's there. Don't get defensive. Get to work.

3. Liking your partner isn't the most important thing in a partnership.

Not that I don't really like my partner but trust me on this one. Don't go into business with your best friend because they're you're best friend. The best thing you can do to set yourself up for success is to find someone who you trust, who knows their strengths and your weaknesses (and vice versa), and someone who you admire.

My partner and I have such different strengths that certain things have been effortless, like who takes the lead on what tasks, who has the final say in what area, and even who does what.

A partnership agreement that outlines responsibilities is helpful but finding someone who excels where you don't and who sees the same in you is invaluable. 

4. You might not be happier.

Ok, this is a misleading headline (I'm in marketing!) because you might not be happier but you should be. Initially, I found myself stressed about the responsibility, money, and future before eventually realizing that I had gone from jobs that weren't a good fit to one that was a perfect fit. Yet I was still focusing on the negative. This is so cliche but you actually need to consciously enjoy it because the work will be overwhelming, never-ending, and sometimes thankless. And did I forget to mention unpredictable and unstable?

But when you start a business you're not just building a new career, you're building a new life and that's pretty fantastic.

5. Your family might suffer in silence.

Again, a dramatic headline but I watch a lot of Dateline so I know how to get your attention. If your family is like mine, they support my ambitions, adventures, and projects but with no work hours I can end up running around all day, all week, and all month. I quickly realized I needed to schedule my life and non-work time. If I was leaving my family a bit neglected, I doubt they would say anything. Which is ironic since building my own business means I can make my own hours and balance my life better so that should be the standard I set in the beginning not when I reach some invisible destination.

Lindsay O'DonnellComment