You might question the subject of this article if you spend 5 minutes on Facebook reading and seeing images and stories of entrepreneurs being so joyful, profitable, and living an easy life while they hang out on the beach in Hawaii, helicopter to a yacht in the Mediterranean, or frolicking in the surf with their sexy partner.
These two things don’t add up. So I want to do a quick reality check:
80% of entrepreneurs starting a business fail within the first 18 months
30% of entrepreneurs suffer from depression compared to 7% of general population
These are just the cold hard facts and don’t get me started about the quality of their primary relationships and the connection with their kids. It’s usually non-existent.
“Successful” entrepreneurs are notorious for not being there and having strained familial relationships. So what the hell is going on?
Clearly, there are many contributing factors but I want to zero in on a few. Entrepreneurs in today’s world have been sold a dream that is fundamentally not true.
Some of the traits that make it possible for you to take the leap to become an entrepreneur, things like independence, resourcefulness, willingness to risk… all-powerful and meaningful abilities for entrepreneurs…also have a dark side.
The truth is that for most of us, our greatest weakness is our greatest strength turned up too loud. This is where independence turns into loneliness, resourcefulness turns into making things harder than they need to be, willingness to risk becomes betting the farm.
So what should an informed and savvy entrepreneur do to increase their odds for success and happiness?
Let’s start with the truth.
I believe that the first truth that MUST be told is that entrepreneurship is NOT for everybody. The reality is that many entrepreneurs are simply not cut out to cope with the pressure, inconsistency, and self-motivation that is required to be successful.
The beliefs, traits, and characteristics that make an exceptional employee are not the same as the beliefs, traits, and characteristics that make an exceptional entrepreneur.
That may seem obvious and yet time and again I encounter a successful employee who believes that they are ready to tackle entrepreneurship, on their own. It’s a recipe for failure and disaster.
The failure rate would drop significantly if people who are not equipped for entrepreneurship simply did not start!
Now if you are cut out for entrepreneurship, it is vital to recognize that it is still not a walk in the park and your most powerful business skill is self-awareness, an objective view of yourself.
For most entrepreneurs, their greatest weakness is simply their greatest strength turned up too loud. Entrepreneurs leaning too heavily on their strengths create blindspots that harm their business.
So how does someone become self-aware, leverage their strengths and counterbalance their weaknesses? It can be easier than you think and yet still far too uncommon.
There are three fundamentals and all of them fall under the category of support. Creating, accepting, and giving support.
Three Fundamentals for Entrepreneurship Success
- Community: Entrepreneurship is lonely and we all need a tribe of people who get and understand what we are building, as well as the trials and tribulations of pursuing our dreams. In that community, there must be people who are ahead of you who are willing to support you and people behind you that you give a helping hand to. This is a vital component and it creates real relationships
- Mentorship & Training: In addition to peers, we also MUST have an expert, a confidant, someone who has gone before us, has created and accomplished what we are doing our best to build. A trusted advisor who can walk us around the landmines, pull us out of the quicksand and point us in the right direction when we are spinning and our internal compass is not reading correctly.
- Technology & Tools: What is fascinating about the abysmal entrepreneurial stats is that the truth is entrepreneurship has never been easier. Seriously, we have the tools, targeting, data, automation that 15 years ago did not exist and are entrepreneurial DREAMS!
We now have more data about our clients for free through facebook than the big advertising agencies had that cost them millions to acquire not long ago. Micro-niching, pay per click, automated webinars, retargeting, affiliate marketing, Joint Ventures, strategic partnerships.
Your customers are out there, they are declaring their problems on social media and you simply need to get on their radar and solve their problems. It is true that technology can be overwhelming, but again that is where strategic support can make all the difference in the world. This is an ideal topic to lean into your community or rely on the experience of your mentor or coach.
While creating support through community, mentors, and technology are no guarantees that your entrepreneurial venture will succeed, it does stack the odds in your favor in a way that makes doing it alone seem…frankly crazy!
So where do you look for the kind of community that is right for you? There are many of them, but a few examples include:
- Mastermind Talks: A super exclusive group created by Jayson Gaignard that I’m honored to be a part of.
- Entrepreneurs Organization: (also known as EO) they have chapters all over the world and a requirement of 1 Million USD in annual sales for each member.
- JVology – The Perfect Mix of People Fun & Profit: that is dedicated to creating joy and ease through entrepreneurial and joint venture training.
Takeaways for New Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship can be exciting and amazing, and you cannot do it alone. As technology accelerates, human connections are even more important!
For most of us leaping into entrepreneurship, it is going to get worse before it gets better. Do not let unrealistic expectations set you up for failure. Yes, it can be tough but there is a way through, obtain support before you need it and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Use the wisdom and failures of others to help you succeed with your business instead of thinking you are alone.