Entrepreneur struggles cannot be bypassed. Every entrepreneur must face them.
Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t as easy as some people think. Some motivated entrepreneurs are fooled into thinking coming up with an idea and throwing some money at it is enough to succeed. Although you do need an innovative idea and money, there are many other factors to consider.
Success looks different for every new business owner and while no two paths are the same, there are some common entrepreneur struggles that every entrepreneur will face when they’re just starting out. Some of these hurdles are expected, but others might surprise you.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest entrepreneur struggles you’ll face as an entrepreneur in the beginning and tips for tackling them with grace.
Being a Boss is Hard Work
Many entrepreneurs are fooled into thinking that being your own boss means you get a cushy position at the top. While this might happen eventually, it takes a lot of hard work to get there.
Being your own boss also comes with its own set of struggles.
All of the pressure to succeed, responsibilities, and stress falls squarely on your shoulders. Many new business owners find themselves working long hours to save money on payroll. You may even become obsessed with working to guarantee your business succeeds.
It’s difficult to set boundaries as an entrepreneur and you’re never really “off the clock”.
When your livelihood depends on your success, you’ll experience quite a bit of pressure and stress. Customer service becomes crucial — without happy customers, your business will likely fail.
There’s also no guarantee of steady income. Having a financial cushion going into business ownership is a good idea to compensate for slow times and unexpected expenses.
If you’ve worked for someone else all your life, you may be accustomed to someone else swooping in and cleaning up the mess. Now that someone is you!
One way to help combat this stress is by hiring reliable people who are just as passionate as you about your business and idea. This helps take some of the pressure off of you and lets you focus your attention elsewhere.
Just remember, it’s hard to find reliable employees that care about your business as much as you do.
People say you need money to make money. Starting a new business means having enough financial backing to get things off the ground, as well as having an “emergency fund” to fall back on if things go south.
Once your business is established, you’ll rely on regular customer payments and other revenue as your steady stream of income. But what happens when that stream isn’t so steady?
Your income pays for things like overhead, operational costs, inventory, and advertising. When customers can’t pay on time (or you don’t have any customers), you need to think on your feet to make sure the bills are paid.
One way to do this is by creating automated payments for certain clients. This means guaranteed revenue regardless of foot traffic.
If your business generates bills for customers, try creating a detailed payment schedule or require payment upfront. Most customers have no problem paying you before they receive the product or service — just make sure you deliver to salvage your reputation.
In the event, customers don’t pay, put a hold on their accounts. This may seem harsh but it’s necessary to make sure you don’t fall behind financially.
A few late payments for entrepreneurs could be the difference between paying your mortgage or having your lights turned off due to a late electric bill.
Blood, Sweat, and Tears
Entrepreneurs can’t just throw money at the problem. While some things can be addressed by investing more money or hiring more people, there are other tasks that need your undivided attention.
This is especially true when you don’t have a lot of money just starting out. Founder of letting agent comparison site Rentround, Raj Dosanjh explains:
“One way new business owners save money is by doing a lot of the work themselves. After all, you’re “free” labour. But that also means you’ll be performing all sorts of jobs you never planned on doing.
Successful business owners aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and work alongside their employees.
You may only have a handful of employees to start. Everyone needs to share the workload and that means doing jobs they’re not accustomed to — and that includes you!
You might find yourself stocking shelves, processing payroll, or working the register if your business is a retail establishment. Some business owners find this frustrating or even below them. Don’t let your pride get the best of you.”
There are actually benefits to being so involved in the daily operations of your business. You get to work the front lines and see, first hand, how things operate. You can identify customer pain points and address them before they turn into major issues.
This could actually save you money and aggravation in the long run.
The good news is, as your business starts to grow and make money, you can hire other people to perform these tasks. But don’t become so far removed from the daily grind of your business that you lose sight of why you started or the needs of your employees.
Another benefit to being so hands-on in the beginning is that you can lead by example. Working alongside your employees means showing them exactly how you want things done. That means less confusion and a more streamlined process that aligns with your values and work ethic.
Check Your Ego at the Door
Are you strong-willed, opinionated, and stubborn? While this might be fine in your personal life, it won’t work as a business owner. You need to be humble and able to take constructive criticism. Remember that your customers are your lifeline – without them, you will fail.
As the founder of Rent Round, Raj Dosanjh explains:
“Customer service should be at the top of your list of priorities. Especially in a world where one bad online review could do irreversible damage to your reputation and your bottom line.
Unfortunately, one bad review for a small business just starting out is much more damaging than even a dozen bad reviews for a larger company. Big businesses can burden several bad reviews because they’re often overshadowed by countless positives. They also have more resources for combating them.
One of your best lines of defence against bad online reviews is a quick, professional response. Don’t let negative reviews linger online without addressing them. And be careful how you respond.”
Don’t get overly defensive or try to make excuses for what went wrong. Instead, offer a sincere apology with a coupon or other offer to make it right. Even if you don’t win over that unhappy customer, other potential customers will see how you handled things in a positive and professional manner and be more inclined to give you a chance.
You, on the other hand, as an entrepreneur just starting out, rely heavily on positive reviews from customers, as well as recommendations and referrals.
One of the entrepreneur struggles associated with bad customer reviews is how it makes you feel. While it’s important to separate your emotions from your business in many respects, negative feedback can feel like a personal attack. It’s not!
Instead of viewing negativity as a bad thing, use it as inspiration to improve and make things better. What things are customers complaining about? How can you improve the customer journey?
As an entrepreneur, you won’t get everything right from the onset, and customer feedback is one of the best sources for making things better.
It’s Lonely at the Top
Your business is your baby. You’ve likely poured your heart, soul, and bank account into it. One struggle as an entrepreneur is realizing that not everyone feels the same way as you.
You might find a handful of employees that care enough about their jobs to give 100% every day. But you’ll also encounter a lot more than view their role in your company as just a job. This can be both disheartening and frustrating.
Similar to negative customer feedback, don’t take this personally. It has nothing to do with you. Instead of expecting your employees to bend over backwards for you, highlight their strengths, and capitalize on those. Don’t try to change them but instead, utilize their unique skills and talents.
In addition to employees, third-party suppliers and vendors may also put your needs last, which can be both frustrating and costly. In many ways, you’re just another number to them. They don’t feel your same sense of urgency.
If you notice one particular vendor is always behind, account for that when you place your order. Or, find a new vendor!
In business, you should always have a plan B to reduce stress and create consistency.
Remember how we said it’s lonely at the top? Part of being a successful entrepreneur is having a thick skin. It’s not as glamorous as most people think and takes years to get to a position of making stress-free, passive income — for some business owners, that never happens.
You need to stay strong mentally — there’s no time for hurt feelings in business.
It’s sometimes difficult to draw a line between having a thick skin and not caring. You still need to be passionate about your business and its success, but without taking things personally or being blinded by negativity.
This is sometimes easier said than done. After all, you’ve invested money, time, and hope into your business. Surrounding yourself with encouraging, like-minded professionals can help keep you grounded.
Remember that the first few years of any new endeavour are always the hardest. Your hard work will pay off in the end.
Check your emotions at the door and focus on tangible decisions and benchmark gains. Take one day at a time and before you know it, you’ll be a great success!
These six entrepreneur struggles can be tough to handle but they’re not impossible to overcome! With the right mindset, you can achieve anything.
Take negative feedback in stride and learn from it. Always have a backup plan and expect the unexpected. As hard as it is to forge on, it’ll be harder to live with yourself if you give up.
The hardest times come with the sweetest reward.