We live in a world where entrepreneurship is constantly glamorized. We see the lives of those fearless risk-takers and admire their drive to run off virtually no sleep in pursuit of their passion. It makes us feel alive seeing people who truly went for it. It inspires us and it motivates us beyond belief.
However, what we fail to see is their entire story. We compare ourselves to their hustle, yet we have no idea how they truly got there. This can cause us to develop expectations of what being an entrepreneur is which can be deceiving.
We fail to understand that there are countless paths to becoming an entrepreneur. While one person might forgo college to start a business, another could work decades in a business setting mastering their craft. You have to choose which path is best for you based on your own skills & passions.
Along my own path, I’ve learned that it’s great to be inspired, but to avoid comparing myself to successful entrepreneurs before I know their full story.
Mastering a plan of attack against these 3 key uncertainties will help you push forward through the unknown:
1. When it’s time to go all in
More and more people are pursuing a side hustle outside of their 9-to-5. With the internet, we have the power to connect with people from almost anywhere. This gives us a huge opportunity to put ourselves out there with potential customers.
Today, marketing is more about connecting with customers and creating an awareness of our company online. This presents massive opportunity for us to tell our story, but can also make us feel like we’re never truly doing enough.
The internet is still very undefined and uncertain. This makes it so that the timing on when to go all in on our business is also uncertain. When we feel like we’re not doing enough, this can quickly lead to depression. According to Dr. Michael Freeman, a clinical professor at University of California, San Francisco, one in three entrepreneurs lives with depression. If you’re experiencing depression, seeking help from a psychologist can help.
Addressing these anxieties is crucial to your well-being. Since there’s usually no linear path towards entrepreneurship, it can be harder to gauge whether or not you’re on the right one. It also pays to speak with role models who are where you’d like to be one day. They might tell you that they actually regret going all in when they did & that gradually building your side hustle is the right move.
While you can’t always take advice word for word, it can bring some clarity to the timing on your business. If you still have a great deal of uncertainty yourself, come up with a plan of attack. After all, uncertainty doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You can look at it as a world of possibilities. Coming up with a planned regimen will help you to manage uncertainty to your advantage.
“My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long university education that I never had — every day I’m learning something new.” – Richard Branson
2. Fear of not working hard enough
When your mind is constantly telling you that you’re not doing enough, it can become exhausting. This, in turn, actually takes you further away from your dreams. This is why it’s vital to create a plan amidst the unknown outcomes that you face.
If you’re just getting started on your side hustle and have no idea where it will take you, creating a simple schedule can protect your mental well-being. Whether you decide to spend 5 – 10 hours a week on your side hustle or you know it’s time to go all in, it pays to set guidelines. Otherwise, worry creeps in where it doesn’t belong.
Another key business strategy is to only focus on 1 or 2 main things. Building a business involves wearing many hats. If you can get clear on which ones are the most essential in your current phase, you will have more energy to keep moving forward. This will make it easier to scale your business in the long run. Whether this takes a couple months or a couple years, having a systematic resolution during each phase will help you to succeed.
3. Fear of wasting time
We’ve all heard the statistics that over half of all businesses fail within the first year. Taking it further, you might be wondering if your side hustle is even worth all the work you put in. Dealing with all these worries can become debilitating. While countless articles tell you to go for your dreams, those dreams still need to pay off!
Whether your dreams allow you to have financial freedom or get you closer to your dream job, it’s important to get clear on how the steps you take today will benefit you tomorrow. If you feel like you could be wasting time, try honing in on your focus. Instead of trying to take over the world, decide to become a master in one thing at a time.
“If one is master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things.” – Vincent Van Gogh
Taking it a step further, write down your dream life in a one-page summary. If the work that you’re putting in now could lead to that dream, then the next step is to decide whether or not it’s scalable. For instance, if you’re writing articles, decide to put out content for a certain number of months.
After a certain time period of sticking to this goal, you can check back in and reevaluate your current plan. But, remember good things take time. Be realistic on how you gauge the worthiness of your strategy. For example, if you want to get paid to write, but haven’t written many articles, consider building out your library of content first.
The skills you’re mastering now might help you perform better in your day job or ensure your company successfully executes on offerings in the future. It all begins with deciding to avoid comparing yourself to the glitzy version of entrepreneurship that only exposes a portion of the truth. Instead, decide to master what you can control – your mindset & the work that you put in.