OK, so you started your own business because you heard on MTV it leads you to more bling and bigger rims. And your crib(s) get decked out in fur and hot tubs. Oh yeah, you will magically get people to do all the mundane boring work for you. Please allow me to shatter the rosy illusions.
You have to do things you might not want to
It was our first year in operation for The Network Hub and I was cleaning the washroom when a fellow entrepreneur walked by and balked, “Minna you are the boss. Why are you cleaning the toilet?” and all I could say was, “It had to be done.” There are a lot of people who would rather spend time on doing things they like and have some one else deal with the things they do not want to do – things that they deem to be beneath them.
You have to execute, you can’t hide behind the computer
“But I’m an idea person” is the usual excuse. I want to say there are a lot of idea people but a lack of people who can execute the idea. This might mean – for a lot of people – getting out of the office and finding customers. Or in my case, making sure the office is beautiful and clean so people want to be here. I am not talking about impossible specialized tasks which you should leave to the experts, I’m talking about doing things that are necessary for your business.
You work really long hours for little pay
The hours you have to put in are grueling but you have to bear it out and that’s why, if you are in it for the money, sorry to tell you, there isn’t that much – if any – at the beginning. This also means you have to spend most of your hours dealing with things you might not like such as accounting, bookkeeping, operations, management but you have to do what you hate in order to succeed in the startup world.
When you feel so tired after long hours of work that you want to throw up, you have to shake it off and get back to it. There is no jacuzzi or hot tub to sit back in. In fact there isn’t anyone or anything but you and your partners to do whatever it takes to see the business through. Once your ideas have materialized, it is a beautiful thing.
Today we have multiple companies in our space; entrepreneurs all around us who are going through the same struggle and every one supports each other. We built our own peer-to-peer support entrepreneur/freelancers/mobile professional community that allows each of us to take our companies to the next level.
Sitting back, I am in awe of what my partners and I have built with our sweat and tears but it was all worth it. Believe me, the struggle is not over. We are going through growth and that in itself presents different challenges but with the persistence and lessons we learned starting our business, we will make it through the next phase of business.