Author Murray Newlands is the founder of Influence People, a marketing agency helping entrepreneurs from around the globe to succeed online.
No matter how much prepping, planning and meeting with mentors you do, there are some common nasty surprises in store for many entrepreneurs. It's all part of the learning experience, but that doesn't make it any easier. A lot of people think you plan for the worst and hope for the best, but is that really the case? Or are you giving your support network, skills and background more credit than you should?
Being an entrepreneur means you're often not going to have the same things in common with your family and friends that you used to. You can't join in when they're complaining about their boss at Friday happy hour or comparing how much paid time off they get. While there are always exceptions, don't assume that you'll be immune from these basic, unwelcome surprises. Instead, don't let them hurt your feelings, figure out a way to grow from them and try to minimize the fallout:
- Everyone assumes you're poor, lazy or going to fail.
A lot of entrepreneurs get zero respect until or unless they obviously succeed. (Even though it's common for it to take several years before your company even turns a profit, let alone is clearly successful.) From snide comments to genuine offers to always pick up your tab from friends who think you're struggling for cash, get used to it. It might be a hit to your ego, but it may be better for people to assume you're less successful than you are -- it may give you an advantage even if you are perceived as an underdog.
- Your friends aren't whipping out their wallets
If you're providing goods or services, it only makes sense that some entrepreneurs believe that family and friends will be their first customers. However, it's really easy to offer up "support" on Facebook, or positive comments when you meet for lunch. It's another thing entirely to actually buy your eco-friendly clothing, or book a class at your new yoga studio. Don't count on people you know to be your first paying customers. They're likely to disappoint.
- Those quarterly taxes are no joke.
Entrepreneurs should be paying quarterly taxes, and not just because it makes things sting a little less at the end of the year. The IRS might hit you with a penalty if you don't keep up with these because they're not making as much interest off your taxes as they could be. This is when a CPA is a lifesaver. (Entrepreneur
has some tips on choosing the right one.) These professionals keep you on track year-round, estimate quarterly taxes for you and keep you from facing a whopper of an annual tax bill come April.
- Where did all the good job candidates go?
When it comes time to hire your first employees, you'll quickly see the benefit of having an outsourced HR company do the dirty work for you. You'd think it would be an employer's market, with more people than ever getting college degrees, hustling, learning more skills and the fact that we are in a still-recovery economy. Unfortunately it's not. Finding high-quality employees will always be a struggle, and good interviewers can make you fall in love with them even when they're actually a horrible fit.
- You'll feel more alone, over-worked and frustrated than you can imagine.
It's not simple being an entrepreneur, and you'll have much less support, (and less emotional and physical safety nets), than you ever did as a bona fide employee of someone else. Sometimes you'll work 100 hours per week, have to work on holidays and you'll feel like nobody understands you. That's entirely normal. You can battle these feelings by networking with other entrepreneurs, with these tips from CIO
, by finding a mentor and by having a set plan so that rest days -- even vacations -- are built into your schedule.
Most importantly, don't give up when it gets really tough. This is your fight or flight mode, so which is it going to be?