These realizations come to every entrepreneur within the first year of owning their own business.
That first year of entrepreneurship can be a doozy. You'll encounter things you never expected, some good and some bad, and you'll learn a ton about what it really takes to be an entrepreneur. There's only so much you can learn in business school and from others' personal anecdotes--some things you just have to experience for yourself.
In my years as a serial entrepreneur, I've worked with dozens of other entrepreneurs as they entered the world of business ownership for the first time. Generally, within the first year, they all come to certain realizations:
1. Nothing goes the way you think it will. You start out with great, bold plans, but by the end of your first year, you realize that all of your predictions were at least partially wrong. You have to be quick on your feet and change plans rapidly if you want to survive.
2. Your idea isn't as great as it seemed. Your business idea seemed flawless when you entered the scene, but within your first year, you'll start seeing all its flaws. This is normal, and a good thing. Learn to compensate for those flaws (or fix them) moving forward.
3. Not all revenue is worth grabbing. You're incredibly eager to get money however you can your first year, but one bad client or one botched deal will reset your expectations permanently.
4. There are no shortcuts. All it takes is one shortcut burning you to realize that shortcuts are almost never the answer. Shortcuts cost less time and money, but they always end up screwing you in the end.
5. Work and life blur into one. The concept of a work-life balance seems to disappear before your eyes, but at the same time, it all seems worth it. You're passionate about your work, and you find yourself thinking about it all the time, and at the same time, your employees and team members become like your family.
Knowing these realizations in advance (or reflecting on them after you've already been there) can help you become a better informed, more cognizant entrepreneur in your own business. Take these lessons to heart and never stop improving.
Jose Vasquez is a serial entrepreneur and tech enthusiast dedicated to helping startup technology companies get the direction and momentum they need to succeed. As the founder of Build. Brand. Blast., Jose has established a collective resource for tech entrepreneurs to consult when brainstorming, creating, launching or expanding a new business. Jose is also the founder and CEO of Quez Media Marketing, a marketing firm that combines technology and creativity to help new and growing companies get the results they need.