What is the real path to becoming an entrepreneur? Better yet, is there an actual path to entrepreneurship? For instance, I graduated college with a B.S in Exercise & Movement Science but then worked in the Auto industry for nine years only to end up building and operating an eCommerce company called The Gentleman’s Box - which was centered around men’s fashion. I was taught nothing about business through college. I took no courses centered around marketing, business development, operation, or finance management, BUT I am now an entrepreneur engulfed in all facets of running a business. For many, their story starts the same.
The truth of the matter is there is no real outlined plan in becoming an entrepreneur or starting a business. Mainly because there are a few things you can’t learn or be taught in school. Sure, schooling is helpful. You may learn some business tips and tricks in a focused course curriculum or, perhaps, better understand finances, but that is a small fraction of the brainpower needed to run and operate a business from the ground up. Here are a few things you won’t learn in school that is important to keep in mind when entering the path to entrepreneurship.
Hard work – Starting a business is a grind, it requires a lot of hard work, it requires getting down and dirty and, sometimes, requires doing everything in the beginning. You cannot afford to cut corners. Hard work is not something you can be taught. You need to have the will and the drive to put forth every ounce of effort into your business. As it goes, BLOOD, SWEAT, and TEARS!
Getting Back Up – You are going to get beat up, thrown around, and driven into the ground… A LOT – it’s impossible to escape it. People will tell you when you are doing something wrong or when they disagree with you. Somebody will criticize you. So be ready to get back up, brush it off, learn from any mistakes, and do it again.
Accepting Failure – 20% of start-up businesses fail within the first year, and only 25% will make it to 15 years or more. There will be many times you will fail. Just remember the circle of success; Test. Fail. Improve. Repeat!
Sacrifice – There are no Sunday dinners with family. We live in a global competition, so if you are not spending as much time thinking how to adjust, pivot, stay innovative, and advance within your business, someone else will beat you to the punch.
Lifestyle – Becoming an entrepreneur is not a job or a career change. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle change, so you have to be ready to embrace this.
Now that I have scared you, there is one last thing to note: this path in life is not for everyone. However, it can be enriching, especially when everything you are doing is driven behind the passion. It is gratifying to see your idea or concept be brought to life. It is gratifying to provide a product or service that serves others while putting smiles on people’s faces. It is gratifying to build a culture and workspace that people want to be part of. Lastly, it is gratifying to see that everything you worked hard for and the sacrifices you made bring YOU happiness.