Entrepreneurship is not easy. Entrepreneurs face many challenges when starting a business. Once established, entrepreneurs must learn how to survive and then thrive in a competitive marketplace.
The late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs once said, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance…”
Here’s a look at five of the toughest challenges every entrepreneur will face; and how to overcome them.
1. Decision fatigue
Big decisions are a source of stress and entrepreneurs are tasked to make a number of decisions (large and small) every day. The result is decision fatigue. Author and entrepreneur James Clear writes, “If you have a particularly decision-heavy day at work, then you come home feeling drained. You might want to go to the gym and workout, but your brain would rather default to the easy decision: sit on the couch. That’s decision fatigue.”
It is during this time that you really need to make a genuine attempt to deconstruct and simplify the problems in front of you. Eliminate the unnecessary decisions that plague your day, create a schedule and delegate decision-making to others on your team.
2. Mental health
As I mentioned starting and running a business can be really stressful. This kind of extreme pressure puts entrepreneurs at a greater risk of developing mental health problems such as anxiety or depression. Mental health problems may be related to excessive stress due to a particular situation or series of events.
A 2015 research study suggest that 30% of entrepreneurs report a lifetime history of depression. Moreover, the social isolation that often accompanies long work hours, and financial instability, can lead to substance abuse and addiction. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Business Venturing, found that habitual entrepreneurs display symptoms of behavioral addictions, such as obsessive thoughts, gambling, alcoholism, withdrawal-engagement cycles, and negative emotional outcomes.
It’s important to understand the risks and proactively work to combat them. Entrepreneurship can be lonely, so connect with local entrepreneur meet-ups, join a coworking space, or find a mentor early on. Pace yourself, listen to your body, and reach out to your support system regularly.
3. Finding the right hire s
The right recruit can contribute to your company success and the wrong hire can become a nightmare. Hiring new employees that are the right fit is a stressful undertaking. As you take on the role of a recruiter, especially in the early stages of business, it’s important to outline a hiring strategy. Be specific about the qualifications for each role, ask the right questions and don’t hire in a bubble. Involve other people as well, especially team members who would potentially work closely with the new hire.
4. Questioning self worth
Startups are usually considered successful if they perform well financially. Consequently, entrepreneurs tend to attach their self worth to their net worth. When entrepreneurs first begin their business, they have high expectations. However, profitability is often elusive … especially in the early years.
Paypal co-founder and investor Peter Thiel has suggested, “that a low CEO salary was a good indicator of start-up success. ‘The lower the CEO salary, the more likely it is to succeed,’ he said.” This is hard to stomach for aspiring entrepreneurs who aim to live a rock star lifestyle, without going through the process that accompanies it. This reality can drag entrepreneurs down.
Couple low earnings with people who might not take your work seriously, and the highs and lows and you have a perfect storm. Many successful entrepreneurs create an identity and life outside of business. As you build your business incorporate your hobbies, spend time with friends and family, and do things that interest you.
5. Managing daily operations
Time management can be tough when you have to wear a lot of hats. Many of us are naturally inclined to work in a structured environment. This means we benefit from constructive guidance to move in the right direction. Entrepreneurs can sometimes feel dejected when that structure is removed.
In such a situation, be vigilant when managing tasks. Organizing your work can help will this. You can start by making a daily and weekly list of all the work that needs to be done. Set deadlines that are attainable. This approach will help you set some boundaries and ward off distraction.
Entrepreneurship comes with a host of challenges. However, when you learn to overcome them, it is a rewarding experience. The feeling of starting a business from scratch is unparalleled. It is natural to get overwhelmed. However, those who stand firm in the face of it all will come out the other end wiser, smarter and more successful in the long run.
Momina Sohail works as a Communications Manager at EZOfficeInventory, an asset tracking software. She is interested in the way technology interacts with contemporary business culture, enabling businesses to focus on core efficiencies. Connect with @OfficeInventory on Twitter.
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