The challenges of Entrepreneurship and how to stay your course

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The definition of an entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so. Although this is true, I would call this the iceberg definition.

What I mean by that is that, like an iceberg, people only see what happens on the surface, while the majority of being an entrepreneur is about what happens underneath.

A few years back, I was bitten by the entrepreneurship bug and decided to start my own company. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made; but looking back, I wish that someone had better prepared me for the personal journey that happens under the surface that no one witnesses.

Conquering the ‘Trough of Sorrow’

The trough of sorrow is a pretty common term in the tech startup world but it’s also something entrepreneurs and solopreneurs go through – sometimes categorized as Entrepreneurial Depression.

Sidenote: Once you finish, read how 4 freelancers built recurring revenue models that changed their business. You'll love it.

It’s the period of time after the adrenaline of starting a new business has worn off and you encounter problems and begin to question your entrepreneurial ability. No matter how good the idea is or how prepared you are, you’ll run into this as an entrepreneur.

As a person who was on the outside of entrepreneurship looking in, I thought that a problem would arise and I would work to fix it. Now that I’ve lived the life of an entrepreneur, I can say that that is not exactly the case.

Sometimes, you don’t even know what the problem is and therefore can’t plan your next move. It feels like someone has assigned you an equation to solve but hasn’t provided enough givens to solve it.

When you don’t know the next move, it’s hard to find the motivation you need to continue, and thus you sink deeper into the trough of sorrow. So what do you do to get out?

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It really differs from person to person.  For me, I did research on successful founders. I read their books, listened to their stories on different podcasts and found that almost all of them went through something similar and more than once before reaching success.

None of them gave specific ways out because again, everyone’s problems are going to be different but just hearing that I wasn’t alone helped get the wheels going again.

Once I realized that everyone goes through these issues, I started to re-examine the problem in front of me.  Although I was missing key pieces I needed to solve the problem, I started devising different plans of approach.

If I could approach the problem in several different ways, I could use the process of elimination to at least see what didn’t work, and hopefully pave a clearer path to finding something that did.

Most importantly, this gave me a plan and sparked my motivation.

With my motivation revitalized, I was able to start chipping away at the problem at hand. Eventually, after many attempts at discovering the full equation, I had a breakthrough and was able to build off that, and finally found what I was missing.

None of that would have happened if I didn’t take the time to step back and see that other people were going through the same thing. Just hearing their stories, was the small win I needed to get back on track.

Telling your friends and family about your business

I’ve heard a lot of different views regarding telling friends and family about your decision to get into entrepreneurship and furthermore, the specific business venture you’re pursuing.

Some people say to tell everyone right when you have an idea because then you are more likely to actually follow through with your plan. The more people that know, the more likely you’ll get from idea to product.

I’ve also heard the complete opposite of that, where people say not to tell anyone about a new venture until you’ve made serious headway on it. They say that if you tell people and they don’t take to it the way you were hoping, and then it could discourage you from moving forward.

Personally, I think you want to be somewhere in the middle of these two scenarios.

When I first had my idea, I did a lot of research on my own to see if it was even something worth pursuing. Once I realized it was, I told a few choice experienced or entrepreneurial minds about it and asked for their honest feedback.

I did this because no matter how thorough you are in terms of research, talking it out with someone knowledgeable will always reveal something you may not have thought of.

After speaking with them and coming to the conclusion that I was going to do this, that was when I finally decided to tell everyone and anyone. I do believe that if more people know your plan, then they will continuously ask you about it which will force you to continue to work on it, even when things get tough.

There is no right or wrong way of telling people about your new business venture. You just have to know yourself and follow the strategy that will most benefit you.

Over time, I’ve learned that every idea was crazy and difficult to understand before it became a massive success and household name. These days most ideas have to start off crazy because otherwise they’re probably already taken by someone else.

Stay your course

Now that you’ve gotten this far, you’ve probably noticed the trend.

Entrepreneurship is about finding the right path for you and following it to success. No one can or will solve the issues at hand except for you. You will reach points where your motivation will be tested.

At those times, you may find that some time away can help clear your head and allow you to see something you may have missed before. Or you may be one of those people who need to sit at a desk and look at a screen until something clicks in your head.

The bottom line is that you just have to know yourself and what works best for you. You have to be willing to endure a lot of pain to reach each milestone on your way to success.

But when you do finally conquer milestone after milestone, it feels like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.

In the book Shoe Dog about the creation of Nike, the author and founder, Phil Knight, says his only regret in life is that he can’t go back and start Nike all over again…

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About Vadim Verdyan

Vadim Verdyan is the founder and CEO of MyClyq.com.  It is a site that helps people find freelancers faster by utilizing their everyday partnerships, thus bringing word-of-mouth referrals online.  The beta is available to the public now.

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