The entrepreneur mindset is a way of life. It’s not easy going, it’s not glamouros. It’s fulfilling, but it’s also incredibly stressful.
Stress as an entrepreneur is different from stress in the office, but it’s stress nevertheless.
If you are an entrepreneur, you already know entrepreneurs are stressed too. You might have been experiencing all of them by now (and some more). Even if your entrepreneurial mindset says you can cope with it, sometime it’s worth identifying where stress is coming from, so you can better fight it.
For those dreaming about an idyllic life as a start-up entrepreneur, the reality is a little different. The purpose of this post is not to dissuade you from becoming an entrepreneur. It’s just a warning sign for what lies ahead.
This is article is also meant to be a warning sign for those who dream about becoming an entrepreneur one day.
It might be a good idea to compare the sources of stress in the office and the sources of stress for an entrepreneur. Before jumping ship, ideally.
1. Financial matters
Finding funding, collecting receivables, payroll, burn rate, cash flow.
All are very well known expressions for the entrepreneur. And also, all are very well known sources of stress.
2. Sales issues
And all the factors affecting sales: economic downturn, a customer loss, finding new customers, dealing with demanding customers, etc.
3. Managing employees
When you become an entrepreneur you also become the HR Officer in Chief. You need to decide which fires to fight and which fires to ignore. Making sure you have the right people to work with is one issue you can’t ignore.
4. Scaling the business
Or keeping it at the level where you are at. Sometimes scaling is the only option. And it’s when you realize that all the knowledge you accumulated until you brought the business at the current level, won’t apply to bringing the business to the next level. As Einstein was quoted saying: you cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.
5. Work overload
You need to learn to delegate. But before you need to find the people to delegate to. And you need to train them. And make sure they hold the same vision about the future of the company as you do. Learning to prioritize is probably one of the most important lessons to learn. And fast.
6. Responsibility pressure
You’re not alone in this. Your responsibility goes towards your employees, customers, suppliers, your family. Enough already to raise the pressure?
7. Balancing work and personal life
Where do you draw the line? Is there really work life balance when you are an entrepreneur?
8. Wearing too many hats at once
Until you can start delegating some of your activities you have to learn to change hats.
And not fall in love with one hat in favour of the others (product development is great, but don’t forget about sales if you want to stay in business).
9. Working alone
You’re alone in this. At least at the beginning. You don’t have your colleagues anymore to bounce ideas back and forth.
It’s where “the mastermind group” Napoleon Hill was talking about comes in handy.
10. Dealing with ambiguity
You start with an idea, a vision of a possible future. You have a plan, but you understand that your plan is based on your assumptions. When you start executing the plan you realize that what you do is, in fact, testing your assumptions.
You have to be flexible and agile to be able to change course based on the results of your tests.