Anxiety, Stress, Uncertainty, Challenges, Economic ebbs and flows and the list seems interminable. As an entrepreneur, you will be subjected to all these but how you react to it will define your success or failure. From poor communication to lack of coordination among your team members, from deals gone wrong to under-performing employees, entrepreneurs and business owners often bite off more than they can chew.
To help young entrepreneurs, I will share my experience and lessons I learned the hard way after enduring hardships, so you do not have to toil hard as I did. It will help you overcome the odds and make your life a breeze as an entrepreneur.
1. Let Bygones Be Bygones
Living in the past and licking the old wounds is the worst thing you can do as an entrepreneur. It takes you in a negative state of mind and leaves you tossing and turning at nights. Instead, you are better off moving forward to bigger and better things than thinking about the scars from the past. Invest your time and effort in something that is worth your while, instead of contemplating the past.
2. Have a “Never Say Die” Attitude
“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine”—Jack Ma
Most entrepreneurs feel the pinch when they are faced with a bevy of failures. As a result, they eventually throw in the towel. What they do not realize is that they could taste the sweetness of success if they try one more time. You might be thinking that it is easier said than done, right. Here are two stories that you can garner inspiration from.
Jack Ma’s early life was dotted with rejections and failures. He was snubbed by Harvard 10 times. Jack Ma was the only interviewee who was rejected by KFC. When he launched his business, it was marred by lack of funding and failure to make profits; so much so that his business was nearing bankruptcy, but he did not give up. Today, he is one of the richest men in China and one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world.
He was not alone. Henry Ford founded two automotive companies that crashed to the ground before he laid the foundation for Ford Motors, which was an instant hit. Bill Gates started a business called Traf-O-Data in early 1974, which failed miserably before he went on to create Microsoft. In 1985, Steve Jobs, was fired from the company he created but he did not give up. He went on to create Pixar and NeXT and transformed the animated movie industry as we know today.
3. Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst
“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.”—Zig Ziglar
The impact of hardships is multiplied manifolds when you are taken in by surprise. That is when hardships do the most damage. To prevent this, you should stay optimistic and pessimistic at the same time. How can a person see a glass both half empty and half full at the same time? Is this what you are thinking? Let me explain it a bit. You should always stay positive, irrespective of what the situation might be but prepare for the worst-case scenario at the same time. With this approach, you can never put a foot wrong as an entrepreneur.
4. Have Faith in Your Abilities
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.”—Norman Vincent Peale
One of the first things that consecutive failures do is that they rain over your confidence. It makes you question your abilities. This is where things start to go awry. When you start to doubt your abilities, you tend to believe less in yourself and retreat in a negative frame of mind.
As a result, you will never be able to achieve what you are capable of. Use online task management tools to enhance your productivity and streamline task management. By harnessing the power of digital tools and working on your weaknesses, you can overcome all the hurdles dotting your path.
5. Learn from Your Mistakes and Improve
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”—Henry Ford
One of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs is to learn from failures and keep improving. If you want to achieve something big as an entrepreneur, you will have to keep learning from your mistakes and make future improvements. All successful entrepreneurs erred at some time, but they learned from those mistakes and never repeated them again. This is what keeps them a notch above everyone else. Mark Zuckerberg follows the “move fast and break things” philosophy. He has come under fire many times for his missteps but quickly learned from his mistakes and tackled the issues to take Facebook where it is today.
6. Time Does Passes and Things Change
“Change is the only constant” –Heraclitus
There will always be good times and there will always be tough times. What most entrepreneurs do not realize is that both good and bad times will pass, and things will change. You need to exercise perseverance and stick to your guns. This is where passion comes into play. If you love what you are doing, you can easily get through the tough period. I always believed in this notion and it has helped me get over adversities.
7. Surround Yourself with the Right People
“You are the average of five people you spend the most time with.”—Jim Rohn
Last but certainly not the least is to surround yourself with the right people. When things are not going your way, you need support. You need helping hands that can lift your spirits, keep you motivated and pull up your dropping shoulders when you are falling down. Avoid toxic people who are always looking for opportunities to betray you.
How can I keep my motivation level up despite being surrounded by toxic people? Deal with them intelligently. Focus on building a team with a diverse skill set that rubs well with one another. Foster a culture of motivation and encourage team members to motivate one another during challenging times.
What lessons did you learn from the hardships that you have faced? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.