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HOT TOPIC What Is So Hard About Entrepreneurship?

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mon_fi

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- Mental health
- Loneliness
- Lack of stability
- Financial troubles before success (if success ever comes)
- Choosing from an unlimited number of options while feeling like only a few of them will result for success (but not knowing which)
- Learning advertising and marketing, then getting it right, if you can get it right (before you run out of funds)
- Customer service, the entirety of it
- Minimizing expenses (death by a thousand cuts applies here - everyone in your entire business chain is going to take a small cut)
- Trying to decide when to keep pushing and when to call it quits
- How much to re-invest and how much to draw for yourself
- Handling those days where everything goes wrong, you waste or lose a ton of money, and feel like the house is going to collapse on top of you and you can't breathe
- Deciding how to allocate a limited amount of funds across an unlimited amount of services, all promising to help you achieve success and all offering alluring benefits
- When a competitor wipes out your most successful product line with an exclusivity agreement with your supplier and you wonder how the hell you'll problem solve this one (ask me how I know this one...)
- When your essential partners (like amazon) f*ck you over or cut you off when you did nothing wrong
- When you forget to collect taxes all year because of a checkbox you forgot to tick on amazon and your accountant is all "sooo... yeah.... you owe...."

I mean... it goes on. I could go on. And this is just in my very limited experience and off the top of my head.

Nothing about it is easy. It's worth it. But it's not easy.


Thank you, I will keep a note of that, I think a lot of what you have written can be prevented.
 

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When a competitor wipes out your most successful product line with an exclusivity agreement with your supplier and you wonder how the hell you'll problem solve this one
Holy sh*t man! How did you get out of that one, if at all?
 

Ivan M.

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What's hard about entrepreneurship,

-Marketing
Being an introvert, It's difficult for me to physically sell to people. Selling online, no prob. but I still have to develop a market presence in order for this to work.

-Brainstorming
When I get stuck on a problem, I can't figure a way around it or it just hasn't come to me yet. Also coming up with an original idea or invention that no one has thought of yet. The business i'm in now is taking me a little bit longer to solve, but I know one day i'll have a breakthrough.

-Providing a Need (CENTS)
As I said in brainstorming, it's a little difficult to come up with an original idea. Just when I think of an invention, come to find out; damn, it's already been done.

And on top of all this dealing with anxiety and health issues makes it difficult to run a business.

Pretty sure I have more, these are just a few of them.
 

Christopher104

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Hey,

I am really wondering, what is so hard about entrepreneurship?

What did you really struggle with?

Was it getting started? Getting financed? Making the product? Selling it? Administrative tasks? Finding people to hire? Marketing? Was it figuring it out?

Was it the whole process? Was it finding an idea? Was it the volume of work? Or its actual complexity? Was it believing you would make it? Was it not giving up?

Please don't say it was everything. There must have been tasks that were harder than others.

I read Bezos and Branson biographies and these guys were working a lot, sure, but it's not like they were crying everyday on their way to the office, which is the feeling I get when people like Peter Thiel say "building a company is like eating broken glass while staring into the abyss".

Is it really everyone's experience?

PS: please don't try to discourage me, call me ignorant, gullible or anything else, or tell me "you'll see" in a condescending manner. I am asking a genuine question. I obviously don't know much, and so it would be great to hear from others that did this before me. Thank you : )
Depends on what you're selling.

If you're selling a service, that would be the acquisition of the skillset. Skills take time to build and the hardest part of that is looking at how much more you have left to learn before you can call yourself an expert and teach employees how to do it.

If you're selling a product, I imagine finding the right wholesalers and distributors is the hardest part because you don't know if the quality is the best or worst until you start getting refunds or complaints. Then it's back to the drawing board.

As for the uncertainty, if you read the millionaire fastlane and you now about the commandment of need, and then you look at the gross profit of the industry you're getting into you should know if the business will work or not.

Personally if I start doubting the system I'm investing my time into I remember:"its in an industry that grosses billions per year, there's always something you can do better than your competitors, and every business will need one sooner or later." and my worries disappear
Thank you, I will keep a note of that, I think a lot of what you have written can be prevented.
 

Aeuk

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-Brainstorming
When I get stuck on a problem, I can't figure a way around it or it just hasn't come to me yet. Also coming up with an original idea or invention that no one has thought of yet. The business i'm in now is taking me a little bit longer to solve, but I know one day i'll have a breakthrough.

-Providing a Need (CENTS)
As I said in brainstorming, it's a little difficult to come up with an original idea. Just when I think of an invention, come to find out; damn, it's already been done.

Might want to re-read Unscripted, chapter 34 - The Commandment of Need (Page 253, paperback). It will help you understand how value is skewed.
 

ParttimeHustler

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If I could sum up the challenges of entrepreneurship in one sentence, it would be 'the ability to handle uncertainty'. This is a character trait that some have and most don't, and in a world as comfortable and predictable as ours, it is a difficult skill to master. Know that when things are uncertain and you feel pressure, that this is the moment that disheartens the amateur and is merely considered by the professional.
 

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Holy sh*t man! How did you get out of that one, if at all?

Re-designed the product with the manufacturer, excluding the aspects that the competitor made proprietary.

I spun it as an upgrade to customers.

Cost me maybe 2 months of downtime though during the process and I had to run my existing stock dry on Amazon before I could send in the new version because I had to edit the listing with the new information and I didn't want two different types of stock under one listing because that's a fast track to 1-star city if customers don't get what your listing shows/promises, obviously.

Had to also get new photos done, of course. And test the new product myself to see if it would work.

The competitor ultimately won though - because even after all that they reported all my listings as a HAZMAT violation due to a firestarter (magnesium rod) that was part of the product. I fought with amazon for months over the issue because this competitor (and Amazon themselves!!!) had hundreds of listings using the SAME firestarter but Amazon didn't care.

Had to "fire sale" the entire product line, which was my most successful at the time.

I got really jaded about Amazon after that.
 

Andy Black

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I never knew it would be this difficult to find an imperfection that people are willing to pay to get rid off.
Look at what people already pay to get rid of (or get)?
 

Andy Black

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Falling 10 times..and still getting up the 11th, without having a support system/infrastructure and dealing with uncertainty. Getting yourself going with no immediate feedback or emotional "infrastructure".
That’s why I like early feedback and quick wins.
 

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Andy Black

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I personally don’t think execution (or anything) has to be exceptional.
 

BizyDad

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I personally don’t think execution (or anything) has to be exceptional.
You're right, but it doesn't hurt.

And it doesn't change the fact that it's hard.
 

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Over the long term, you learn that business is the extension of you (even if you're building a business brand and not a personal brand). Consequently, all your inner struggles and shortcomings will affect your business.

The hard part is thus not necessarily taking care of your business but taking care of yourself: your stress levels, energy, and mental health in general.

That's particularly hard in a world where you're expected to move and act all the time, even though you're most creative and most efficient when you're calm, relaxed, and lazy in a smart way.
 

cm-devpreneur

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Interesting question. I've heard that what you're meant to do, your special skills and talents, are connected to what you loved to do from age 7-14. This could suggest how we're brought up has something to do with becoming an entrepreneur. I think there's more to it though.

I started making money through entrepreneurship age 12, loved every moment of it, and decided it'd be what I do forever. I made money every single month from 2010-2019 (when I sold my business), people called me lucky but I knew my skills were strong and my ideas were good. Creativity is definitely part of it.

When I went through two traumatic events (one was long-term exposure lasting over a year and a half) within the space of a couple of weeks, right after selling my business, my brain changed. It's given me a different perspective on entrepreneurship. I think belief is majorly important.

We have seen the things Kanye West comes up with and makes a success of even when there are millions of critics. He's stayed true to the beliefs he was raised with: that he can do anything. I always had a strong sense of self and confidence that I can achieve. I only experienced failure in a negative way when this changed.

It's essential you nurture the ability to bounce back from failure with self-belief. I had belief that I would be successful, so even though I only experienced success 70-80% of the time, I didn't let it affect me and was quick to move onto the next thing that was always a success.

The final thing as some other people have mentioned is risk-taking. However you become an entrepreneur, at some point you have to risk something, your time, your reputation, your money. I don't think you need to be as much of a risk-taker as you have to believe in yourself though.

I tried to avoid taking risk whilst experiencing trauma but it's counterintuitive (especially with low self-esteem) and ironically I lost more than if I'd just focused on what I wanted to do. If you're creative and smart about it, risk is naturally part of business and pays off more than if you worry.

The good news is the brain is malleable and you can work on changing your thoughts. I have a lot of money and time so I've been taking risk more, such as betting and doing other tasks I'd have normally avoided due to the risk involved. Hopefully I can start to approach business in the same way again.

You can work on self-belief with self-love, critical thinking, finding and interrupting repetitive thought patterns, telling yourself good things, surrounding yourself with people who believe in you. If you're friends/in a relationship with someone who makes you feel less valuable, especially repeatedly, leave ASAP! I've been working hard for the best part of a year on increasing my self-belief and it's still a struggle. I really think self-belief is the most important factor, so even though I feel really good about myself now, I think you need to be where you feel excellent about yourself.

Entrepreneurship is so hard because so many of us let in opinions of the people who don't believe in us. Our mind takes in that negativity and adapts using the harmful information as a reference. Hearing things like you're stupid, you can't do anything right, what's wrong with you, etc. daily for over a year completely changed the makeup of my brain in a hugely detrimental way so I encourage anyone with unsupportive friends, parents, partners, to get away from those people and start loving yourself and recovering.

Wow, thank you for sharing. This really resonated with me. I've found overcoming self-doubt to be the biggest challenge as I am starting out. A vicious cycle with, fortunately, a cure that turns into a virtuous cycle. The more you doubt your ability to succeed the less you put yourself out there and the less experience and self-confidence you gain and the opposite is true. The more you fail the more you realise it's not a big deal to fail or be rejected or get a bad review, learn grow move on.

I also tend to agree with @Kung Fu Steve - it's quite easy if you are not overthinking it. Have fun with it.

(PS I know I'm not qualified to answer OP's question but I just wanted to respond to this great response)

Also thank you OP for the great question for newbies.
 

Andy Black

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Over the long term, you learn that business is the extension of you (even if you're building a business brand and not a personal brand). Consequently, all your inner struggles and shortcomings will affect your business.

The hard part is thus not necessarily taking care of your business but taking care of yourself: your stress levels, energy, and mental health in general.

That's particularly hard in a world where you're expected to move and act all the time, even though you're most creative and most efficient when you're calm, relaxed, and lazy in a smart way.
A friend once said that "Business is the truest form of self-expression." I think she said it slightly tongue-in-cheek, but only slightly.
 

Andy Black

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I think a hard part about business is keeping it simple.

We're forever doing things we assume we need to do that we actually don't.

We’ve been brought up to believe we need to learn more, do more, spend more, add more, build more, etc.

Again, it's those limiting beliefs rearing their heads.
 

Think Expand

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In own opinion, the hardest part of entrepreneurship is driving more sales and revenue. If you can sell more, you will make more money and your business will cash flow... and you can buy as many Lambourgini you want.

But when getting sales is hard... the business struggles to survive. Even big companies go bankrupt when they fail or struggle to sell.

The second biggest thing is collecting account receivables from customers after the sale is closed. If you run a business where you offer 70/30 or 50/50 or offer credit to customers.,... then it might be tough collecting payments from some customers. Some customers are just stubborn and lack ethics.

I run a business consulting firm in 2015 which collapsed purely because we had lots of account receivables in our books, but not enough cash to run operations. We were profitable in the books, but cash poor in the bank. That's very hard and painful if you have been there and know what I am saying!

So the business collapsed. That I will say is tough! It's not easy chasing customers for your money... they start to think you're the bad and evil guy... when it is okay for you go and chase them for your money.

The last thing I will say is the hard part of entrepreneurship is dealing with employees, suppliers, bankers and all the people you work with. Business in itself is EASY, but working with people is the HARDEST part. Therefore, having patience, people skills and courage is crucial in dealing with different kinds of people you will meet in business.
 

YanC

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Over the long term, you learn that business is the extension of you (even if you're building a business brand and not a personal brand). Consequently, all your inner struggles and shortcomings will affect your business.

The hard part is thus not necessarily taking care of your business but taking care of yourself: your stress levels, energy, and mental health in general.

That's particularly hard in a world where you're expected to move and act all the time, even though you're most creative and most efficient when you're calm, relaxed, and lazy in a smart way.
This resonated VERY MUCH with me.

I'm finding that what lurks behind most of my business related difficulties are almost always my own shortcomings. I usually solve them once I have done the work to get better and grow into the person that is able to tackle them.

Financial success is yet to come, but I realize that being in business made me a better human being and incredibly improved all aspects of my life.
 

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mon_fi

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The last thing I will say is the hard part of entrepreneurship is dealing with employees, suppliers, bankers and all the people you work with. Business in itself is EASY, but working with people is the HARDEST part.
A business owner in tourism once told me that if i wanted to build a business, i should"try to do something where you don't have to deal with people. This is by far the most complicated".

He was managing a team of 20 people or so.
 

Think Expand

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A business owner in tourism once told me that if i wanted to build a business, i should"try to do something where you don't have to deal with people. This is by far the most complicated".

He was managing a team of 20 people or so.

Even if you do away with employees, you still have to deal with customers.

In either way, some level of people skills is needed. But dealing with employees is the hardest. But sometimes, you just can't do everything all alone. You need HELP! So, I tend to outsource or go for sub-contracted staff. This makes my life simple.

There are two kinds of customers. Bad customers and good customers. There are two kinds of employees. Bad employees and good employees. Bad customers and bad employees will KILL your business. Good employees and good customers will SCALE your business. If you happen to find the later, happy are you. If you not, sorry for you!
 
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Andy Black

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- Mental health
- Loneliness
- Lack of stability
- Financial troubles before success (if success ever comes)
- Choosing from an unlimited number of options while feeling like only a few of them will result for success (but not knowing which)
- Learning advertising and marketing, then getting it right, if you can get it right (before you run out of funds)
- Customer service, the entirety of it
- Minimizing expenses (death by a thousand cuts applies here - everyone in your entire business chain is going to take a small cut)
- Trying to decide when to keep pushing and when to call it quits
- How much to re-invest and how much to draw for yourself
- Handling those days where everything goes wrong, you waste or lose a ton of money, and feel like the house is going to collapse on top of you and you can't breathe
- Deciding how to allocate a limited amount of funds across an unlimited amount of services, all promising to help you achieve success and all offering alluring benefits
- When a competitor wipes out your most successful product line with an exclusivity agreement with your supplier and you wonder how the hell you'll problem solve this one (ask me how I know this one...)
- When your essential partners (like amazon) f*ck you over or cut you off when you did nothing wrong
- When you forget to collect taxes all year because of a checkbox you forgot to tick on amazon and your accountant is all "sooo... yeah.... you owe...."

I mean... it goes on. I could go on. And this is just in my very limited experience and off the top of my head.

Nothing about it is easy. It's worth it. But it's not easy.
Yeah, it's a never ending list of hurdles (ahem, stepping stones)!
 

SamHalen

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Constantly leaving your comfort zone.

First it was marketing even though it felt unatural as an introvert.
Then it was customer service and learning when to ignore flame/criticism online.
Then it was hiring contractors after being scammed on Upwork.
Then it was recording youtube videos of myself.
Now it's learning about taxes.

As soon as I become comfortable doing something it's time to move on.
 

WJK

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I suppose a (the?) hard part is you don’t report to anyone else. It’s all on you and whatever your limiting beliefs are. For some that’s liberating. For others it’s terrifying.
I totally agree. It's getting up every morning and working on a plan without a boss to please or a time clock to punch. It's facing the possibility of failure time and time again. It's enduring cutting ridicule or well-meaning advice from others who have nothing on the line. (They have never tried to build a business themselves, but they know what they would do.) It's the sense of being alone and never knowing if the decisions, one after another, are right or wrong. It's also the thrill of forging your own path without being under someone's thumb. Only you can fire yourself by quitting and closing your business. And you can build a business that shows off your skills and strong points. The part I like is that I can say no. I can fire clients. I can change directions. I can start and stop.
 

Andy Black

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The part I like is that I can say no. I can fire clients. I can change directions.
I love changing direction and following my nose.

I love being able to shut down a project without having to justify it to anyone.

I don’t love saying No, but I love that I have the choice to.

I love that I don’t have to work with someone just because they’re waving money at me.

I love that people can give me advice and I can nod and say thanks and keep doing what I’m doing.

I’m reminded of this thread:
 

mon_fi

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I totally agree. It's getting up every morning and working on a plan without a boss to please or a time clock to punch. It's facing the possibility of failure time and time again. It's enduring cutting ridicule or well-meaning advice from others who have nothing on the line. (They have never tried to build a business themselves, but they know what they would do.) It's the sense of being alone and never knowing if the decisions, one after another, are right or wrong. It's also the thrill of forging your own path without being under someone's thumb. Only you can fire yourself by quitting and closing your business. And you can build a business that shows off your skills and strong points. The part I like is that I can say no. I can fire clients. I can change directions. I can start and stop.

In one word: freedom.

The hardship of entrepreneurship is the price of freedom.
 

mon_fi

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I think I know what is so hard about entrepreneurship.

You have to figure out everything by yourself.

At school, your teachers tell you what to do, and how to do it. You don't have to be smart to succeed at school. You just need to obey and understand what your teacher expects from you.

No one tells you what to do in entrepreneurship. No one tells you what the result is supposed to be. And no one gives you a list of instructions, tightly arranged in ordered bullet points.

You're on your own. You don't get any feedback but the customers'. And there aren't many people to ask questions to.

So I guess for me, the harder would be to identify priorities (I also struggle with this in my life). I see everything as equally important because every action is serving a future purpose. I consider these purposes as important as all the others.

I have 5 projects going on now, and this is way too many.
 

WJK

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I think I know what is so hard about entrepreneurship.

You have to figure out everything by yourself.

At school, your teachers tell you what to do, and how to do it. You don't have to be smart to succeed at school. You just need to obey and understand what your teacher expects from you.

No one tells you what to do in entrepreneurship. No one tells you what the result is supposed to be. And no one gives you a list of instructions, tightly arranged in ordered bullet points.

You're on your own. You don't get any feedback but the customers'. And there aren't many people to ask questions to.

So I guess for me, the harder would be to identify priorities (I also struggle with this in my life). I see everything as equally important because every action is serving a future purpose. I consider these purposes as important as all the others.

I have 5 projects going on now, and this is way too many.
This last year was blur of activities -- like your current 5 projects... Finishing one would have been a banner year. I completed the sprint on several issues -- including one I've worked on quietly for 35 years. It's the lack of feedback that gets me. There's no stellar, straight A report card. Balloons didn't fall from the ceiling. No one threw rose petals, or even confetti, into my path. I got up the day after that huge project was finished and I went to my office like every other day of my life. The grind of daily issues went on like nothing had happened. I hope that I will feel and see the results over time.
 

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