When you hear the word “entrepreneur” do you immediately think of those folks on Shark Tank that sit back and make decisions about who to fund? People like Barbara Corcoran, or Mark Cuban? Yes, they have been in the trenches as they risked their resources, time and health to build something fruitful. It is easy to look at people who are highly successful, and enjoying a prosperous time in their business. The truth is that every entrepreneur starts our with a weight of effort to build something that will sustain and grow. Every entrepreneur makes 5 sacrifices to build their dream. Here are the core 5 things:
1. Stability – The money is short, the income is slim, and the opportunities are dependent on a cash flow. Stability, as most people know it means a predictable paycheck on a repetitious process (Most people are paid every two weeks, right?). Entrepreneurs are often laying out funds for supplies, and production, and the money is in the product that is being developed. Until there is an established client base to buy and pay you, the entrepreneur is often a bit less than stable with finances. In our case, we began to create Images in Bloom as a means to build a new revenue stream during a drought of income. 5 years later we are learning the patterns of the finances, recognizing seasons of the year are either highly prosperous or dry. (Does any artist make money in January and February????)
2. Income – OK, it may be a stretch after the discussion about stability – but income is something that becomes less predictable when you are building a new work. I would recommend you build reserves before you jump into an endeavor that you wish to create. It takes time to establish clients, and a market for your product. In our case we went from making significant income in 9 to 5 jobs, to feast or famine income with our endeavor. Yes, it will build, and we will one day know less of the roller coaster of feast or famine. The key is to give the time to allow this to happen. We have found that much of our revenue is returning to the business as operating funds, but in our 7 years of business we have actually doubled our business each year.
3. Sleep – Sleep is something that gets tossed to the side when demands and deadlines are looming. As an entrepreneur with a business that is 2 people the bulk of production, marketing, planning, research and bookkeeping all fall on us. While we try to plan well so that sleep is a regimented part of the plan, we have spent many a long night in production, working on preparation for a large show, or packaging goods for shipment to a store. Most entrepreneurs are much like new parents – highly sleep deprived.
4. No separation of work and personal time – Until 2016 our studio was our home… and everything about soap production, and painting silk spilled out over normal living spaces. One of the greatest things we did, when we could financially swing it, was to rent studio space and move all of the production there. This has allowed us to lock the door, and walk away. Our house has 90% returned to our residence, with some things still done at home, such as the computer work, bookeeping, scheduling. But the production is now scheduled, planned like a regular work schedule, and that seperates our time a bit. Remember, it’s still important for you to balance your work priorities and your personal ones — always make time for your family and your mental health — but the firm split between personal and professional time is going to go away no matter how you try to handle it.
5. Comfort – Starting a new business means a thousand decisions, many are uncomfortable, challenging, and new ground for most of us. Risking that your idea might have merit in the marketplace, or that your concept may change the world is a good thought… but what it takes to bring concept to fruition takes guts, and a strong stomach for being uncomfortable…. And the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who approach uncomfortable situations with confidence and a degree of excitement. Learn to thrive in uncomfortable environments, and you’ll find yourself much more at peace with your job. Because the new start up is often a one or two person endeavor there are a lot of hats to wear, some are easy and well within the skill set, others are a big stretch, requiring intestinal fortitude, and a focus on the outcome rather than the discomfort of the moment. Steve and i have each determined what are strengths and shortcomings. He is fabulous as the financial guy, the bookkeeper, the keeper of records. I on the other hand think my strengths lie with marketing, packaging, and media. But that certainly does not define either of us as we have to cross over in roles and tasks.
OK, So starting an entrepreneurial endeavor takes more than a good idea on paper… its true. It takes something deep inside your soul that drives you to create, develop, package, market and sell your dream. But I have this theory that if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone, take the plunge into finding your dream you will one day look around and realize you made it there. Dare to dream. Challenge your life to become what you feel you have inside you.