One of the toughest parts about being an entrepreneur is that you need to rely on yourself, a lot. Entrepreneurship can be lonely. It can be hard to remind yourself why you started this hair-brained scheme in the first place, especially when things aren’t going your way.
Starting and running a business takes a ridiculous amount of effort, and if you aren’t constantly worried about your sanity, you probably aren’t doing it right. But! That doesn’t mean that you need to lose your mind, your money, and your time just because you want to be an entrepreneur.
You already have half of what it takes to succeed: you started. Now, you just need to figure out how to keep going so you can walk through the fire without getting burned.
With Grace and Grit: A Guide to Sticking it Out for Entrepreneurs
I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.
– Steve Jobs (more quotes)
Know your limits (and when to ask for help)
The first thing entrepreneurs do that can cause them to lose steam is they don’t know when to let someone else step in and help them. If you are an entrepreneur, you might not even know how to ask for help in many cases, because you are so used to trying to do things on your own that asking for help makes you feel like you have failed. Get that thought out of your head right now. The irony here is that some of the most successful entrepreneurs barely did any work themselves: they hired people to do it for them. Don’t carry the burden alone: you can be the boss, but you don’t have to kill yourself trying to make your company run.
Recognize and accept heavy lifting stages
At the outset of any business there is an enormous amount of work that needs to be done. This is also true of any business that wants to scale up later in life. These “heavy lifting periods” are times of great stress and excitement — and many entrepreneurs spend their days watching dollars go out the door for no reason, because they didn’t properly prepare for these periods of extreme workloads.
If you are an entrepreneur who is starting a business or is about to expand, you need to sit yourself down and give yourself a pep talk about how you don’t know what is behind door number 3, and need to be okay with not being able to see the big picture sometimes. Getting through these tougher than normal times — and normal is usually still pretty tough — can help you come out on top.
Keep in touch with your mentor
One of the best things you can do for your business and yourself is to continue to stay in touch with the people who have been your biggest champions. Maybe this is your family, your friends, or your mentor. Whoever it is, don’t shut them out when times get crazy. They can carry you through the hard times and help you get back into a routine after the crazy has passed. Don’t stop learning from those who influenced you the most. Make sure you continue to make time to learn from the leaders in your industry: read articles, books, blogs.
Be true to yourself
As entrepreneurs, it can be tempting to hop the fence to the greener pasture waiting for you, but if you want to make your own way, that means doing it your own way. You don’t have to ride anyone’s coattails, and you don’t have to take advice from people who aren’t acting in the best interest of your business.
Make it habit to only take advice from people you want to be like; ask them questions, pick their brains, but never make the mistake of asking them to solve your problems. They are your problems and you are capable of finding solutions to them. Don’t sell yourself short. Remember that you have gotten yourself this far in life and you aren’t doing too bad. Stay true to your path and keep moving toward what is important to you, regardless of what others may think.
The right amount of stubborn
A common trait that entrepreneurs share is that they all have some level of pride or stubbornness that has brought them to where they are now. A successful entrepreneur will be able to tell when he or she has started to cross over from useful stubbornness to just being a jerk about things. Don’t be a jerk. If you are an entrepreneur, you’ll want to get good at paying attention to your personality traits, habits, emotions, thoughts, and actions. These things speak volumes about you and your business and if you want to be able to find success and sustain it over time, being checked in to what is going on with you will help you go a long way.
Knowing your limits, recognizing heavy lifting periods, keeping in touch with the people who are most helpful, remaining true to yourself, and finding a balance between being stubborn and being a jerk are all strategies that can help you stay in the entrepreneurial game. You’ll find out for yourself what works and what doesn’t work, but you need to be paying attention to the lessons you are learning, be willing to actually learn and grow from them, and be willing to change your ways if they aren’t serving you.
You can strike the right balance for demonstrating grace and grit if you remain humble through your connections and peers, and by tuning in to yourself to keep going throughout the hard times. Finally, don’t let you be the reason your business venture fails. You can change if you want to, and you can learn if you want to. If you want to succeed, keep pushing passed the pain and keep looking for the next step to take to find your success.