If you dream of starting up your own business, then have you considered the mental side of the challenge?
I’m a special kind of stubborn; which is neither good nor bad in the grand scheme of things. But it does make me suited to the life of a Solopreneur. There are emotional highs when the work pays off. But there are also days that feel like crashing into a brick wall.
Lately, I’ve become concerned that the entrepreneurial lifestyle is being glamorized in some circles, giving people the impression that it is a one-way ticket to success. The alarming statistics on small business state otherwise. More fail in their first year than succeed.
While all is fair in love and war, I do want to spread some awareness and make sure that the less resilient (or plain stubborn, like me) are not drawn to the idea of “getting rich by next Tuesday”, only to have their hearts broken and their mental well-being damaged.
Entrepreneurship, and especially Solopreneurship, is a marathon, not a sprint. And there are no guarantees of success. The dark side that few people talk about is how many people are led to pursue their dream, only to end up in debt and worse off than when they started.
But I’m not here to scare you. If you are on the cusp of starting your own small business journey, and wondering if you should leap into the void or not, then I’m here to make sure you go into battle well informed.
Here are a couple of things to consider before you leap.
Check in with your mental health before you decide
Before you take on a big change such as setting up your own business and branching out on your own – check in with your mental state first. For example, have you considered where the desire to go it alone really comes from?
If the answer is that your purpose is driving you, then I’d say you are on the right track. But if you are trying to escape your old job more than you are following a passion, then this is your first warning sign.
Are you feeling “mentally healthy” in general? Do you have the strength for the battle ahead?
Those who leave corporate land in search of a “freedom business” or a laptop lifestyle, are often soon disappointed when they find the business they have built is harder work than their old job. Getting your project off the ground, especially as a Solopreneur who cannot yet afford to hire a good team, means you have very little time for yourself.
If you are not in a good place mentally then this will pull you further under. So consider carefully what you really need right now, and listen to your gut on this. It may be wiser to work on your well-being first, and then your next business move can come a little later down the track.
Your tribe is your lifeline
Even the most introverted Solopreneurs, myself included, will tell you that they couldn’t have done it without the support of their tribe. The key is here surrounding yourself with the right people.
As much as your parents will want the best for you, they are from a different generation, and their well-intended advice might be a little behind the times. In today’s online world, there are possibilities that we couldn’t have imagined even 20 or 30 years ago.
If you want to be successful in one of these new industries, then you need to talk to people who are already doing it. They not only know that it’s more than possible, but they can give you the best advice on getting started. These people are worth their weight in gold, so cherish them.
Also, I just want to say, please beware of false prophets. There are some people who will claim that taking their new course will get you rapid success. If you are planning to invest in mentoring, training, or coaching on your new business, then check credentials thoroughly. Ask to speak to former clients, check out the testimonials and find out where these people are now. Bottom line, don’t get taken for a ride. Stay strong and look after yourself.
I know that human nature means we can get a little overwhelmed or even blinded when trying to change our lives and do something brave. And you know what? Your desire to take this on is to be applauded; not everyone has the ambition. But please do approach your next move in a balanced way.
Check in with how you feel before you take each step. Above all, consider what you can cope with, and it doesn’t always have to be the biggest, bravest option. It’s okay to pace yourself.