Monday, September 8, 2008

Keeping the Entrepreneurial Faith

I must begin by once again pointing out that entrepreneur is a needlessly difficult word to spell.  I just might have to create my own word.  If I do, I'll be sure and trademark it (see Pat Riley's "three-peat").  

This is another one of those partly therapeutic posts that I believe all small business people can use from time to time.  Keeping the faith in the small business space is not always easy.  The realities of small business can be aggravating when viewed through the corporate or mainstream lens of so many friends and family.  Things like regular paychecks, packaged benefits, regular hours, and others seem to be the God-given rights.  There will always be those times when the questions will pop into your head.  Why am I putting myself and my family through this?  

Rather than platitudes about "it being darkest right before the dawn" or the like, it boils down to the fact that it is just plain hard at times.  The world around you is structured for those with a steady life.  The world wants to see the income statement more than the balance sheet.  The problems presented in small business are quite often personal and hard to get out of the forefront of your mind.  The challenge is to achieve a peace with the path you have chosen and a faith that your perseverance will pay dividends--financially and beyond.

It is important that all entrepreneurs have a deep-seated confidence in what they are doing.  It permeates all of your actions and cannot be faked effectively.  Beyond yourself, however, it is important to leverage your friends and family for support.  Find a network that can appreciate your challenges and mentor you when necessary towards solutions.  Wallowing is not the support team you need.  

Create a personal system to support yourself during the natural ebbs and flows that come with a business that is truly a part of you.  Choose who you listen to at the times you feel down, since many will encourage you to "get a real job."  I have had the benefit of a start-up with several partners where the team was able to pick up the one or two members that might be down at a given time.  Be honest about your concerns and challenges, and you will find that the process of addressing them will boost your confidence to keep on keeping on.

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