No doubt there is an unlimited amount of information available online today about how to start a successful business. Until you have actually tried to do it though, you can’t really appreciate what you are really getting yourself into.
I read an excellent article recently on Inc.com about the psychological price that entrepreneurs pay. The article rang all too true from personal experience. This is one topic that rarely gets talked about because it is extremely hard for a person to admit, publicly, when he or she is about to break mentally.
People look up to entrepreneurs and business owners because those business owners are doing something with their life that every person has dreamed about at one point or another. They are running their own company. Outwardly, entrepreneurs are generally upbeat and energetic people who seem to have it all together.
But secretly, when no one can see them, many of them are on the brink of a nervous breakdown or even worse. You cannot possibly imagine the stress and anguish that a business owner exposes himself to unless you have actually tried to build your own business. If you are a caring person at heart, as most people are, then you can’t help but feel an immense buildup of stress and pressure. There are so many things you have to do right to build a business into a success. There are so many things you will do wrong. Yes you will.
The things you do wrong can bring embarrassment to those you love the most like your closest friends and family. The things you do wrong can make you look incredibly stupid because an outsider will look at the situation and think “I would never have done that.”
There are so many things you don’t know about when you launch a business. You are truly learning under fire. It is like throwing a child in the deep end of a swimming pool and saying “Hey pal…either you learn how to swim right now or you are going to drown very soon.”
There are people who can help teach an entrepreneur to swim. The problem is that many entrepreneurs are do-it-yourselfer’s by nature. They take on every problem by themselves. It is that very characteristic that allowed them to have the guts to launch their business in the first place.
When they run into problems they try to solve them on their own. When they don’t know what they are doing, they will Band-Aid a problem rather than fix it permanently. Get enough Band-Aids on enough wounds and you have a person who can barely limp along any more. And a lot of these Band-Aids are mental. Yet your brain can only take so much.
If you are strong enough to keep limping on for enough months or even years, the constant beat down of daily stress on your body can bring you to a breaking point. Yes it can make you want to take your own life. It truly can get that bad. There are publicly documented cases of it happening. And if you have ever been in business, you will understand how it can come to that.
The only consolation I have found is by discussing my business problems with other entrepreneurs. I tell you my problems. You tell me yours. When you have a discussion like that with another entrepreneur, it will bring you closer back to reality and relieve some of the stress. It really helps when you finally come to understand that we all go through this to some extent. And many of us find ourselves in very dark places at some points.
That is the reality and truth of what business owners go through. The journey can take you to some extremely dark and dangerous places. I hope you do a good job of avoiding them.