If you’re thinking of starting a new business, you’re not alone. Every year, millions of people worldwide take the plunge and become entrepreneurs.
In the United States alone, 356,000 new businesses were formed in Q3 of 2021.
But starting a business is no easy feat. From coming up with a brilliant idea to getting it off the ground, countless challenges need to be overcome. On average, about every fifth new business fails within the first year.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The rewards of startup life can be great too. From making your own rules to seeing your idea take off, there are plenty of reasons to take the plunge.
In this article, I’ll explain the challenges and rewards of startup life and offer some tips on how to overcome the challenges. I’ll also demonstrate how you can enjoy the rewards by avoiding burnout.
- The challenges of starting a new business
- The rewards of owning & growing a startup
- How to overcome the challenges of startup life & maximize success
- The art of not burning out
- Embrace the challenges & watch yourself grow
So let’s get started.
The challenges of starting a business
If you asked 100 people why they didn’t start their own business, you’d probably get 100 different answers.
But the truth is, almost anyone can start a business.
You don’t need an Ivy League education or a huge bankroll. All you need is an idea, some determination, and the willingness to work hard.
I started my first business when I was still in school. In the scorching summer, we sold ice cream with two great friends of mine. It was a great experience, but we didn’t make much money. Actually, we lost money. But we had a lot of fun.
It also taught me a lot about what it takes to be an entrepreneur. That experience, even if it was terrible, taught me that I want to be a successful entrepreneur one day.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. Starting a business is fraught with challenges, from coming up with a great idea to getting it off the ground.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common challenges faced by starting entrepreneurs.
Leaving a secure career behind
Who wouldn’t be hesitant to leave the comfort of a steady paycheck and benefits? After all, starting a business is a huge risk.
As stated before, the failure rate for new businesses is high. So it’s no wonder that many people fear taking the risk.
But if you’re not willing to take risks, you’ll never achieve anything great. As the saying goes, “No risk, no reward.”
Think about it this way: What’s the worst that could happen if your business fails?
You may get into debt, but you’ll likely be able to find work to keep yourself afloat. And if your business is successful, the rewards can far outweigh the risks.
Coming up with a great idea
The first step to starting a business is, of course, coming up with a great idea. And that can be harder than it sounds.
If you don’t have any experience in entrepreneurship, it can be tough to know where to start. Do you come up with an innovative new product? Or do you fill a gap in the market with a unique service?
There are endless possibilities, which can make it difficult to narrow down your options.
One way to come up with a great idea is to look at your own experiences and see if there’s something you’re missing.
For example, are you always losing your keys? Or do you find yourself constantly running out of battery on your phone?
These everyday annoyances could be the basis for a great business idea. The key is to identify a problem that you can solve.
Once you’ve come up with a great idea, many times the next step is to raise money to get it off the ground.
For many entrepreneurs, this can be the most difficult part of starting a business. After all, not everyone has the savings or access to capital that’s needed to get a business up and running.
According to statistics, only 30% of small businesses have no debt. That means that the majority of small businesses need external financing.
One way to raise money is to take out a loan. But that can be risky, especially if you’re not confident in your ability to repay it.
Another option is to look for investors. This can be a great way to get the funding you need without putting your personal finances at risk. But it can be difficult to find investors who are willing to take a chance on a new business.
The good news is that there are plenty of options for raising money for your business. You just need to get creative and explore all of your options.
But what happens next?
Even after you’ve overcome these challenges, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
And that’s just the beginning. Once your business is up and running, you’ll need to keep it going. That means dealing with customers, employees, and all of the other challenges that might come with running a business.
But, the key here is that you don’t have to do it all alone. There are plenty of resources and people out there who can help you.
You just need to reach out and ask for help.
Now let’s take a look at some of the rewards you can expect from startup life.
The rewards of owning & growing a startup
Ah, it’s a beautiful Sunday morning, you are looking out at the calm ocean, and you are thinking to yourself: “I am my own boss! I can make my own rules! This is incredible!”
In the United States, 47.6% of small business owners said that being their own boss is a driving force behind their company’s creation.
Being your own boss comes with a lot of perks. You get to make all of the decisions, which can be both liberating and terrifying.
But, ultimately, it’s up to you to make your business a success. And that’s an incredibly rewarding feeling.
Another great thing about startup life is that you get to see your idea come to fruition. It’s one thing to have an idea, but it’s another thing to see it through and turn it into a reality.
If you worked on a project for years and finally saw it come to life, you would probably feel a great sense of accomplishment. The same goes for starting a business.
And, of course, there’s the financial reward. If your business is successful, you can make a lot of money.
But, it’s important to remember that money isn’t everything. Yes, it’s great to be financially successful, but it’s not the only thing that matters.
For many entrepreneurs, freedom and security are more important than making a lot of money. And that’s perfectly okay.
The most important thing is to find what matters to you and make sure that your business aligns with those values. If you do that, you’ll be on your way to a rewarding and fulfilling startup life.
As long as you keep your why in mind, you’ll be on the right track.
How to overcome the challenges of startup life & maximize success
Now that we’ve looked at some of the challenges and rewards of startup life, let’s talk about how to overcome the challenges and achieve success.
The first thing I have to mention is that there’s no hack or secret formula for this.
And even if you prepared for your career as an entrepreneur better than any human ever has, and you had the perfect team and product, you would still face challenges. This is just the nature of startup life.
So, what can you do to increase your chances of success? Let’s look at some things that might help:
Find a mentor
One of the best things you can do is find a mentor. A mentor is someone who has been through the startup process before and can help guide you through it.
A mentor can give you advice, introduce you to investors, and help you make connections.
Think about it this way: if you were going to climb Mount Everest, you would want to find a mentor who had done it before, right?
Attend networking events
Another great way to meet potential mentors, investors, and collaborators is to attend networking events.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “networking sounds so boring and painful.” But it doesn’t have to be.
There are all kinds of networking events out there, from happy hours to conferences. And you don’t have to go to every single event. Just pick a few that seem interesting and go from there.
You never know who you’ll meet and what opportunities will come your way.
Read books and blogs, and listen to podcasts on entrepreneurship
You have tons of free or very affordable resources at your disposal. These resources can provide valuable insights and advice on how to overcome the most common challenges faced by entrepreneurs.
Who knows, you can even get more inspiration or ideas for your business from them.
You will also learn about the different aspects of starting a business and give you an idea of what to expect. Of course, you shouldn’t get advice from just anyone. Make sure you’re getting advice from people who know what they’re talking about.
Join an entrepreneur group
Joining an entrepreneur group is a great way to connect with other entrepreneurs who are facing similar challenges. It’s also a great way to get advice and feedback on your business idea.
You can find entrepreneur groups online or in person. A great way to find entrepreneur groups in person is to go to startup events.
“But I’m so shy, I could never go to one of those events!”
I get it. I used to feel the same way. But you don’t have to be outgoing or extroverted to attend these events. Just go, meet a few people, and see what happens. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy it. Overthinking everything will only hold you back.
Well, this one is a bit controversial. Some people say that you should never outsource anything in your business because it’s your baby and you need to do everything yourself to be successful.
I disagree. I think there are certain things that you can and should outsource, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
For example, you might want to outsource your social media or blog content. This way, you can focus on other aspects of your business.
You can also outsource things like bookkeeping, customer service, and even some marketing tasks.
Outsourcing doesn’t mean that you’re lazy. It just means that you’re smart enough to know when you need help and that you’re not afraid to ask for it.
What is your business worth without sales? The answer is nothing.
And if it’s your business, who is responsible for making sales happen?
You are. But if you are focused on too many other aspects of your business, it’s easy to let sales fall by the wayside.
This is important. You cannot be working 24/7 and expect to be successful. You will burn out quickly if you try to do too much.
Step away from your business for a few hours or even a few days. Relax and recharge. You will come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on whatever challenges come your way.
Research shows that taking breaks increases job satisfaction and even lowers health problems, so don’t feel guilty about it.
It doesn’t help anybody if you’re so stressed out that you can’t function. Remember to rest, and your business will thank you for it.
Do you remember that list of things you want to do for your business? The one that’s a mile long and growing by the day?
Time to prioritize.
You can’t do everything at once, no matter how much you want to. You have to pick and choose what’s most important and focus on that. Otherwise, you’ll just end up feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.
Sit down and make a list of your priorities. Then, start working on the most important items first.
Think of something that if you get it done, everything else will be easier or unnecessary. That’s your priority. You can always come back to the others later.
Document your business processes
This is a tip that I wish I had followed from the beginning.
If you document your business processes, it will be much easier to hand off tasks to other people or even outsource them. And if you have a blueprint for how things should be done, it will save you a lot of time and energy when you’re training somebody new.
Think about all of the tasks that you do daily. Now, imagine if you didn’t have to do them all yourself. That would free up a lot of time, wouldn’t it?
You can always go back to your documented files and reference them later if you need to. Different checklists and workflows for each task help you remember what needs to be done and in what order.
Furthermore, consistency is key in any business, so having these processes documented will help ensure that things are done the same way every time.
What should you document then?
Well, your social media strategy, call scripts, email templates, blog post outlines, accounting procedures, you name it. If it’s a task that you do regularly, document it so somebody else can do it.
As you can see, there are a lot of different areas where you can create documentation. And I’m sure there are many more that I’m forgetting.
The point is if you want to make your life easier and grow faster, start documenting your business processes. It will save you a lot of time and energy in the long run.
The things I listed here are just a few ways to overcome the challenges. Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every entrepreneur is different, and what works for one might not work for another.
The important thing is to find what works for you and stick with it.
And don’t forget to have fun along the way. Yes, being an entrepreneur can be tough, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. So enjoy the ride!
The art of not burning out
Celebrating small successes: what a wonderful-sounding idea!
So often we get so wrapped up in the day-to-day grind that we forget to celebrate our accomplishments, both big and small.
A lot of people don’t realize that starting a business is a marathon, not a sprint. So it’s important to celebrate the small successes along the way. This will help keep you motivated and inspired to continue working towards your goals.
One way to celebrate your small successes is to treat yourself to something nice. This could be a new piece of clothing, a new gadget, or even just a nice dinner out.
Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that you really want and that will make you feel good.
Remember, the goal is to keep you motivated and inspired. So choose something that will do just that.
Another way of celebrating your success is sharing it with others. This could be as simple as posting about it on social media or sending out an email to your friends and family.
Sharing your successes helps you connect with other people who are supporting you on your journey. It also helps to spread the word about your business and what you’re doing.
Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your team’s successes as well. This is a great way to show your appreciation for their hard work and dedication. It will also help to build morale and keep everyone motivated.
So, go out there and start celebrating your successes! You deserve it, your business deserves it, and your team deserves it.
Embrace the challenges & watch yourself grow
If we lived in a perfect world, starting a business would be easy and stress-free. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and that’s just something we have to accept.
No matter how prepared you are, there will always be challenges to face and obstacles to overcome. But that’s okay because that’s what makes entrepreneurs so special.
We’re the ones who are willing to take on those challenges and turn them into something amazing.
So don’t be discouraged by the challenges you face. Embrace them, learn from them, and use them to make your business even better.
That’s it! I hope this article has helped you understand the challenges of starting a business and how to overcome them.
What do you think is the biggest challenge to overcome when starting a business? Let us know in the comments!
After several years spent developing and running different business models online, Oscar Rodriguez decided to shift gears and pursue his passion for writing. Over the past year, he has poured his time and energy into becoming a successful part-time author and a full-time blogger. You can visit him online at OssieRodriguez.com.