March 19, 2012
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Does this business come with instructions? It’s good for the economy and good for you! Universities now offer classes on it. You may have even heard about the latest promising startups or companies that failed because they were ahead of their time. But there’s more to entrepreneurship — a lot more – than most business owners are willing to admit.
Here’s what I wish I had known early on about entrepreneurship, things that you will inevitably learn along the way.
1. You will change.
If people say you’ve changed, of course you have. Starting a business will challenge you. Entrepreneurship will push you leagues outside of your comfort zone. And once you’ve done the impossible, defied logic or simply lived beyond your own fears you will undoubtedly change. You cannot build a successful business and stay the same. You will develop personally and professionally – and that’s a commendable achievement.
2. It’s a lifestyle – not a crash diet.
Entrepreneurship isn’t a crash diet. You simply can’t binge on your business and then take a few months off. Starting a business will consume you and alter your social relationships, information consumption, habits and more — for the better. A conventional lifestyle is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think about business ownership. No matter who you are or where you came from you instantly become part of a “members only club” and life as you knew it will never be the same.
3. You’ll learn every discipline known to man.
Do you like finance, leadership and organizational behavior, marketing, technology, strategy, sales etc? If not, keep your day job. Entrepreneurship will teach you things you didn’t learn in b-school and give you a newfound appreciation for “life-long learners.” This means that no matter how accomplished you become, you will not always be the smartest person in the room. Your ability to acquire knowledge and execute on it will define you and your business.
4. You are your brand.
It’s hard to separate a company from its founder at first. As time progresses you can build brand equity that exists outside of your persona. But for the good or the bad, you’re it! Consequently, it’s important to shy away from certain personal branding mistakes. Sharing too much on your social networks, a lack of quality control in external communications and trying to be all things to all people aren’t the best ways to start. Instead spend time establishing a unique presence amongst industry peers to drive credibility and maximize social proof.
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