Being an entrepreneur is far from what some people make it out to be - a glamorous work-free life filled with vacation and fortune. This can be the case, once an entrepreneur arrives at a certain level, but until then the grit, energy, and time needed to make a business succeed can be taxing. It is just the price you have to pay for the financial freedom that you desire. It is hard. Entrepreneurship takes desperation, obsession, and level of focus that is beyond what many people are willing to do. A prominent example of this is when Mark Zuckerberg, when building Facebook, worked 80+ hour weeks just to get his business off the ground. You have to sacrifice a lot to be your own boss.
Entrepreneurship is worth it, but it may take months or even years before you reap the fruit of your efforts. Below are 2 things or struggles I have faced that no one tells you about being an entrepreneur:
1. Being my own boss requires a lot of time. A lot of it.
This is true no matter what level you aspire to rise to in the business world, but this is especially true if you want to become the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. Now, I will say that you don't have to spend 80+ hours a week working on your business like Zuckerberg did if becoming a billionaire isn't your goal. But, it would still be wise to invest a considerable amount of time into your business even if it is a part-time one, like in my case. And this time needs to be time in which you are hyper-focused if you seek to truly maximize your time.
As a high school senior, I wish I did not have homework or college applications to complete, so I could devote even more time to my business. There is no way that I can spend 80+ hours a week on my business. I don't even spend that much time in school! Most weeks I probably spend a good 10-15 hours on my business, including 30 minutes to an hour on weekdays, and several hours on Saturday and Sunday. I aim for 3-5 hours on Saturdays and 1-3 hours on Sundays. While it's nowhere near 80 hours a week, this is still a lot for most people.
On the bright side, I don't have bills to pay or real-world responsibilities, which makes it relatively easier for me than if I had started this journey as an adult.
Here are just a few of the many things that I do when spending time working on Leave Ur Marks:
- Running a business requires a lot of research and reading. I read a book for 20 minutes every day, and I also read tons of articles on various topics related to business - really anything I can find. I strongly suggest you read regularly as well, regardless of whether or not you seek to become your own boss. Reading is beneficial for anyone. I enjoy reading, so this hardly feels like a chore. (If you want to know what you ought to read, then I urge you to read my article "3 Books That Will Make You Successful." Comment on it and share it because I'd love to know what you think!)
- After reading, I do my best to implement the strategies that are mentioned in the articles and books.
- I am currently working on finishing up a few blog posts. Over the summer I had let blogging go to focus on marketing, and their roles have now flip-flopped. It can be difficult juggling several different roles that are all equally important, especially when you are the only employee of your business. Though they are important, I am working on trying not to spend as much time writing each post because this can be time-consuming.
- Lately, I've been so focused on restructuring my website and writing blog posts that I have to some extent, neglected marketing. This is the most important part of running a business, in my opinion. If people don't know you exist, you can't make money. When writing Facebook or Google ads, I ask myself questions like these: What kind of ad should I write? On what social media platform would I get the most return for my money? What is my budget? Who is my target audience? What item from my store should I promote?
With entrepreneurship, it would not be wise to focus on one of these things for a long period, which is a mistake that I have definitely made. Focusing on a combination of the things mentioned above is what will elevate you to the next level. It will be tough and you will make mistakes, but the key is to not avoid the struggle and the pain. You have to wear many hats as an entrepreneur, and sometimes you won't know how to wear them, but a lot of this unique journey involves figuring it out along the way.
2. Being an entrepreneur has not made me a ton of money yet.
Let's face it: Financial instability plays a large role in the lives of entrepreneurs, especially for the first year of it. Entrepreneurship probably won't make you a lot, if any, money in the beginning. Like most entrepreneurs, you will probably lose money in the beginning - probably a good bit of it. This is one reason why most people never start a business.
I started my business eight months ago, thinking that I would have many loyal customers besides my mother. I knew that business was hard, but as with most things in life, there's nothing like getting a firsthand experience at something. I didn't fully understand how hard being in business would be until I started Leave Ur Marks.
There are countless days where I truly want to give up. Life would be easier if I didn't have to run a business. I could have more fun. I could devote more time to my musical aspirations. Sometimes I don't know how to keep going or what to do to keep going. Sometimes it seems as if I've exhausted all my options for ways to earn sales from my business. I've done almost anything I could think of doing to earn money - tell everyone I know about my store, call churches to ask to be a vendor at an event or to design shirts for them, advertise on Facebook and Google ads, etc - and nothing seems to be working. Lately, I've been praying every single day, begging God to send me customers so I can earn money. It feels as if God is silent. No one is buying anything from my store. People visit my store and then leave without purchasing. People abandon their shopping carts and never return. It is extremely disappointing. I have invested hundreds, if not a few thousand dollars, plus eight months of my life into this business which feels like it will never work out.
Despite the daily struggle to earn money, I have learned that as an entrepreneur, I have to keep going when I have no reason to keep going or evidence that I should keep going. This means still posting to Instagram twice a week even if only five people like the post or if only 50 people see my Instagram story. This means continually making videos even if no one watches them, or writing blog posts even if only seven people read them and no one shares them or comments on them. This means still offering free Bible studies even though no one has signed up. I have had to dig down deep to believe that I can earn money consistently at some point. My day will come!
I want to warn anyone is thinking about starting a business: Be prepared to live solely on faith. Be prepared for late or sleepless nights. Be prepared to work long hours. Be prepared for an unstable source of income for a while. Be prepared to want to quit something more than you ever have in your life. Are you ready for the struggles that come with entrepreneurship? A business may not make you money at first, but here's the good news: If you stick with it, eventually it will! your day will come! If you quit, however, you'll never get anything out of it.
I became an entrepreneur in part to challenge myself, and also because I have the drive and passion that it takes to make great things happen in my life. There's nothing like the feeling of seeing a creation of yours make an impact in ways you never thought of possible, and this is what I hope for Leave Ur Marks. Yes, I am seeking to earn money from LUMs, of course, but it all ties back to the passion and drive that God gave me to make the world a better place.
As a bonus, go watch this video titled "The Mental Battle of an Entrepreneur - 'Good Voice, Bad Voice'" by Valuetainment.
Valuetainment is a Youtube channel created by multi-millionaire, Patrick Bet-David, that provides weekly "How To" videos, interviews with millionaires, entrepreneurial lessons, and life lessons. His channel has tons of videos that have been helpful to me, and the videos can apply to anyone, entrepreneur or not. Don't just stop after watching this one video; go watch all of the videos on Valuetainment! I guarantee you will get something out of them.