The Entrepreneurial Punch in the Mouth

Uhm, nope, the entrepreneur doesn’t do the punching in this piece…

Seasoned entrepreneurs know that they will eventually get punched in the mouth.

A lot.

This is the litmus test for new entrepreneurs, and remains one key reason why the majority of people don’t take the plunge.

When you are starting up, you have all sorts of enthusiasm. Everyone is excited. The energy is palpable. You think you’ve got a great plan in place. YEAH! I’M GOING TO MAKE IT BIG, WORLD!

Then you get punched in the mouth.

You lay sprawled on the floor. There is blood all over. Your plan has gone up in smoke.

How will you react?

The following are punches in the mouth that I’ve personally gone through, or have seen friends gone through:

  • You discover that the super-duper, world-changing, paradigm-shifting, world-beating, the-word-innovation-fails-in-describing idea that you had is actually already being done. And they are doing it so much better than you imagined.
  • Your parents don’t support your leap
  • Co-founders leaving
  • There’s just no money in the bank anymore, and your employees are asking for their salaries
  • Your biggest client sends you casual fax message that they are letting you go
  • The prized employee who singlehandedly built your system leaves for Singapore
  • You realize the product you spent all this time building has no market
  • Facebook or google decides to create a feature which happens to be your main selling point
  • No one believes in your idea (or in essence, in you) enough to fund it

These are the type of things I never ever felt in corporate, so when I started getting punched like this, sometimes one after another, it was jarring.

We keep hearing things like “will” and “perseverance” associated with entrepreneurs.

This is why.

No matter how much it is glamorized (especially nowadays), being an entrepreneur is DIFFICULT.

We get punched like that for the first time, we fall. And more than the shock, more than the pain, the overwhelming thing which creeps in is doubt. Sitting down reeling and dazed, the thought that will circle back time after time is: can I really do this?

How you recover, how you ignore the pain, how you CHOOSE to repeatedly get up, how you go on with hardly any motivation, will greatly determine how far you will go in being an entrepreneur. It is a grind.

Are you ready to get punched in the mouth?

6 thoughts on “The Entrepreneurial Punch in the Mouth

  • Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth – Mike Tyson

    I can totally resonate with this post being a noobie when it comes to entrepreneurship. People think that being an entrepreneur is all about sunshine and rainbows and that all we need is funding and we’re good to go. But entrepreneurship isn’t as simple as that, it’s a complex field filled with uncertainties. We shouldn’t be afraid to get punched in the face cause even the greatest boxer will eventually get punched…whether he likes it or not – that’s just the way it is. What matters is what we do after getting punched, stand up and hit back as hard as we can.

    • Who would’ve thought Tyson would get quoted philosophically? 🙂 Great quote.

      I read somewhere that if an entrepreneur isn’t getting his ass kicked – if he isn’t encountering much difficulty – then he isn’t swinging for the fences. He’s not stretching the way he should be.

  • I have been in traditional buisness (clothing retail) for 28 years. I have opened, traded and sold 7 out of 8 stores (1 to go!!!) have seen all the uips and downs, and had plenty of punches in the mouth….all good though I am a lot wiser for it. So difficult to have the newest and best thing to come onto the market without someone ripping it off immediately. Business is not the same as when I firs ventured, however, it is great times now for those who think outside the square.
    So what I have done is somewhat insulated myself in that I have picked a direction to go in buisnessness that has minimal outlay, with maximum ROI. Of course we all have to work hard at ANY venture, however I have found that if you can use a great business model, such as a very good Direct Sales Company that has a great product/s that suits your way of life and your sorrounding environment, work hard, then the good companies will protect you. They will litigate at a moments notice to protect their brand/product etc…… I think that this industry is the best for those who are not gifted at inventing etc…… Even Robert Kyiosaki advocates this industry, so does Buffet, so does Trump, Branson and others. Why do all these wealthy businessmen advocate and recommend Direct Sales when the average ‘joe blogs’ thinks it’s a rippoff scam. They obvously have not done the homework that myself and many millions of others have done……
    My point is ……. no need to get punched in the mouth….do your homework, find a good company for you and go so hard that evenif someone punched you, you would not feel it…..
    That’s what I have done……. and loving it….. Bit of advice from an old dog!!! 🙂

  • thanks for this very timely post for me…having lived a very lucrative career of an engineer abroad for 10 years then coming back to the philippines to follow my dream of being an entrepreneur, i can totally relate to this post. it’s been more than two years since i put up my company and i have dealt with several punches to the point that i am now back abroad pondering on returning to the high-flying career i used to have…but deep inside, no matter how emotionally and financially illogical, i still want to go back to being my own boss. and yes, i am going back. thanks for this!

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