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