Every week, we answer a common question about marketing or an aspect of business. This week, our question comes from a fan who entered our giveaway contest for a smartwatch. Today, we will answer the following question: “is it hard to start your own business?”
Yes. Yes, it is. End of article.
You’ve heard the clichés and you know the statistics. It’s said that less than 30% of businesses make it past the 10 year mark. That’s a massive failure rate, especially when you consider that people who start businesses tend to be smart and highly motivated.
I’ve been running Pangea Marketing for nearly two years now, and I was running Pangea Games as far back as 2015. Only time can tell how things will shake out, so I can only speak from my personal experience. Currently, I’m right in the thick of it – the business pays my bills and then some, I’ve got an employee, and we manage work on behalf of several clients.
In this article, I’m going to tell you why starting a business is hard as hell. I’m also going to tell you why you should do it anyway 😉
Starting your own business is a ton of work.
The first thing that’s striking about starting your own business is just how much work it is. The act of bringing the business into existence legally is easy. It’s everything else that’s difficult.
Consider all of the steps that going into starting a business:
- You need to find a real market need and come up with a way to meet it. Achieving this product-market fit takes time, experimentation, and research.
- After identifying the needs you want to meet and finding a target audience, you have to clearly define how to meet those needs. For product-based businesses, that means you have to manufacture, store, sell, and ship products. For service-based businesses, you have to hone your skills and figure out how to provide a better experience than your competition.
- You need to secure funding.
- Finally, you need a way to find customers or clients and convince them to pay you.
This is not even getting into the legal aspects of starting a business, or the technical ones like invoicing or payroll. These steps just cover the broad strategic work that you’ll need to do – and every step is hard. Even if you’re really efficient, odds are, you’re going to log the occasional 70- or 80-hour week.
You’re going to be uncomfortable.
At first, running a business means you need to wear a lot of hats. You’ll be doing work that you’re not comfortable with. Your zone of discomfort could start with accounting or marketing, or it might be networking. Either way, you’ll constantly be forced by the necessity of the survival of the business to do things that scare you.
Even when you develop a basic level of competency in all the areas you need to, you’ll still have some room for worry. Employees, clients, and customers will all be counting on you. Responsibilities will add up, and if you miss a deadline, there could be real negative consequences.
Granted, the discomfort of learning and responsibility become background noise after a while. You do get used to it, and you certainly grow from it! Yet like soreness after working out well, it lingers in the background for a while even as you achieve new levels of fitness.
From freedom, comes anxiety.
Once you achieve a certain level of profitability, you can focus entirely on your business. It will no longer be a side gig or an experiment – it becomes a real paycheck. This is an incredibly satisfying point to reach!
Yet even when the business is standing on its own, there is an anxiety that comes with the freedom. Freedom means you have more choices, and that means you have to make a choice! Making choices, of course, can be absolutely exhausting. You may find yourself fearing that you’ll make the wrong choice.
After a while, you adjust once more to the anxiety of freedom. You learn about what you value and how to make the right decisions for the business. Eventually, it becomes easy to make consequential decisions about the direction you are going to take the business in.
You should still start your business – it’s worth it.
All my talk of hard work, discomfort, and anxiety might scare you away from starting your business. Don’t let it! I haven’t regretted starting this business for a single day, even on the really terrible ones.
The simple fact is, if you feel drawn to starting a business, then you should try as hard as you can to make it happen. Do your homework and make sure you don’t risk money you can’t afford to lose, sure. But give it a go anyway!
The fact is, even attempting to start a business and falling on your face is worth it. The process of starting a business will teach you a bunch of practical skills, grow you as a person, and force you to think about what matters. Taken alone, these are all good reasons to start a business.
On top of that, people who start businesses don’t do so isolation. Starting a business will make you network with like-minded people. Even if things don’t pan out, you will make some meaningful connections. It’s just a matter of time. The process of starting a business will open doors for you, even if the business itself does not open the doors.
Yes. Yes, starting a business is brutally hard. But nevertheless, it is worth it. If you feel like it’s your destiny, then you owe to yourself to take the smartest, most well-calculated path you can find toward it.