While there is nothing more titillating than the prospect of a new idea or project, there is a sobering truth about entrepreneurship that people seldom talk about. Truths, in fact. This article is not meant to be depressing, nor is it really a warning against becoming an entrepreneur, it is merely a reminder that the glamorous images we sometimes associate with entrepreneurship often really are the highlight reel. Especially when it comes to the initial stages of entrepreneurship.
The first truth I wanted to touch upon is that of failure. As an early entrepreneur, you will encounter failure. Many times. These failures may come in the form of ‘nos’, unsuccessful attempts at finding clients, an unpopular product, or, more than likely, failure to acquire investors as enthusiastic about your idea as you are. Sometimes, I like to think of it as hitting a brick wall (I’ve been slamming into those all week). When you are committed to your idea and dream and are willing to do anything to make it a reality, you will need to make sure you’ve got the padding to soften the blow when you hit those walls. And with time, you yourself will become accustomed to it. Brick walls can become soft landings.
What you need to remember at this point is that behind one of the failures you will encounter lies success.
The suspense of entrepreneurship is in that you never know behind which failure success waits.
Success could be behind the first failure, or the fifth, or the fiftieth. But it most definitely is there. You just have to have the grit and the tenacity to keep going.
It’s not something to feel sorry for yourself about. It’s not something to sulk or willow in misery about. It is merely a truth that you’ll need to take in your stride if you choose to go down this path. Don’t’ get me wrong – the world needs your idea and your genius –but you need to have the determination, the courage to keep on going in order to deliver it. Remember that 12 publishers rejected J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter, and Bill Gates went bankrupt before Microsoft went off. Imagine if J.K Rowling had given up after her seventh rejection?
I’m sure you’ve heard such examples before. Now, as I mentioned, you will need to have the tenacity to keep pushing forward. I remember an old supervisor telling me that 20% was intelligence and the rest was tenacity. Only he was talking about completing a Ph.D. thesis in biotechnology – can you believe that?
Tenacity will come in many shapes and sizes. But it rarely comes in the shape of repeating the same formula. You will need to remember that when you encounter failure. Learn from your mistakes and tweak your approach. You might hold onto your idea and try to sell it differently –or you might try to sell it to a different market. Change up your sales pitch. You might decide to change your product. Lisa Messenger explains that as long as you hold true to your core message, there is no harm in changing your product. You could altogether suspend your project and try to get your idea/message across through a different product or project. There is nothing wrong with that.
On the coarse road of entrepreneurship, you will pivot a lot. You will learn a lot. And you will change a lot. You must be willing to do all of this in order to succeed. And as I mentioned, success will be waiting for you. And it is only a matter of when before you reach it.