The dark side of entrepreneurship

It’s easy to fool yourself by saying that work is life. But it’s vital to maintain a work-life balance. Don’t forget to live and be grateful

Updated: Aug 24, 2016 09:21:08 AM UTC
Most entrepreneurs keeping adding on to what comes their way but forget about a systematic approach towards scale (Photo: Shutterstock)

Being your own boss is a concept that everybody seems smitten by because it’s just absolutely lovely. Yes, entrepreneurship is amazing and there’s nothing as exciting as creating something you truly believe in and want to see it scale various leaps and bounds. But, very often, one tends to lose focus and run behind one specific element versus a balance between it all.

Here are a few elements that form the dark side of entrepreneurship and routes towards overcoming, or completely avoiding them.

Balance: Your work-life balance will seem like something you don’t need because you’ve convinced yourself and others around you that your work is your life. Big mistake! The mind needs distractions and rebooting every now and then.

Health: It will take a toll on you eventually. The sooner you can rectify it, the better it is for you.

Trust: People will come, people will go, people will take certain learnings and use it someplace else. You will lose trust and question everything and everyone. Stay real. Everyone has to learn and move on; the only constant will be you and you should be confident enough to manage by knowing that. Don’t stop trusting; don’t stop believing because that would just result in you falling. Benefit of doubt (BOD) works wonders in most cases here.

Mood swings: There will be dark days and there will be extremely dark days. But there will also be awesome days where everything you work for seems worth it. Hold on to that thought, keep breathing through the lows and keep it real. What also helps is finding a support system / partner / mentor / lover - someone who you can speak with and vent out or seek advice from. Sometimes even just someone you can lay it all in front of.

Vision: Most don’t have one. “Hey, this is a brilliant idea, let’s do it” or “Hey, I’ve just quit my job and this seems really easy and I have a client already let’s do it” are the most common businesses that seem to be cropping up. Before you go any further, get back to the drawing board and figure out what you wish to achieve out of the company you are setting up. If your vision is to make quick money, so be it. Just know what you want to do and work towards it. Plenty of websites provide you with support towards creating a vision. Use them. The more you move into your business, the path will get more blurry unless you have a vision that you’re driving towards.

Money: When you say it’s not about the money, that’s you fooling yourself. You need money in today’s age and time to not only survive but also to evolve and become bigger and more powerful. You also need it because you truly deserve it. Pay yourself along with paying others. Make sure you scale it up each year or even twice a year if you’re doing well. Grow along with your company and invest and splurge in adequate proportions.

Scale: Most entrepreneurs keep adding on to what comes their way but forget about a systematic approach towards scale. If you aren’t making a minimum of 60 percent profits out of your services business, you’re doing it all wrong. (Unless your aim is towards scaling at a massive level towards a sell-out. This of course is more prevalent in products.

Don’t get that fancy, big office or high profile CXO unless you can truly afford it or unless it promises to give you returns within three months.  Ideally, afford it and then purchase it. Don’t go the route of: I will get a fancy office and lure in a fancy CXO who will lure in new fancy clients. You and your work should be your core driving factor to getting your team on board. If they’re in it for the fancy office, they’ll leave you for a fancier one. Another element of scale is keeping a quality and quantity check. Very often, entrepreneurs in their need to scale the business take on everything that comes their way and forget the core reason why they left their last job or took up their first client - the need to do quality work that makes a difference and helps you stand out from the clutter is essential if you have long-term scale in mind.

The darkest part of being an entrepreneur is forgetting to live and be grateful. Don’t let that happen to you.

- By Zafar Rais-CEO, MindShift Interactive

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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