For years, while dreaming about working for myself, I thrived on any advice an entrepreneur would share. I'd go to work with my Dad and he would introduce me to his colleagues who would all ask "and what do you want to do when you grow up?". Most of the time, regardless of how I replied, they would say "oh thats great, work hard and you'll do well".
THAT is what I call good advice for an entrepreneur. Work hard, try your best, know yourself, ask for help, trust your gut. Those things are helpful. A little fluffy and generic, but helpful for the budding entrepreneur.
Until something goes wrong. Perhaps your credit card number is stolen in the midst of your busy season and they max out the limit so you can't buy more inventory. Or you catch a customer stealing from you. Or your only staff of two years quits with no notice, two weeks before your wedding. Or hey, the heat in the apartment above the space you rent was left off, the pipes freeze, and water destroys your shop (twice in one week), and you are forced to close for 6 weeks for renovations (plus all of the things that can go wrong with renovations). When things go wrong - and yes, those are just a few of the real challenges we've faced - it's really hard to keep your chin up.
It is really easy however to think, "well, if I was a better entrepreneur this wouldn't have happened," or "if I had worked a little harder things would be going differently". There are so many days I wish I just knew what to do.
As an entrepreneur you don't have anyone telling you what to do next.
The advice that people share with you is just that. It is advice. It's still up to you to make decisions on your own. When you feel like you've hit rock bottom it's up to you to figure out how to move forward. In the midst of all of the challenges and decisions you have to make, it's up to you to find a way to remember all of that good advice that successful entrepreneurs have shared with you in the past.
But man oh man it is ever hard to keep your chin up when you're facing so many challenges all at once. I can trust my gut, and ask for help and work hard, but it is so hard to keep a smile on my face and pretend that I think everything is going to be ok.
I think THAT is the most challenging part of being an entrepreneur - fighting the urge to hide how you really feel.
The hardest part of being an entrepreneur is actually FIGURING OUT HOW TO REALLY FEEL. You are constantly hit with a wave of emotions.
So are you a budding entrepreneur seeking advice? Or have you been an entrepreneur for a while and are still seeking advice (a good entrepreneur is always seeking advice)? Well I have something to share with you. Here it goes...
Try your best.
Ask for help.
Trust your gut.
And the single most important piece of advice I can share with you is something I've laughed at in the past. Something I thought was silly for others to say. But this piece of advice is one of the reasons I'm able to keep my chin up during really hard times.
As an entrepreneur you have to be PROUD of everything you've accomplished and celebrate the little things. You've been working really hard to build something great, and although you've hit a bump in the road things could always be worse.
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