People may romanticize the life of an entrepreneur. But the reality of starting your own business is that it’s difficult and often unglamorous. To make it and live the dream of being a successful business owner, you’re going to weather a lot of setbacks. Persistence and perseverance are two of the most important traits every entrepreneur needs to develop to push past the obstacles to success. You could have the best, most exciting product or service in the world, but you’re still going to need a boatload of perseverance to sell it. So how do you do it? How do you get past the punches, persevering as an entrepreneur, which would make most people run back to the safety of a full-time job with a salary and benefits? Here are 5 tips to help you.
1. Find your community
Being a business owner can feel very lonely. You won’t be working in an office until you have the team and funding to need one, so you’ll be alone with your thoughts much of the time. Fortunately, the Internet makes it very easy to connect with other entrepreneurs going through the same process you are. It’s a lot easier to get over the feeling of not hitting your sales goals when you have someone who understands to talk to. Plus, finding a community means you’ll have a resource for working through problems should they come up. Find a mastermind, a mentor, or a social media group that you feel comfortable in and start making connections.
2. Understand your needs
Everyone has different needs when it comes to self-care. You need to be able to step away from your business to recharge regularly. That means limiting the all-nighters 14-hour days to when they’re necessary—not as an ongoing strategy. You’ll burn out quickly and have trouble persevering if you don’t have any techniques for recharging your batteries.
Recharging means making room for fun and plenty of sleep, but it might also include something like meditation or yoga. Yoga can be a great way to feel more centred while gaining strength and flexibility. Acupuncture, which can treat upwards of 64 conditions, is another way some entrepreneurs relax. Everyone is different, which means it’s important to find something that works for you!
3. Take actions
The difference between successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs is action. Successful entrepreneurs know that if they just keep taking actions and tweaking their approach, they can create the results they want. Unsuccessful entrepreneurs talk about what they want to do—but never end up taking the action needed to support that vision. Persevering means taking action when you’ve encountered a setback, instead of letting yourself dwell on the problem. Action-oriented entrepreneurs learn from their setbacks and use them as fuel for their next approach.
4. Anticipate rejection and setbacks
Every single entrepreneur hears the word “no” about a million times when they’re first building a business. If you anticipate that you will come up against rejection and setbacks, it should make it easier to overcome these setbacks and challenges. Steeling yourself for the normal ups and downs of entrepreneurship will help you persevere through the tough times.
5. Take responsibility
Most people, when faced with a problem, tend to slip into a victim mentality. They avoid taking responsibility for their situation and don’t think about how they might be able to improve the situation. To persevere, you need to take responsibility for your success or failure. What actions can you take to get what you want and change your situation? How can you use adversity to do better moving forward? It can be very scary to take responsibility for everything in your life, but it’s the best way to persevere through the tough journey of entrepreneurship. Once you start taking responsibility, you take back control—and you can do anything.
Still, Feeling Down?
If you’re experiencing ongoing problems persevering in the face of business adversity, you may need to ask yourself some tough questions. First, you’ll want to think about whether you might have a mood disorder that could be improved with treatment. Seasonal Affective Disorder, for instance, affects about 5% of the US population and can cause symptoms of depression during the winter months. Ruling out underlying health problems can be a first step in improving your mood and ability to persevere.
However, if you’re healthy, you may need to look at your reasons for becoming an entrepreneur and decide if being a business owner is what you want. It’s not a life for everyone, and there’s no shame in deciding to take a step back. With that said, perseverance pays off in a big way—and successful entrepreneurs wouldn’t live their lives any other way.
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Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He is currently writing a book about scaling up business and his experience implementing lean methodology.