Recently, Founder and CEO Michael Fear of Get Better Today wrote “Don’t be Fooled: Entrepreneurship isn’t Instant Gratification.” Fear’s point is to remind aspiring entrepreneurs that “there is no such thing as overnight success” and that being an entrepreneur takes perseverance beyond just needing to survive a few stressful months in a row. As he points out, all too often people have the wrong idea that entrepreneurs hit success overnight.
The type of perseverance an entrepreneur needs is similar to the perseverance that’s demanded from athletes. Marathon runners, for example, must train for months on end, often withstanding injuries and running in less-than-favorable weather conditions. Think New York City’s July heat and humidity! Not only do marathoners have to deal with grueling training schedules, but they also have to make sacrifices such as abstaining from late nights out with friends the day before long runs and cutting out unhealthy foods.
While entrepreneurs aren’t dealing with physical injuries, they certainly need to be prepared to deal with “harsh conditions” for several months to several years. For instance, Under30CEO’s Jared O’Toole lived with his parents for over 18 months when he and his partner were first starting out. Even once he moved out from his parents’ house, he still had to persevere through months of barely having enough money to pay for food and a metro card.
When Ryan J. Healy, Ryan Paugh, and Penelope Trunk began working together to launch Brazen Careerist, Paugh and Healy had to move from the east coast out to Wisconsin, each having about a thousand dollars a month to live off of. Healy didn’t love Wisconsin, but living in a place that wasn’t home was a sacrifice he had to endure.
If you’re a fledgling entrepreneur and you aren’t independently wealthy, you will most likely experience many hardships such as having no cash-flow, living in crappy apartments with roommates you’d rather not have, working long work hours, and having no social life.
And if you do have a financial cushion, you’ll still need to persevere through failure. Mimi Omiecinski, founder of Princeton Tour Company started out by giving bike tours around Princeton. When she wasn’t getting any business, many people advised her to cut her losses and close shop. She endured the criticism, changed her business plan to offer walking tours, and today has a thriving business that’s well known in Princeton and beyond. Keep in mind that she didn’t start really having success until 3 years after she started her business.
The ability to persevere as an entrepreneur is all about whether or not you can tolerate dealing with unfavorable circumstances for an extended period of time. But reading about ideas can only help you so much. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, the only way you’ll really know if you can persevere is by doing. So get started!
Suzanne Kaplan is the founder of Jobtalknj.com, which features interviews with people about their jobs and other career-related articles. As an unemployed High School English teacher, she decided that she can’t wait around for the right job, so she has tapped into her entrepreneurial spirit and is starting her own business.