Magazines and TV shows are great at spotlighting entrepreneurship's glamorous side. However, these programs and publications don't always show the more difficult moments involved in running a business. As a result, many readers and even some "Shark Tank" fans might not truly understand how difficult it is to "make it" as an entrepreneur until they try it themselves.
If you're thinking about starting your own business or side hustle, here are four harsh truths you'll need to understand.
You might have a great idea, but you will need to continually test and challenge it. If your idea doesn't get traction, you'll need to adapt it to ensure it meets your customers' needs. If you are successful, rivals will copy your idea and you will need to find ways to stay innovative and relevant.
Furthermore, you'll need to put in a significant amount of hard work to turn your idea or dream into a successful business. To do this, you will need to get comfortable with new tasks in unfamiliar fields, from drafting a business plan to crafting your marketing strategy.
Unlike a traditional job, you won't have a manager setting goals for you. You'll need to find ways to push your business forward and keep the momentum going.
Entrepreneurship is not a predictable path that offers regular hours and manageable work-life balance. As a founder, especially when you start, you'll fill a variety of roles ranging from financial officer to sales leader to public relations manager.
With every new thing you learn, you will wonder how you can do even more. You will always stumble upon better ideas and solutions, and there will always be an opportunity you wish you had taken.
Don't be surprised to find yourself thinking about work when you're at home, with loved ones, at the gym, on vacation or even in your sleep. It can easily take a toll on the all areas of your life.
Since you are doing something that you have never done before, you will experience setbacks. Understand that most founders have faced moments that made them question how they would keep going. The way you react in these moments will count the most.
Sometimes things will work out better than you could have possibly imagined. Other times, you will be surprised by events you did not predict. Embrace these moments and be grateful for the chance to improve and be more prepared for the future.
Being an entrepreneur takes courage. Your hard work will not guarantee you success or even a dependable income. Now and then, you'll find yourself at a fork in the road and you won't know which path to take. This is normal.
In these moments, reach out to others who have been in the spot you are in, facing the same challenges you are facing. Your decisions will not be easier to make but you will have the support and information you need to make smarter choices.
Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone. It's scary, messy and grueling. But remember: any success you gain from your hard-earned labor will bring you a sense of satisfaction and pride that's difficult to find any other way.
Elle Kaplan is the founder and CEO of LexION Capital, a fiduciary wealth management firm in New York City, serving high-net-worth individuals. She is also the chief investment officer and founder of LexION Alpha.
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