• Entrepreneurship

Five Emotions to Overcome as an Entrepreneur

Futurpreneur | September 24, 2015

The business world is often portrayed as a temple of pragmatism, inhabited by disciples and prophets of pure and perfect rationalism. But, it’s actually the complete opposite! In reality, the business world is made up of sensible people who occasionally express intense emotions.

The world of entrepreneurship is no exception. It’s a huge responsibility to quit your job, invest yourself financially and try to create a new business. Starting a project like this means going through different psychological phases, including some difficult-to-manage emotions. The entrepreneurs I work with experience a large range of emotions, which are unique to their own experiences. In this article, I will talk about five common emotions many entrepreneurs experience, and share some advice on how to best manage each one.

The anxiety from having a good idea

I’ve found it! It’s the idea of the century! I’m going to be rich! Someone will beat me to it if I don’t move quickly!

While it might seem wonderful to have a found a great business idea, I’ve noticed that this rarely results in blissful happiness for an entrepreneur. The most common reaction is a mix of excitement and anxiety. This comes from the feeling that your good idea might slip through your fingers and be carried out by someone else.

The danger of this emotion is that it can cause people to act rashly. While it’s important to take action, it’s not recommended to act based on an impulse or fear. This feeling of urgency to launch a business before the idea is lost can lead to a disproportionate financial investment and, above all, a poorly-timed launch.

If you are in this situation, tell yourself simply that the business idea is not a business model, and an idea does not guarantee success. You need to take the time to develop a profitable business model that will set you – and your new company – up for success.

The quality of your idea is not the only thing that matters when you enter the market. You must also be sure you can execute it well – that’s where success lies.

The disappointment of finding a new competitor

He’s doing exactly what I’m doing! He’s taken my idea! That’s exactly my concept!

It’s painful to see another person creating a business based on your concept. I understand the sadness entrepreneurs experience when a new competitor challenges the space they’ve carved out for their business. Feeling a deep commitment toward a project is characteristic of an entrepreneur, and it is normal to struggle with this situation.

It may come as a surprise, but this is actually great news! If a new competitor has launched a similar business then you have the perfect guinea pig right in front of you! He or she will help you to do some of the work of educating the market about your product or service, and likely save you from making some errors. Give this new player a chance, and you’ll surely profit from a key opportunity to improve your business model.

The fear of taking on debt

I don’t want to be in debt! No, I don’t want to rely too much on funding! I want to try not to take on debt!

It can seem like taking on debt is unhealthy, but that’s a false belief when it comes to entrepreneurship. Avoiding debt is important when it comes to managing your personal budget, but for a business it is a whole other story. It’s very important to have as much cash as possible when you start a business, because if you run out of cash there is no coming back.  Since it’s necessary for the business to be able to meet its obligations, cash flow becomes a key element to success.

Entrepreneurship implies a certain amount of financial responsibility and commitment, something every entrepreneur needs to understand. An aspiring business owner must have the necessary financial leverage before finalizing his or her idea.

It is normal to gasp at the total cost of a project. It might seem imposing; however, it has to be viewed as just one more step in the entrepreneurial journey. It’s a part of the whole entrepreneurship adventure, and it’s an important preventative measure for the health of the business.

The feeling of breathlessness

I work on my business all the time! I see no one! I don’t have a life!

I have heard this many times. Let’s face it – starting a business is demanding. That being said, there is an important distinction to make. If you say I don’t have a life as a figure of speech, that’s fine. If you say it because it’s true, that’s a problem! It is important that you give yourself space from being an entrepreneur. The work is important, but it must not take all of your time. And that is much easier to say than to do.

I’ve helped entrepreneurs create that healthy distance between themselves and their businesses, so that their personal life doesn’t suffer, and also for the health of the business. You have to tell yourself that a business needs a champion. If the champion is out of breath, the business is also out of breath. If the champion is frustrated, the business is frustrated. If the champion is sick, the business, too, will become sick.

It is important that the entrepreneur takes care of his or herself and personal life. This implies taking care of his or her mental health, physical health and social life. The success of your business depends on it.

The feeling of loneliness

No one understands what I’m trying to do! My friends tell me it will not work! My mother tells me I need to get a job!

You’re alone at the controls. This phrase perfectly describes the reality of an entrepreneur. It is normal for some people in your circle to not understand what you do. It’s also normal for others to not support you or to even disapprove of your choice to launch a business. The last case is less and less frequent with the promotion of entrepreneurship, but we still see it a lot!

Entrepreneurs must develop a healthy assertiveness with the people in their lives. They have to find a way out of that solitude on their own and not wait for others to help. Entrepreneurs must have confidence in their approach and in their knowledge of the market. Having this attitude helps to detach yourself from the lack of support or understanding by your circle about your choice to start a business. It is normal to expect a certain social validation of your efforts. You have to know that the essence of being an entrepreneur is to embark on an adventure that few people will ever experience or fully understand. That’s the very definition of an entrepreneur.

Written by: Jean-Philippe L’Écuyer, Entrepreneur in Residence at Futurpreneur Canada, jplecuyer@futurpreneur.ca