Why is entrepreneurship so difficult?
Early Stage Life, Go to Market Strategy, Starting Up Oct 30, 2018
Well, where to start?
People probably think you’re crazy because you have an idea that maybe hasn’t been done before, and you’re trying to get it into the market. And especially in the early days before you raise any money, it’s just an idea, most likely. Maybe you’ve got some kind of prototype – and you’ve probably been obsessing about it and telling everybody you know about it. So they already think you’re a little bit obsessive. And then you start to do the work and you get engulfed in the work, and you realize that there’s endless work!
And yet you probably don’t have any income coming in from it yet. So, you’re watching your bank account start to decline (unless you’re one of the rare few that has raised money off the idea or at the prototype stage). Or, maybe you kept your job while doing it. That’s probably a little bit more sane. And then you finally get your product into the market and now you need to start hiring people. So as the founder or as the co-founder, you’re trying to recruit talent. And let’s say you’ve raised some capital, you’re certainly not going to be paying yourself a hefty salary – because no investors are going to want to invest in your company if you require a hefty salary! They want you to take on the risk and put your “skin in the game” so that you’re taking on a significant portion of the risk, and they’re not.
So that money that you raised is going to go to your early employees. And it’s going to go to people helping you out and maybe service providers along the way in the early days. And then you’re going to get something out there and it’s probably not going to be hockey stick growth. You’re probably going to spend the first six months building something and being excited about launching something, and then you’re going to launch and you’re going to realize that nobody really cares that you launched something!
Now the real hard work begins, to market your product and to actually get it in front of large numbers of people. And then you’re going to probably need to hire more people, but you may at that point be running low on capital, so you’re trying to fight to keep your business alive by raising more money while dealing with whatever the market is showing you, and the feedback that you’re getting from customers.
And you start to despair a little bit because you don’t really see the pathway to scaling this thing. Then maybe you have a breakthrough and you figure out a target audience or a segment of buyers who you can really start to scale on, and maybe you raised some more money by then. And then you continue working extraordinarily hard at this point on getting to that next level of growth. And you repeat the cycle. So you probably are hiring more people. You probably are starting to struggle in terms of finding new markets to get your product into. And it just keeps going – and that’s if you’re lucky and are still in business.
So, yeah. It’s a long road. It’s a grind. It’s also invigorating, and there’s nothing quite like it. So perhaps you need to be a little bit crazy to be an entrepreneur but I certainly would strongly recommend it.