Lonely At The Top: 9 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Can Only Rely On Themselves

by Paul Hudson

Entrepreneurs are the modern-day warriors, generals of the global commerce battlefields. They have more enemies than they can count and unfortunately most of them are wearing their very own colors.

The life of an entrepreneur is a very difficult one – always. There are no exceptions. There is, however, one philosophy that can and should be adopted in order to make life a little easier and success a little more likely: Do not rely on others for more than you need to.

People are egocentric individuals that will always put their needs ahead of the companies. Because the entrepreneur is the only person who doesn’t distinguish between himself and his business, he is the only one that he should rely on.

Here are 9 specific reasons why entrepreneurs are the modern day lone-warriors:

1. No one knows the business as well as you do.

You were there from the beginning and you personally got your hands dirty in every nook and cranny. Getting advice from others can sometimes be useful, but all outside advice should be taken with a grain of salt.

Chances are that those giving advice don’t know the whole story – they don’t know all the details and haven’t seen all the collected data. Decisions should only be made by the individual who knows the most information and understands the workings of the intricate system in place.

2. Your employees will always be more worried about their paychecks than the business itself.

You may love your employees – and that’s fine. But at the end of the day, they are only human and care about themselves first and foremost. While you may see your company as a living thing, something that you put your heart and soul into, they do not.

They see it as the source of money – what allows them to pay their bills. They see their work as work and not as their reason for living. They are likely to abandon you at some point sooner or later.

3. Investors are better at complaining than they are at helping.

Firstly, if you can avoid getting investors than do just that – they aren’t fun to deal with. They’re your best friends when things are running smoothly and when money is either being made or seems like it will soon be made. But when the going gets tough, which it almost always does, your investors will turn into the biggest pain in your ass.

It turns out that they don’t so much care about the business as they do about the money it’s supposed to be making. To them the business is an investment and they expect returns. No returns? No smiles.

4. Even advisors aren’t as vested in the company as you are and therefore don’t have as much to lose.

Advisors are great to bring onboard because they are experienced and because they can give valuable perspectives from people who aren’t entirely vested in the company. However, being vested is incredible motivation. Because people tend to get lazy over time, an advisor can go from being a valuable asset to deadweight.

5. Your ass is the one on the line, no one else’s.

If the business fails, you fail. If the business succeeds, somehow all the people who were part of it in some way feel that they likewise succeeded. Ain't it a bitch? Your company is your business, it's your life.

Your ass and reputation are on the line because if things go wrong you can bet that everyone else involved with throw you under the bus. Use those involved to get the job done and when you do succeed know in your heart that you were really the one who was able to make the wheels turn.

6. People always find excuses not to work.

People get mild colds, mild injuries, mild headaches, mild football games that they really need to watch, and all of a sudden they are out for the day. Or several. Lunch breaks go from 30 minutes to 90 and coming in on time becomes just as unlikely as coming in early. If you want to succeed then you have to be the one to set the standard.

Other than that, all you can do is find the right dedicated, passionate and driven people who will (hopefully) follow your lead. But don’t expect them to. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

7. Relying too heavily on any one person gives that person too much leverage to use against you.

The reality is that in life, not just in business, you cannot ever rely on anyone 100 percent of the time. In business, the more you rely on someone, the more you need that person, and the more he can use that against you if he so chooses to.

You may have an employee who you believe would never go up against you… but that quickly changes after an argument or misunderstanding – especially when there is money to be made.

This is tricky because you do want the best people working for you, but the best people are difficult to replace. You have to find the right balance and have all the necessary paperwork in place to make sure you don’t get screwed.

8. You’re the brains of the operation for a reason.

Entrepreneurship greatly involves dealing with and flourishing in an environment filled with uncertainty. There is little that any entrepreneur is ever certain of – but that’s life for you. Uncertainty in the workplace often leads to uncertainty with yourself. The worst thing that an entrepreneur can do is lose faith in himself, in his thinking, and in his vision.

This is not to say that at times a business pivot isn’t necessary, but you should believe yourself capable of making the right pivot and at the right time. If you don’t believe in your abilities as an entrepreneur than you’ve already lost.

9. Everyone is out to get you or to take advantage of you.

You may find this to be a ridiculous inaccuracy – everyone can’t always be out to get you. And you’re right; they’re not. Not until they are. It’s not that all people sit there and plan on screwing you over and taking advantage of you – although some do – it’s that most people, when given the opportunity, will take advantage of you.

People, especially in the world of business, are always looking to get ahead. If you sleep with both eyes closed you’re likely to wake up with one eye missing.

Photo via We Heart It

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