Julie Austin is a woman that you more than likely have never heard of. In reality, she is just another woman. Austin invented Swiggies wrist water bottles. One day she went out for a run and passed out from dehydration. She came up with the idea for a wrist water bottle, but only had $5 to her name. In order to fund her project, she worked 2-3 jobs for years before she was able to live off her new company. She made her original prototypes out of clay and had to even convince the manager of the building that she was moving into to allow her to pay rent at the end of the month instead of the beginning.
Currently, Austin’s product is now in over 20 countries worldwide — 250,000 units were sold in 2012, the same year Swiggies won the Toy Man Award of Excellence for being deemed the most innovative and having the highest quality. Julie Austin is officially successful — yet you have never heard of her. The reason most people don’t believe in the possibility of success is because they have only heard stories of such cases on occasion. Most people’s success is not publicly announced.
Success is not impossible, just difficult to attain. There is one main characteristic that is necessary for an entrepreneur’s success. For the most part, entrepreneurs spend most of their time — especially in the beginning — doing their best to survive, to not go bankrupt. In order to survive, one must have thick skin. An entrepreneur will be bombarded with problems throughout his entire work experience — that doesn’t change. What does change is the amount of stress that surrounds the work.
The problems are not going to be centered solely in your work life, it will come from all different angles. There are several major stress contributing factors that most people don’t consider. Being able to deal with each case individually and in combination is something that an entrepreneur must be capable of doing. Luckily, the best defense for stress is simply not allowing things to bother you. Of course, some people are more sensitive to others and for them it will be more difficult to separate themselves from their emotions.
Most startups fail within the first two years because they are never able to get their companies off the ground. You will come across problems at work almost on a daily basis. You are constantly facing important decisions. You won’t be seeing any profit for a while and will need to support yourself financially. You will need to cut your personal spending significantly. You will have to give up some comfort — giving up comfort and placing yourself in a more stressful situation is not easy to deal with.
Even if the numbers aren’t your worry, you will have employees working for you. Good employees are difficult to come by and being able to trust them to work on your baby won’t be easier either. Fear of others screwing up your business is a reality. Unavoidable delays are the worst; you plan the next few months out neatly and you end up having everything pushed back for 3 months because you’re still waiting on licenses or waiting to pass an inspection of some sort.
And then you have your personal life. You and your significant other are having problems. Your mother just landed in the hospital. And then on top of it, you manage to catch the flu. Or maybe not all at once, but individually one after another. There are an immense amount of factors in our personal lives that the stress from that one area alone can cause a breakdown.
What about your personal lifestyles? I’m not talking about the condition of living, but rather your grooming and personal, physical responsibilities. In my experience, the more you work, the less you exercise, the worse you feel, the more you eat, the more you eat, the worse you feel, the worse you feel, the less you sleep, the less you sleep, the worse you look.
Gaining 30-60 pounds within the first year of starting a business is more common than you’d expect. Sacrifices will have to be made in the beginning — by the beginning, I mean roughly the first 3 years. For how long are you willing to live from paycheck to paycheck? Are you willing to lose it all? Are you capable of dealing with the stress associated with losing it all? There’s no point of devoting your life to your company if it will end up taking it from you. Depression is not uncommon either.
Those that are able to get through all the non-pleasantries of owning a business and are excited enough by the good things about owning a business are the only ones that make it through the tunnel. Your best weapon is logic — it’s the only way to rationalize with your emotional self and separate what you need to do to survive and what you wish you could do.
You dissect each situation individually and figure out all of your plausible actions and how you would benefit the most or, more importantly, how you can minimize your losses the most. Know what is important to you and what you want to accomplish. Remind yourself daily what it is that you feel the need to accomplish and why you want to accomplish it.
Give yourself a reason for doing what you are doing — it doesn’t matter what the reason is as long as it is meaningful to you. You want your cause to help you stay focused and on track. You want your cause to give you the motivation to succeed and the clear-headedness to make the most logical choices. You need skin of stone if you want to make it in the world of business.
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