When Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne decided to create Apple Computers in Jobs’s garage in 1976, they did so with the knowledge that they were taking a leap. They knew that most startups were destined for failure. They knew that there would be people who would question their every move, put them under a microscope and question their every move, even years in retrospect. But they continued the push and eventually became two of the biggest names in computing.
Jobs and Wozniak have received their fair share of accolades as a result of changing the face of computing forever. In addition to the obvious financial gains, Jobs and Wozniak have garnered labels, everything from “pioneer,” or “innovator,” to the perhaps not-so-exaggerated title of “genius.” But at the heart of both Apple co-founders is a title that they likely haven’t heard since the 80s: entrepreneur.
Undertaking the title of “entrepreneur” is daunting, and involves quite a bit of preparation. Here are a few things you should be prepared to face if you’ve decided to venture out on your own and build a business.
Prepare for the Risk
If you’ve gotten this far, you’re likely well aware that there is a huge amount of risk inherent to becoming an entrepreneur. It’s said that 9 out of every 10 new startup will go on to fail at some point, many in the first few years alone.
By starting your own business, you have to understand that you’re taking a risk trying to seize a goal that millions of others have tried, and have failed, to accomplish. You have to be that 10 percent–be a member of the elite group that hits their stride, finds their niche and settles in.
Prepare for the Critics
Every step of the way there will be people there to question you. It may seem like that’s their only mission in life: to find you when you feel as though you’re doing well and knock you down a few pegs. Perhaps they’re the ones asking if you have a backup plan, the ones reminding you that you’re destined for failure, the ones telling you that you’re not smart enough, quick enough or innovative enough to make a difference. There will always be people who will question you, and you’ll have to be prepared to answer their questions–some will be investors, some future customers and some online commenters whose sole mission is to make you give up on the business you’ve committed your life to.
Stand tall though, and expect that these questions will come and go. Prepare yourself for them, because if you don’t they may start getting to you and elbowing their way into your conscience.
Prepare to Doubt Yourself
No one on this planet is a picture of human perfection; everyone makes mistakes and experiences momentary slip ups. Businesses are very much the same–try Googling the name of just about any business you can think of and see if you can find a piece of negative press or bad review about them, it won’t be difficult.
The fact of the matter is you will make a mistake at some point in your entrepreneurial career, and you will question it. The importance of this falls in how you recover from this mistake, and how you face the doubt you could start feeling about yourself and your business. One small mistake shouldn’t derail your career–any doubt or questioning you could find yourself facing should be addressed and systematically handled, not driven by emotions.
Prepare to Make a Difference
You’re an entrepreneur–you didn’t choose this path for the spotlight or the notoriety, you chose it to change the way humans approach a problem, design a solution or live their lives. If your career goes down the path you hope it should, you’ll be making a difference for people, whether it’s large or small.