As an entrepreneur, your curiosity, passion, and knack for creative thinking all push you to explore new ideas and break new ground whenever possible. Because you’re always striving for better products and better structures, you’re also always striving for a better self.
After all, you’re the founder of your company — you’re the idea person and the leader, and it’s your responsibility to lead the company in a successful direction. Your livelihood depends on it, as well as perhaps that of your family, and perhaps those of your employees and their families, too.
That’s a lot of pressure, and there aren’t many entrepreneurs in the world who think they’re already as good as they can possibly be. No, instead, most entrepreneurs are constantly wishing they knew more or were more skilled in certain areas. This is a hallmark of all entrepreneurs, new and experienced.
Almost every entrepreneur wishes they were more experienced in the following five areas:
Though entrepreneurship and leadership are two different things, being an entrepreneur almost always entails some degree of leadership. You’ll be responsible for making major decisions for the company, establishing new direction when necessary, and bringing on the right people to carry your vision to fruition.
You’ll have to give instructions, give feedback, and motivate people to work for you — and you might even have to serve as the public figurehead for your company. There are some basic skills that go along with being a leader, like remaining calm in tense situations and always being willing to listen to others’ opinions, but there’s no such thing as a perfect leader.
You’ll always make mistakes, and you’ll always have room to learn more about how to serve your people well.
Nothing good happens overnight, and even though there are occasional stories of “overnight successes” in the startup world, the reality is that those entrepreneurs have slaved away for years, seeing other businesses collapse, before getting to that point. Still, after playing with your idea for years, spending thousands of dollars of your own money to get things started up, and waiting months through the stages of early development, it can be maddening to constantly wait for the “turning point” when your business becomes successful.
Patience doesn’t come easy, but all of us wish we had more of it.
3. Decision Making.
Decision making goes along with the territory in entrepreneurship. You’ll make big decisions, like where to move the company, and small decisions, like whether to approve an employee’s request for vacation, every single day.
Decision fatigue is a real phenomenon, and facing so many decisions can make you question whether any of them are the “right” ones. Again, there are best practices here that can help — reducing stress by eliminating other decisions, and using pro/con style analyses to find the most effective solutions — but ultimately, you’ll always find yourself wanting to make decisions just a little bit better.
4. Resource Management.
You’ll manage a variety of resources as an entrepreneur, from cash flow to employees to vendors and partners. You’ll never have a perfectly well-oiled machine to helm, but you can choose the right components and take proactive measure to ensure they remain working well together.
Effective resource management demands time and diligence, both of which are in short supply as an entrepreneur with more important priorities, so most entrepreneurs find themselves wishing they could somehow do it an easier way.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way; through a combination of delegation, experience, and focus, you can get better at effectively managing your resources, but you’ll always have to dedicate time to it.
5. Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance.
You’re so heavily invested in your startup that you don’t notice when you’ve been working on it for too long. Either that, or you’re so buried in work and behind on deadlines you can’t stop to think about the last time you took a vacation.
Striking a work-life balance is difficult in any field, but especially for entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, there’s no solution that works for everybody, and there’s no strategy that can give you a perfect balance all at once.
None of these topics are simple, and none of them can be learned by traditional means. You have to live these topics, experiencing them for yourself and finding your own unique ways of learning more about them. You have to experiment, find out what works and what doesn’t, and be unintimidated by the fact that you’ll never be perfect at any of them.
Entrepreneurship is nothing if not an ongoing learning process, so keep these five topics in the back of your mind at all times, sharpening your take on them gradually, and never lose focus on improving yourself.
For more content like this, be sure to check out my podcast, The Entrepreneur Cast!