90% of the businesses fail within the first one year. If you just survive for more than one year, it’s great leap forward. It is a well known fact that it is not easy to be a successful entrepreneur. Starting a new venture and growing it can be extremely difficult. It will not just consume your time, but your time and energy as well.
Many self-help business gurus try to convince us that it is easy to build certain businesses. When people talk about an ‘easy’ method, they are usually referring to a temporary opportunity.
In the long-term, no business venture is actually easy. There are many tough calls to make and it can become very emotionally demanding. Most of the entrepreneurs go through cycles of self-doubt, depression, fear of failure and anger. Anger could be on the government, team members, investors and/or partners.
What keeps most entrepreneurs going is that there are also cycles of happiness, satisfaction of work done, feeling of success and the excitement of the future. The up and down cycles eventually become more stable as one gets entrepreneurial maturity.
Many people think that a startup fails because of the idea. And many people are attracted towards new business ideas that have no competition in the market. If there is no competition, there is no opportunity.
The success of your venture not about the type of business that you choose and it is almost never about the idea. Any business idea can work as long as the execution is done well. The barrier of entry to good execution is really high because most people cannot be very productive with their work week.
Highly successful entrepreneurs work as much as 80-100 hours a week in the initial stages of their business. Without putting in that much of effort, it is easy to become obsolete in a world where tough competition is just around the corner.
If you are going to spend 80+ hours per week on your work, the biggest challenge you will face would be in personal relationships.
If you are single and yet to get committed, build your startup first and then look for a life partner. Work-life balance is a myth if you want to build a startup. There is no way to balance work and life in the first 2-3 years of starting your venture.
If you’ve just got into a new relationship and if you also want to build a startup, think twice. Your significant other will feel that you are not spending enough time with them. You might not make your partner happy, and you might also fail with your venture and then blame your partner for that. In the long term, you might lose both.
If you are a few years into your relationship and committed for the long term, it might be easier to build a startup. Your partner might be much more co-operative and would let you spend more time on your work, as long as you give them the assurance that this is not going to be forever. You just need to grind it out for the first few years.
If you have a partner that is not very supportive of your startup venture because it takes too much of your time, you might need to make a decision. You have to choose based on your priorities. If you think the relationship is more important that your startup success, either be in a job and be a consultant or freelancer. Try starting up after a few years.
If your startup success is more important than your relationship, and if your current relationship doesn’t give you the time and the mental space to grow your startup, you might have to take a tough decision.
I know many entrepreneurs who have had tough relationships that were pulling them back from achieving success, and they took tough calls. Most of them feel that their decision to break-up and focus on the startup was the best decision they’ve made in their life.
Relationships take time & energy. It is always going to be an opportunity cost affecting the growth of your startup. Be single, or make sure your partner supports you on your venture. If your partner is unsupportive of your startup venture, give it some time and then take call based on your priorities.
Having said all this, it is still not a bad idea to put your startup ideas in the back burner and focus on your personal life first. You can start 3-5 years down the line when you think your personal life is more stable.
Whatever you do, think about your decision for at least 6 months before you take a call. Talk to friends and family, and if required a therapist. Growing a startup can be very demanding mentally and it is ok to have someone to talk to, if you think you need to.