Running a business and leading a team can be one of the most rewarding things you can choose to do, but also one of the loneliest. There are often very few people among your family, friends, and team who truly understand your vision and the sacrifice it requires.
SUCCESS REQUIRES SACRIFICE
Building a successful business is difficult. 50% of new businesses close in the first four years, and 70% don't make it to 10 years. Success requires sacrifice. If you are going be one of the success stories, it means you are willing to do the extra things the others aren't willing to.
It also means people are probably going to look at you funny. A lot. Friends and family usually don't understand the amount of work required to build a business that lasts. They will question the long hours, the missed events, and the pace you hustle at.
DOUBTS, FEARS, AND WEIGHT
One of the hardest things to face alone are the doubts and fears that come along with building something. Every step of building your business can e paralyzing. Will this work? Can we afford new team members? Will we make payroll this week? Do we need a larger building? Can we meet this deadline? Every day is a never ending string of challenges, and they can bury you without help.
There is also a weight knowing you are ultimately responsible for all the decisions made. You are responsible for the ultimate direction your business takes. Even when your team makes decision, you hired them, so the responsibility is yours.
So how do we keep from giving up when it gets tough?
Realize you can't do it alone. The best advice I ever received was to learn from men and women who built successful businesses. They will be able to teach you how to avoid some of the mistakes they made, and point you toward success. Understand that you can learn something from anyone.
Intentionally spend time every week (yes, even with your busy schedule) speaking with other business owners who are ahead of you in the game. Their experience will encourage and challenge you.
While this process does require a lot of hard work and long hours, we do have to strike a balance between the business and our own health. If you build a successful business but kill yourself with an unhealthy work ethic, you've failed.
Intentionally set aside time for your physical and spiritual health, and be mindful of your family. If you take care of yourself and your family, you'll be better equipped to handle the challenges ahead of you.
I believe in building businesses for the long-term. I want to think 20 and 30 years in the future, not two or three. Overnight success rarely happens. Realistically it's a long grind of doing the right thing over and over and over again. Then knowing you won't be an overnight success, why not take a little extra time for yourself in the process?
Success comes incrementally. It can be a lonely journey but if you intentionally surround yourself with smart people, and carve out time to take care of yourself, you'll make it.