No one ever said that being an entrepreneur is easy. Matter of fact, it's one of the hardest paths to travel down in life. We don't do it for how easy it is, though. We become entrepreneurs because of a higher calling. Something inside us forces us to choose this way of life—despite the difficult situations we face that may ultimately make us quit.
I've personally been on this journey since 2010 and dozens of times I've wanted to quit, get a job and be "normal." But something inside me wouldn't let the dream go. Like you, I've known I have something special and have been willing to do whatever it takes to make my dreams come true. The journey has been totally worth it. All of it.
The most trying times, in fact, actually develop the best entrepreneurs. The world is littered with people who set out to accomplish their dreams, then quit at the first sign of adversity. There are plenty of people who will tell you, "I tried it and it doesn't work." Here are three of the trying situations that were the likely reason.
1. They all said 'It won't work.'
You've hit up every prospect you can think of and none of them "got' your vision. Some may have even told you that what you're doing is a horrible idea. The problem is, most entrepreneurs are not salespeople. They struggle to make sales, but not everyone can close them.
That's too bad because, in sales, we are taught that every "no" gets you that much closer to a "yes." As an entrepreneur, sometimes you may overlook your need to be a salesperson. After all, lots of people wish they were entrepreneurs, but few set out to be in sales. It's a major part of the game, though, and cannot be avoided.
When I first started out doing social media management, back before it was cool, people would say, "You can't make money from Facebook," and "Get out of my office" on a regular basis. I did do a speaking gig for a real estate company one time. The manager of the brokerage came up to me afterward and commenced to tell me everything I had done wrong, and why I'd never see success. The experience almost broke me.
Here I was, starting out, doing all I could do, and this seemingly successful manager was telling me my dream was not ever going to come through. I wanted to quit, but instead, I used his negativity to fuel my energy and hunger for success. So, the lesson is: Never listen to people who say you can't. Just because they have limiting beliefs doesn't mean you have to. Here I am, five years later, and I'd say that, yes, my original vision was correct.
There is a lot of money to be made from social media; examples are everywhere.
2. The money is all gone.
Most of us start out with little to no money. When I started Hardcore Closer LLC, I had to move in with my-then in-laws. It was embarrassing. Worse, I had to take a job, too. That job required me to give up on being an entrepreneur from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. I didn't let that stop me, though. I worked after hours, I worked on my lunch break and I kept the dream alive while working for someone else.
I used the money from my job to fuel my dreams. I made the ultimate, embarrassing scenario reality: grown man living with in-laws, chasing an improbable dream, working a real job. Even the people at my workplace teased me. It didn't matter, though. As soon as I made enough money to get back to my dream, I once again became a full-time entrepreneur.
So, the lesson is: Don't be afraid to do what you need to, in order to keep money flowing in. You won't realize how important a good credit score is until you no longer have one. No great reward ever came without great sacrifice. Don't let that side income deter you from sticking with your dream, either. It's easy to get tired or comfortable and quit the entrepreneur life. But, don't. It's impossible to win if you quit.
When the money is all gone, do what you need to do to replenish it. Seek investors, more clients, a partner or whatever it takes to keep the dream alive. As soon as you give up, the chances of the dream coming true are gone. Money is all over and if your dream is that good to you, someone out there will invest in you to make it come true.
3. Your spouse is telling you to throw the towel in.
As I said, not everyone is cut out for this life. Oftentimes that includes the person we have chosen to travel through life with. My ex had a hard time dealing with my roller-coaster lifestyle. It had all been fine when I had to go without, but when it was her turn, she wasn't having it. Sometimes the people closest to you work the hardest to keep you down.
Not being able to give the people around you what they need hurts, especially for men, who may embrace their traditional societal role as family providers. When the person who knows you the most is telling you it's time to give up, you feel it. What's worse is, many people give up on their dreams, and ultimately their spouse, too. That's two colossal losses in one lifetime.
People change over time. Life can lead people down different paths. As crazy as it sounds, your dream is the most important thing in your life. Plenty of jobs will be there for you. Plenty of women/men will be there for you down the road. We only get one shot to make a dream come true. So, the lesson is: Don't let anyone or any one event keep you from making it happen.
Losing a spouse over a dream is tough. No one talks about it, but it happens a lot. Logically though, if the person you love the most is telling you to give up on your dream, is that really the person you should be with?
The bottom line is, if you're facing adversity, you're most likely doing something right. The universe tests us to see if we are worthy of what we are trying to earn. If you quit, your only award is the title "quitter." But if you win, you win all sorts of awards. I now have three cars and a penthouse in one of the nicest buildings in Dallas. And to think that just a few years ago, I was homeless and going through a divorce.
But the dream paid off, and I found someone willing to chase it with me. Stick with it, and you will, too.
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This article also appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.
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