Realities of Entrepreneurship You Need to Realize

You already know being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, which is why slipping on that comfortable pair of rose colored glasses from time to time is tempting. Unfortunately, the sooner you learn a few hard truths about being a trailblazer, the sooner you can avoid a few of the unnecessary bumps and bruises. There will come a time—many of them—where a vital decision is pending and your decision will make or break the business. It’s very common for a founder not consider all potential options, and to even choose the “wrong one” that everyone is telling him or her is the wrong one. When this happens, the startup might “survive” for a little longer, but it will eventually fail.


A lot of startups fall short of their potential because of the reality of two reasons. Refusing to make tough choices and not being realistic dooms a small business before it even has a chance at thriving. Usually, these actions are a part of human failure, not the failure of a business plan or the business itself. “Hard truths” can be the poison in a startup, and it’s usually the founder wielding it. For starters, entrepreneurs need to realize it’s not about them—oftentimes they let their ego get in the way. There are many times being in your position will make you feel stupid and unimportant, which is the opposite of how you thought starting a business would make you feel. You may be embarrassed to let go of a partner, and it seems so painful that you just avoid it (to the demise of your company.) Here are a few more instances where human failure is common:

You suddenly have a bunch of new bosses

You’re the founder, so why are you answering to oodles of bosses instead of answering just to yourself? That’s not what the American dream was supposed to look like, right? An entrepreneur is never their own boss. In fact, they have more bosses than anyone else. Clients, investors, partners, and even employees can (and will!) tell you what to do. And you need to listen.

Understand your idea might not be unique or good

A lot of entrepreneurs think their ideas are revolutionary, but they rarely are. Even if your idea is technically new, it won’t be for long. Scores of people have probably already come up with your idea or they’re in the midst of it. The real key to success is in how you implement it. Ideas in and of themselves are actually pretty useless.

You have no time

The sooner you accept this fact, the better. You have a lot of plans, but they’ll always take longer than you think. Focus on what you can do now and do your best at it. Next up? Test those ideas. Focus is an entrepreneur’s best friend.

Your plan is terrible

If you don’t plan, you won’t succeed. A startup environment is unpredictable. Rules may change, competitors may surprise you, people will disappoint you, and you need to roll with the punches. You’re operating on a lot of assumptions, and that environment can be volatile. Plan to adapt, react, and have a major plan that you will bounce back… you need to make the “bounce back” decision your first plan of action.

Finally, remember that failure is common and likely to happen to you in one way or another. Entrepreneurs cannot be idealists, (well, never mind, what I should say is, entrepreneurs ARE idealists), so take off those rosy glasses (at least when you are doing your reality check.) It’s time to get real with how your startup works.

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8 thoughts on “Realities of Entrepreneurship You Need to Realize”

  1. Jeff Pettit says:

    Getting your business off the ground is tough work. It’s harder when family and friends don’t really understand what your doing and want you to work in an ‘ordinary’ job. It definitely takes guts and determination to follow your dreams.

  2. mikhail says:

    I agree with you, but difficult and impossible are two different things, need a lot of work and not to fly in the clouds, then everything will be fine

  3. I feel John folks do zero mindset work, leading to endless struggle.

    I cut my learning curve by freaking decades by meditating daily, by getting clear and by diving into freeing and uncomfortable situations.

    I just published my 46th book. Last year I had zero at this time. Mental science was the spur that put me into action.

    Keep on sharing your insight 😉


  4. faisal says:

    Just keep doing things with passion.

    1. DNN says:


      This is ever so true. One thing a lot of people fail at in entrepreneurship is giving up before their business succeeds. They set themselves a timeframe in which they want their business to take off the ground but it doesn’t work like that. Entrepreneurship requires long-term thinking and envisioning decades down the road. Most people get frustrated in the moment not seeing their business move as fast as they would like and therefore throw in the towel.

      Most billionaires today in America and across the world failed countless times and refused to quit. This is what sets ordinary apart from extraordinary people. And those who failed and refused to keep trying often wonder why successful entrepreneurs always get preferred treatment. It’s because they didn’t understand what it was like to throw in the towel and say “I give up.” Agree?

  5. DNN says:

    Taking the time to create “lots and lots of content” in addition to getting in “good solid nutrition” on a daily basis is the groundwork for successful entrepreneurship. Making the transformation into a successful webpreneur is not a get rich quick overnight operation.

  6. Caleb says:

    It only takes subtle changes to make your thing original due to the fact that there is nothing new under the sun just things that revolve with a different twist or tweaking. Copy what the successful have already proven to get results then slowly begin adding your own innovations while making sure to keep those core things that are already proven to work 😉

  7. Dev Pandey says:

    Hi John,

    I totally agree with your point. I have being investing in many startups for seed funding and i have faced such situation. The person who comes up with the real ideas is no more the same after few months or years. The issue can be bosses or the his own mis-planning about the idea on how he should take it to next level. So if you want to take up your start up business to higher level, you must have patience, plan things correctly but sometimes they may go wrong. So in such cases be prepared with Plan B as well. Because ideas going wrong is practical and possible thing.

    Thanks for this wonderful article.

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