Whether you’re talking about a literally baby or your “baby”/startup, there are a lot of sacrifices you’ll need to make when bringing new “life” into this world. If you’re like most parents and successful entrepreneurs, those sacrifices are made happily because the payoff is worth it. Of course there will be times when you think, “Life would be so much easier/better/less stressful if I didn’t have this huge responsibility” but those thoughts should be fleeting—and less common the longer you nurture your baby.
The amount and degree of sacrifices can be startling to new entrepreneurs. It’s better to be over-warned and over-prepared rather than let the demanding sacrifices sucker-punch you one after the other. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. But it’s also true that not everyone is ready (right now) to give up and sacrifice what’s necessary in order to ensure a venture thrives.
Is the timing right for you to be an entrepreneur? Are you ready to give up the “goods” in order to devote the time and energy for a successful venture? Here are some of the most common sacrifices good entrepreneurs make and how to prepare for them:
1. The quality of your relationships
Some entrepreneurs end up sacrificing entire relationships, whether it’s with their significant other, friends or family. However, if you lose worthwhile relationships completely, that’s a sign that there’s an issue with your ability to balance work and life. There may be instances (cough, Mark Zuckerberg) where you go into business with friends or family and then that relationship is destroyed because of it (you.) Know that your time will largely be dedicated toward your venture, but carving out time to spend with those you care about is still critical.
Talk to your loved ones, get their support if you can, and reiterate that your time invested in relationships will have to change for awhile. You may want to indicate to them that you intend this time is to be a parenthesis time ( ). It has a beginning and the huge intensity will also have the ending bracket as well.
2. Your health
This goes for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. If you’re a gym rat, you can kiss that insane low body fat percentage or impressive muscle mass goodbye for awhile. If you’re able to meditate 60 minutes per day right now or attend religious services twice a week, you’ll have to cut back. This doesn’t mean you should eliminate your measures of taking care of your well-being entirely, but your entrepreneurial venture will take precedence.
Just like with relationship maintenance, pencil in time for taking care of your health every day (but know if won’t be as much as you’d like.) A brisk 15 minute walk may be the extent of it for a while.
3. Your money and standards of living
Your very first investor should be yourself, and many great entrepreneurs drain their savings to get off the ground. You may have to seriously downsize, such as renting out the home you’ve mortgaged and moving into a small apartment in order to save. There may be no vacations, no splurges and no dinners out for a very long time.
Budgets are your friend whether you’re an entrepreneur or not. Start tapping into your inner frugal self, and you’ll discover it’s a lot easier to save than you think and you can live on far less than you can possibly imagine.
4. Your reputation
This one is a biggie, especially if pre-entrepreneurship you held a lofty position. People will be quick to point out the failure rate of entrepreneurs, and depending on your circumstances you might have people not take you seriously. However, if you don’t believe in yourself and your business, nobody else will.
Remember that your perceived “reputation” probably isn’t as important as you think. As long as you can get your partners, investors, and employees in your corner, that’s what really matters.