Once upon a time, there was an entrepreneur who decided to quit her job and start her own small business. Everyone in her life was supportive of her decision and happy to help her. She was able to save up enough money to hire a few employees and easily pay all her bills for the next three years until her business began churning a profit. She was blissfully content knowing without a doubt her business would thrive and she would live happily ever after.
As you might have guessed, this is an entrepreneurial fairytale. It’s the folklore that you hear happened to a friend of a friend of a friend, but never to someone you actually know. It’s the stuff of legends found among stories of magic carpets, princes, dragons and castles. In other words, it’s typically NOT TRUE.
This can be a shock when you’re first starting out on your own, because (whether you realize it now or not…) you’re probably of the mindset, “If I build it, they will come.” I’ve been in this situation many times, actually. You think that if you start your business, design your product, offer a service, then it’s going to be so good that people will come out of the woodwork and find you. They’ll be knocking down your door to buy whatever it is that you’re offering. Well, maybe you’re one of the lucky few this does happen to you (and I’d like to know your business plan!), but for the rest of us, this is just a part of the myth.
In fact, quitting your job and starting your own business is rarely a smooth transition. I’ve interviewed a few different entrepreneurs recently who told me that if they’d known how hard it would have been to create and grow a business before they started, they wouldn’t have had the guts to do it. This is why we as entrepreneurs tell ourselves these fairytales.
The truth is that it’s probably going to be the hardest thing you ever do. You’re going to be face-to-face with your worst fears and doubts on a daily basis. You’re going to make bad decisions. Your family might not understand why you don’t just get a regular job. Instead of working 8 hours a day, you work 12 hours a day, typically plus more. You might not have enough money to go out with your friends anymore. You can’t turn off your brain long enough to get any sleep. In other words, it’s generally a time of complete and utter chaos.
Have no fear though. This is normal. I’ll even go further than that to say, THIS IS GOOD. Because if your life is currently in a state of chaos, it means you’re moving in the right direction. Great things are born in a time of chaos, not in a time of calm.
Think about it this way…Say your city wants to widen the main road through town so that traffic will flow better. What happens? Well, they shut down the road, put up tons of orange cones, set up detours and bring out all the heavy machinery. For months, there are delays, traffic jams, and complete chaos. Once it’s completed, all of sudden, everything flows better. It takes practically no time to get through town. Commuting is a breeze. And without the chaotic construction state, this wouldn’t have been possible.
To expand your life, you have to go through a time of chaos. New, creative, life-changing ideas are rarely born out of routine and complacency.
J.K. Rowlings was broke when Harry Potter made her a millionaire. Business guru and millionaire, Ali Brown only had $9 in her bank account at one point. Bill Gates started a failed business before building his empire. Evan Williams, the co-founder of Twitter, started an unsuccessful podcasting platform before making his money.
If there’s chaos, fear or doubt in your life right now, congratulations! You’re on the right track towards your dreams.