It’s been roughly 10 years since I started my entrepreneurial journey. There were definitely good times as well as times where I felt like ripping my hair out. However, looking back to when I first started, even though I made a ton of mistakes, for some reason they always led me into the right direction.
Now, you could say that it’s because I am persistent, but I wouldn’t agree to that being the reason. Scrappiness is another quality that people believe I have, but again I don’t think that’s what got me to where I am either.
So how the heck did I get to where I am today?
Stress! That’s right, I stress out like crazy. Obviously I’m not the only entrepreneur in the planet that stresses out, in fact, if you were an entrepreneur and didn’t stress out, something is wrong with you. At the same time, even though there isn’t anything unique about “stress” in and of itself, the skill that helped me get to where I am today was my ability to manage that stress.
People often think that the hardest part about being an entrepreneur is putting in 60 or even 80 hours of work a week, which isn’t true. Anyone can work hard for a longer period time, but very few people can handle all the stress that comes along with entrepreneurship.
And yes, I know what you are thinking… you’re the one putting the stress onto yourself. You don’t have to be one of those stressed out entrepreneurs if you don’t want to.
You’re right! You don’t have to be stressed out, but living a stress free life won’t make you wealthy.
I hate to be harsh, but your entrepreneurial journey is never going to be perfect. Just like anything else in life, there will be good times and bad times. “Everything is hard before it becomes easy.”
If you aren’t pushing the boundaries, you aren’t growing your business fast enough. And when you push the boundaries and start walking on that fine line, you’ll probably end up making mistakes and experience problems you would have never imagined.
For example over the past 10 years I’ve dealt with:
- Working for over 6 years without paying myself a dollar
- Having to layoff employees
- Having to fire one of my closet friends
- Losing a million dollars of borrowed money before I was 21
- Paying back all of the money I lost
- Dealing with lawsuits
- Dealing with health issues that are caused from stress
I could probably keep going on and list out another 100 stressful moments from my life, but I think you get where I’m going with this. I am not trying to make you feel bad for me, but instead I want you to understand why those stressful moments pushed me to the next level.
In order to take yourself to the next level, you must begin to feel uncomfortable. If I didn’t step out of my comfort zone by adding all that stress in my life, I never would have taken any of those risks and probably would have wound up working at a company like Microsoft making a $120,000 salary. It’s definitely not the worst gig to have, but obviously I ended up making the better choice.
If you too want to be a successful entrepreneur, you will need to make a shift in your mindset. You can’t be wasting your time whining about doing things like laying off your employees and cutting budgets. Keep your chin up, understand that the stress is part of the process and deal with it.
If you can’t cope with the stress, then you’re not cut out to be an entrepreneur.
You can reduce your stress
Since you now understand the benefits of pushing yourself to the limits and accepting the fact that stress is part of the process, let’s talk about a few ways you can handle all that stress.
When I started my entrepreneurial career, I realized that the lack of money is the major cause of stress for most entrepreneurs. However it’s not necessarily the lack of the business’s capital, it’s the lack of personal money.
There isn’t really a quick fix to making extra money fast, other than working hard enough until you can pay yourself a decent salary. In the mean time though, you can learn to live well below your means. This will significantly reduce your stress levels.
Buying a fancy home, nice car, and going on shopping sprees sounds nice, but it’s hard to maintain that life when your income is like a roller coaster. And once you get trapped into it, you’ll notice that you will keep on spending money on things that you don’t need.
Hypothetically, lets say you live in California and make $20,000 a month ($240k a year). It sounds like a lot of money and it is as long as you control your spending.
But after taxes that $20,000 turns into $11,194. Lets say you live in a million dollar home, which means that your mortgage and property tax payments will come out to $5336 a month. That only leaves $5858. And after car payments, food expenses, bills, and other miscellaneous expenses, you’ll probably be left with somewhere around $4,000 a month in savings.
Although $4000 a month isn’t bad, the moment something goes wrong with your business and you’re forced to reduce your salary, you’ll have a difficult time covering your expenses. You possibly may even have to foreclose on your home.
On the other hand if you bought a home that was half the cost and you didn’t go and buy the latest BMW, you can survive on an income of $10,000 or maybe even $5000 a month.
So in short, stress that comes from your business is a necessary evil. Even though it appears to be harming you, it’s actually pushing you forward. At the same time, you can easily manage the stress from your business by making smarter decisions in your personal life. Don’t make dumb spending decisions… start living below your means.
I know stress isn’t the best thing for your body, but you are going to have just suck it up and deal with it. Throughout my personal journey, I have yet to come across a successful entrepreneur who hasn’t dealt with any stress in their life. It’s part of the process so learn to deal with it!
So what do you think? Is stress good for entrepreneurs?