Entrepreneurship is no easy feat. There is no “how to” manual. However, when it comes to experiencing challenges in financial services entrepreneurship, you are likely not the first. Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey will bring many peaks and valleys along the way. Some of these may provoke some deep emotional feelings, both good and bad. How you respond to your own emotions when taking on an entrepreneurial role is the key to being successful and sticking to your plan. You can’t let your frustrations get the best of you.
You are going to hear “no” a lot, however, when you start hearing “yes” take those accomplishments and let it fuel your hunger for wanting to achieve more. Don’t get discouraged by the negative. If you believe in your products and services then that conviction will come through in your presentations. Taking the leap of faith in running your own business can be an emotional rollercoaster as you put your blood, sweat, and tears into making your business successful. You may go from being frustrated one minute to feeling exhilarated in the next. You will be exhausted at times, but your passion will keep the fire going as you get closer to reaching your goals.
Today, there are more challenges in entrepreneurship than there were 20 years ago. With social media and the internet bigger than ever, it is saturated with entrepreneurs and other businesses vying for the user’s attention. The competition is fierce so it is important that you stand out from the rest. You need to hone in on that one thing that you do better than anyone else. Find that sweet spot, that niche in which you can capture the audience that would otherwise go to your competitors.
If you are embarking on the entrepreneurial path in the financial sector, here are some challenges that you may face along the way and how to overcome such obstacles:
Be Prepared Financially
Being financially prepared is so important to set yourself up for success. Once you have your mind set on moving forward with your business endeavor, it’s very critical to hone in on the financial details and have a budget in place as well as accurate revenue projections. While it may not seem so, budgeting is a very simple formula. A budget consists of money coming in vs. money going out so having a clear snapshot of your financials is key to getting one’s business off on the right foot. It’s also critical to ensure that you don’t co-mingle your business and personal finances. Keeping them separate will help you better manage your income and expenses. You should have a separate checking account and keep good financial records. Having a good accounting system in place will help with budgeting and reporting so you can make adjustments where and when necessary. Investing in good accounting software, such as QuickBooks, will help you manage your business efficiently. However, if you want to save a bit of money as you get your business off the ground, there are some free options with online accounting software that is geared for small businesses, such as Wave or Zipbooks. Do your homework so you can make an informed decision on what will work best financially for you and the needs of your business.
Set financial goals and keep expenses as low as possible. For example, do you really need to purchase a new iPad for your business or do you need the latest phone with all the bells and whistles? Try to utilize what you have already and then when you gain momentum you can invest in other equipment, but even then you should only invest in upgrading if it makes sense to your business financially.
Ask your family for support
Being an entrepreneur and starting your own business is going to take up a lot of your time. There’s just no way of getting around that. If you talk openly to your family and friends about what you are up against and let them know what you are trying to achieve they will most certainly try to help you any way they can; after all, your success will also benefit your family. Since you are going to need a lot of support and understanding, having your family on board to pitch in with everyday personal tasks is essential. If you are a single parent like me, having children contribute to household duties can ease some burdens tremendously. Household chores such as washing dishes, taking out the garbage and walking the dog are good ways to get the family started on a routine. You can also use this a teaching moment for your children. It isn’t just beneficial in freeing up your time so you can focus more on your business but it also helps your children learn to be more responsible and accountable. If you keep your household organized and in order while you are working, you will feel less stressed when coming home to a non-chaotic environment.
Lean on your colleagues
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or mentorship opportunities so you can learn from others. Learning and asking for assistance is part of growing, both personally and professionally. Lean on your colleagues who are in your industry that can lend an ear if you need some guidance. They may have some good advice to offer as you are starting up. They may have gone through some painful experiences during their business growth that can help you avoid making the same mistakes. Don’t try to figure everything out on your own and all at once. It’s ok to ask for help and advice when you feel you are stuck in a rut. You can also get support from a host of entrepreneur support groups locally or nationally by just doing a search online. Joining groups is not only good for networking purposes but can allow for an exchange of ideas and input about what is working and not working for others. You don’t’ have to go it alone. Having a network of support will keep you motivated. It will push you to keep going and deter thoughts of giving up. It is important that entrepreneurs rely on each other for support and look for answers in overcoming common challenges within one another’s experiences.
Expect to feel frustration
Frustration is normal and part of growing a business. Understand there will be ups and downs, but you have to learn to go with the flow. During your moments of frustration, walk away from your desk, take a step back and re-group. Sometimes taking a break from the tasks that are frustrating you can help you rejuvenate and relieve stress. Find something that you enjoy and that will help clear your mind. Whether it is meditation or going for a walk, clearing yourself of lurking negative energy will bring you back to your projects with a fresh start. You’ll have a clear mind to tackle any hurdle thrown your way. It’s no secret that entrepreneurs work long hours, but that doesn’t mean it has to be all work and no play. For me, SoulCycle has been my outlet. At least four times a week, (sometimes more) I take a SoulCycle class to break up my work day, just to let off some steam. I come back refreshed, re-focused and with more energy. Sometimes I will even challenge my staff to some hoops! We keep a small basketball net in our office so everyone gets a chance to take a break and have a little fun if they are feeling a bit of frustration or stress.
Planning, budgeting, having family support and establishing outlets for releasing stress as well as frustration are invaluable components to a successful business, especially when working in the financial sector. When faced with frustrations and other challenges, it’s ok to ask for help and to take a break from time to time. Don’t be so hard on yourself. As entrepreneurs, we are going to make mistakes along the way, but if you learn from your mistakes, then you’re already ahead of the game!