by Mostafa Elbermawy, Head of Marketing at Harver
Launching a startup, or pursuing an entirely different career path is scary, risky, exhilarating, and rewarding all at the same time. Of course, becoming an entrepreneur is no simple feat. There are loads of ups and downs along the journey, and many of those fears may very well come to pass. It is very rare to find an entrepreneur who did not fail, at one point or another, throughout their life. The truly successful ones learned from those downfalls and got right back up.
The great thing about entrepreneurs is they are willing to share their stories of failure and success with others to show the right (and wrong) way to start a business.
Before you make another excuse to hold you back, learn how these three entrepreneurs overcame three huge hurdles, and how you can, too.
Lots of Expertise, No Capital.
Sam Ovens, a consulting expert, faced this common challenge when he left the corporate world to pursue his own business idea. He had the knowledge and experience, but no capital to start off with. Like many entrepreneurs, he took out loans to fund his first startup. This startup failed miserably, leaving him with mountains of debt. However, he used this seemingly insurmountable challenge to his advantage by using those so-called “mistakes” to start a business that did not require tons of cash.
He started a web-based business that offered consultation and coaching services for other struggling companies. Through superior thought leadership, strategic marketing, and value creation for niche markets, Ovens was able to build a multi-million-dollar consulting business with very limited cash resources from the start.
No matter how great their business idea may be, collecting enough funding to get a business going is one of the biggest obstacles for most entrepreneurs. However, finding a creative solution to cash flow issues, like Ovens did through his web-based business, is a great way to overcome this common roadblock.
It’s hard to believe that at one time, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington could not get her writing published. Her first book was rejected by no less than 36 publishers. But rather than letting discouragement get the best of her, she used this to guide her down the right path.
“Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s a stepping stone to success…I learned not to dread failure.”
Even when she founded her now wildly successful media website, she still received major backlash and negative reviews from other writers. But, once again, she used this feedback to learn and grow and change her business for the better.
Rejection is just a sign to alter your path, and it is certainly not a reason to stop trying. When Edison failed to make a working lightbulb after thousands of attempts, he didn’t give up. He famously said,
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Each failure or rejection is just a closed door that will eventually lead you to an open one. All you need to do is keep moving.
Too Much Going on Personally.
Tammy Gail was a single mom who ran a luxury event planning business and barely had any time to herself. However, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she knew that she could not afford to lose her health, family, or business, so she needed to find a way to balance all three.
“The wheel of life doesn’t suddenly slow down just because you have cancer… When you have a small business with limited resources, there are two options – shut down or move forward.”
She reworked her business schedule to allow for her to recover between chemotherapy sessions, and she made sure to stay busy while working at home to keep her mind engaged. Now cancer-free, Gail reflects on this time as a great learning experience that taught her the importance of balancing life and business by keeping herself as a priority.
Balancing your personal and professional life is difficult for many entrepreneurs, especially for parents or people with a lot on their plates. Of course, everyone faces a different set of challenges. Placing your focus on personal success and fulfillment will help you find a way to make it work.
Do You Have It in You?
Fear holds us back from a lot of opportunities we come across in life. It seems to be especially prevalent when people begin to think about starting their own business. Fear of failure, fear of going broke, or even the fear of success can hold you back from all the wonderful things that entrepreneurship can provide. However, being afraid to do something is certainly no excuse to not try.
Many entrepreneurs have faced huge hurdles along their journeys, but many have found ways to tackle those challenges head on. Listen to their advice and never let fear or worry hold you back from carrying on to success. Good luck!
Mostafa Elbermawy is a seasoned SaaS growth strategist. Over the past 9 years, Mostafa has helped brands such as American Express, P&G and Workzone refine their growth marketing strategies and tactics. Mostafa is also a regular tech contributor for Wired and BBC Arabia. He currently heads marketing at Harver, a leading AI recruitment platform.