Being an entrepreneur is a roller coaster ride. On the one hand, you’re free from the doldrums of the nine-to-five life stuck in a cubicle. You’re working towards achieving your dream, whether it’s developing the best claims management systems software or owning a high-rated and in-demand Italian restaurant. Choosing entrepreneurial life also means operating in perpetual chaos and uncertainty in the first few years of growth. There’s no safety net to fall back to — be it a monthly salary, assured customers, or supervisors who can be held accountable. Success is also not a guarantee even if you poured your heart and soul into the project. It’s a hard path to walk on.
Still, the appeal is there to chart one’s path in building a business. Just look at the life story of Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder. He founded his company because there was an opportunity to solve a problem, even if it took a while for the business to be profitable. Ma had to do what it takes to outrank the then e-commerce industry leader eBay. After all his efforts, Alibaba is considered the world’s leading digital marketplaces, with Ma topping Fortune China’s list of most influential business leaders this 2020.
The exciting and fearful path of entrepreneurship has many lessons to impart whether the business fails and succeeds. Here are some skills brave entrepreneurs will learn in their journey:
When risks are mentioned, people usually avoid them due to the high probability of something awful happening. There will be wasted resources, danger, and difficulties in the path. Entrepreneurs, though, eat and breathe risk as they constantly encounter it in building their empire. They learn how to gauge if the risk is worth taking given the work needed and the possible outcome waiting for them. Sometimes, they must build a thick skin and unwavering faith to trust in the process as the future can change in different directions. Just take how unprecedented the pandemic was. Ordinary people are experiencing a taste of how entrepreneurs operate daily while taking risks and uncertainty in stride.
Handling haters and critics
There will always be people who will be against what you’re doing, especially if you’re trying to rock the boat and change the status quo. Entrepreneurs know how to differentiate between valuable feedback and distracting criticisms born out of ignorance and jealousy. They also remain unperturbed in the face of criticism and rejection, which they use to their advantage. Psychologist Sherrie Campbell calls this behaviour their development of emotional strength and focus on achieving what they believe in. Entrepreneurs know why they’re embarking towards hardship and the potential impact is worth it.
Learning from failures
Jack Ma failed his first two ventures before working hard on Alibaba’s foundation. What Ma learned from those experiences for sure helped him pushed Alibaba to the world stage. Failure and mistakes are part of an entrepreneur’s diet as they follow a road no one has set out yet. Instead of being discouraged and disappointed, they use these past events to improve their succeeding projects. It is only real failure when entrepreneurs stop getting up after being beaten down.
The entrepreneurial life is full of lessons about personal development, business, and the modern world. Whether the business becomes a success or failure, valuable skills will be developed, such as managing risks, handling criticisms, and dealing with mistakes.