Face the darkness before the dawn

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Life is full of twists and turns and in business, it’s no different. In fact, the life of an entrepreneur is a long and hard journey and most people find it so hard to tackle that they just quit halfway through. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that it isn’t easy being an entrepreneur. With all the challenges in business, it would be so easy to just quit but a small part of you deep down knows that a failure can be the beginning on an incredible business story. Business is full of inspirational stories of strength and perseverance of those people who just wouldn’t quit even in the darkest of times. Stories of survivors and winners. I should know. I’ve had my own share of both.

Every person has their own dreams and goals based on their circumstances, opportunities and chances. Some aspire to be a doctor, others a teacher, an accountant and so on. But ever noticed how few people want to be an entrepreneur? That’s because we all know it’s a tough and challenging venture. An accountant, a teacher or a doctor, all of them progress in their career but why do entrepreneurs give up?

Firstly, it’s the fear of failure.

“Fall seven times and stand up eight”. This is a famous Japanses proverb and I’m pretty sure the Japanese live by it- that’s why Japan is such a successful country.

Know that failure is a part of life. If you have never experienced failure, it’s because you haven’t tried anything new. If you are passionate about something, do it. Push your fear and insecurities aside and keep trying until you get to where you want to be. And that’s another reason for why people give up on their business: Fear about the society.

“What if I fail?”, “What if my relationship demands me to quit my business?”, “What if they are true in saying that I’m too young for business?” The questions, doubts and insecurities will keep nagging at you but you have to be strong enough to tackle it.

I love reading inspirational stories and one of my favourite quotes is this one by Bill Cosby- “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” This is something I’ve live by.  For all those who are struggling in building up a good name in business, read one my story on my Life as an Entrepreneur where I talk about the challenges I had to face before I built the Epitom venture. https://ragulan.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/life-as-an-entrepreneur/

What about those who had neither had the fear of failure nor fear about the society? It’s the lack of capital to start a business.

We have read of at least one rags-to-riches story and right now, I’m going to outline three stories of people who had as little as 0 bank balance and how they are millionaires today. We don’t have to go any further than our own little country. H.K Dharmadasa or better known as ‘Nawaloka Mudalali’. He left his home at the tender age of 13 with only 75 cents in his pocket. Today, he is one of the Sri Lanka’s top business personality and one of our country’s greatest philanthropists. The Nawaloka Hospitals was his brainchild and today, we see how it has become of the best hospitals in the country.

Another example- Mark Cuban who is a famous American businessman and investor who is the owner of NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and Magnolia Pictures and chairman of AXS TV, to name a few. He posted a tweet that would undoubtedly have inspired thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs around the world-“It was right around this date in November when I was 27 years old that I remember looking at a 0 dollar bank balance at the ATM…”

Then of course, there the story of Daymond John, an American entrepreneur, TV personality, author and speaker who was waiting tables at a restaurant to get by before gaining a net worth of $300 million.

So you see, don’t let the lack of money stop your business. You can always raise funds from investors or even start on a business without an investment. If you have the drive to get there, you will get there.

And it’s not always about the lack of capital. There are people who have enough of money but still give up and this simply comes down to this: Expecting a quick return. Know that building an empire cannot happen overnight. One brick at a time- that’s how it is. It takes time. Most people expect to earn millions within months and they give up if they don’t. Success happens, failure happens too. You have to persevere. With time, you can earn enough to cover up all your disappointments.

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.”-  Steve Jobs

But it’s too hard. Giving up is the only option!

Of course not. Giving up isn’t an option; it’s a choice. You only ever fail because you gave up. Yes, life is difficult and the life of an entrepreneur is hard- I’ve been there and I know it. But don’t give up. It looks hard –yes- but tell yourself you just can’t give up. Let the desire to win push you until you finally win. The journey will be worth it in the end, trust me.

Look at in it this way- An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming!

I know, there will be times when you bank balance may come down to zero, there will be sleepless nights, rejections and even relationship issues and breakups. All these are common in the life of an entrepreneur. Many people give up on their business dreams to sustain a relationship but it all comes down to you now- make wise decisions.

Don’t compare your business with others. You are unique and so is your business so don’t ever draw comparisons. It’s your journey and yours alone and don’t allow people to de-motivate you as well. Even if you don’t have proper skills, you will develop them in time. This is what the life of an entrepreneur is all about; adapting to changes.

To be successful in your business, you have to be innovative and maintain a strong and personal relationship with your client. Don’t underestimate any feature of your business. What you see as a small aspect can have a huge impact in your business. There may be a few regrets in your business journey as well but if you dwell in the past, you can never look forward to the future. Take every challenge as a learning curve and know that if there’s no pain, there’s no gain.

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I absolutely love this picture. It summarizes everything I’ve been saying here: You never know how close you were to succeeding when you gave up. Keep telling yourself “It’s just a little more” and you will finally get there. Stay focused and one day, the success you were waiting for will be all yours.

 

Sometimes, what we saw as our worst trial turned out to be exactly what we needed at that time to become stronger and wiser. We’ve all had our fair share of problems within our company and through all that, we have grown. At the end of the day, life is hard, we have to accept it. For some it may be harder and there will always be obstacles. You might look at successful people and wonder how they did it. But the fact it, we often underestimate our own abilities. You have it in you. Just don’t give up. Grow with your challenges, become wiser with every choice you make and become stronger with every obstacle you face. And finally, when you reach success, you will look back at your journey and tell to yourself with pride and accomplishment, ‘I did it. It was worth everything’.

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