Becoming an entrepreneur is the best (and toughest) form of personal development there is, bar none. You can’t avoid the things you hate, ignore your personal faults or hide from the fears that haunt you because it seems those lessons only grow the more we avoid them. I wrote a post about the essential entrepreneurial skills that you won’t learn in business school.
Consider this post a long overdue continuation of that post from the other side: the tough lessons we have to learn as entrepreneurs. It’s a combination of the entrepreneurial skills we need to develop in order to avoid repeating the mistakes outlined below.
5 Hard Lessons You Won’t Learn in Business School
#1: Underestimating a Project — Whatever the reason, good intentions, pity for a prospect in need or just plain stupidity, we have all paid the price of underestimating a project. The worst part is that it ALWAYS costs more than what we lose on the project either in lost opportunity, goodwill or reputation. Get good at estimating and never EVER put yourself on sale!
#2: Gaining Control of Your Time — Time wasters lurk around every corner, especially when you work from home. It seems everyone and everything is conspiring against you, from the friendly neighbor who always pops in to chitchat to the pile of paper on your desk that conveniently draws your attention away from a task you are avoiding. Take control of your time by setting (and enforcing) your time boundaries.
#3: Ignoring THE Signs — Trusting your instinct is one of the hardest lessons to learn because it involves switching from your ‘book learning’ and tuning into your inner wisdom. When I look back at every disaster, whether it was a client, a partnership or a contractor, the signs were all there. Get in the habit of questioning everything and actively looking for warning signs!
#4: Promoting Yourself — Often entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs not because they are especially gifted salespeople, but because they solve a problem in the marketplace or they are especially skilled in a particular area that there is a reasonable demand for. In fact, usually it’s quite the opposite: entrepreneurs often suck at selling which is why many flounder the first few years in business. Learn how to promote yourself at every opportunity — you will thank me later.
#5: Finding the Right People — People can make or break your business. Finding the right ones is truly an art as much as it is a science. The tough lesson comes when you think you have found the right person or when you are just so desperate for help that you don’t even worrying about finding the right person. Take your time, trust your instinct and invest in attracting the right people.