The first year is a scary year. It’s full of ups and downs, it’s full of surprises and expectations and it’s full of new beginnings and endings. I don’t think anyone can predict what will happen, no matter how much preparation is put into planning a business. Even when everything goes right, it’s a mentally exhausting time but also one of the most rewarding times in life.
Unlike what most people think, being an entrepreneur comes with a lot of baggage that a person doesn’t expect. Even when the business is doing good, there is always that slight chance that it could go downhill and go downhill quick. From laughter to tears, there’s a whole range of emotions an entrepreneur will feel when they first start out.
There’s nothing more exciting than starting a business. To be able to work for yourself is a dream that almost every person has, and the possibilities are endless. You get to control everything, and no one can tell you what to do! What could possibly be more thrilling than that?!
Once the excitement has dialed down a bit, the feelings of nervousness begin to kick in. You start to realize just how much money you spent on marketing and how little money you spent on hiring someone to actually do the accounting. You begin to realize that if this doesn’t go well, you’re the one at loss. What if you lose everything? What if you lose your friends? Your home? Your car? Everything?
A lot of people have begin to start doubting you, if they haven’t already before. Because of this though, you’ll want to drive this business farther than anyone else you know. You’ll want to show the people who were talking hate that, indeed, you know what you are doing and it will succeed. You’re on a path to prove them wrong—-and a path to keep yourself from sinking.
Starting a business leaves no time for sleep. If you’re still working whatever job you had before, you’ll feel this even more than most. Because you can’t afford to lose money while making money, you’ll find yourself sleeping at odd hours of the day, sleeping in strange places, and in general, not sleeping. By the end of the week, you’ve gone pretty loopy from sleeping an average of just a few hours a night. But in the back of your mind, you remember what people said, and you know that you have to put every ounce you have into this business.
You’ve fully launched. You’ve made your first sale or sold your first product. Whatever it is, there is a sigh of relief because you know that all of the work you put in wasn’t for nothing. You’ve at least gotten somewhere, even though it may not be yet where you want it to be. You know that something is working, but you still have to find what will work even better.
You’re business is rolling. You’ve made more than a few sales, you’ve gotten a few more clients, and you finally feel like you can have a moment to feel control. You know what you’re doing. You’ve mastered this. You can hire people and you can talk about your startup. Finally, you’re noteworthy.
So you’ve been able to sell things and you’ve had your moment of awesomeness. And then you remember that this is your business and if for some reason, you screw things up, you’ll look like a screw up. So you start looking at the numbers and looking at your projections and wonder if you will make it. Will this business make it? Will you be able to eat next year, let alone let the rest of your team eat? You don’t know.
You’ve been working so hard that you completely forget for a bit of time why you are doing what you’re doing. Finally, you have a breathing moment where you can reflect on why you got into this, why you invested so much, and why you never seem to actually get sleep. And it’s the results that drive you. It’s your passion behind the product and service. It’s the way it makes you feel. You love that you’re contributing to the world, and it’s what wakes you up every single morning.
You’ve made it through the first year. Whether or not you were successful, you did it. It sucked. It definitely sucked for a good portion of it, especially the days where you got no sleep and forgot to eat, but you made it. And next year, at this exact moment in time, it will be even sweeter. You know what you’re doing and you can’t wait to keep doing it.
So whatever your business is or whatever service you want to provide to the world, know that it’s going to be an emotional ride. You’re not going to know a lot of things, and that’s ok. But that emotional rollercoaster is what is going to drive you to wake up and keep pushing forward everyday.
About the author
Liz is a graduate from the University of Minnesota in Sports Management. She’s worked countless jobs in sports but currently spends her time working in retail, traveling the world, lifting, and marrying people. See more at