5 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Became an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs can take many forms. When you have a vision for yourself, a company, or an idea you believe in, striking out to make that vision a reality is always both a labor of love and an exercise in frustration. It comes with long nights, joy, sacrifice, tears, and immense pride. And even though I have found great success in my career in real estate, I also wish I'd known a few things before I really struck out in my own entrepreneurship ventures.

Speaking, writing, and engaging others in their finance, fitness, and even their own entrepreneurship dreams has been a joy, but also a big challenge. I imagine it would have been easier if I'd taken a few of these lessons to heart a lot earlier on.

5 Things Every New Entrepreneur Should Know Going In

1) Know the value in embracing constant change.

The life of an entrepreneur is in constant flux. You don't know what's coming up! You have to treat yourself like a pioneer. Don't rely too much on the routine or the reliable. What worked yesterday might not work the next day.

That said, find stability where you can. If you are an entrepreneur, think about your finances, for example. Do you have a source of passive income that can help you maintain a sense of stability and constancy even while other things remain in flux?

Find stability where you can, but allow things that need to change, change. Don't hold too tight or too fast to systems and methods from the get-go. Allow for things to change. You are growing into a new role and a new vision for yourself. You will stifle your potential if you don't allow change to happen.

2) Know that you must have crystal clear vision.

As an entrepreneur, while being able to accept change is crucial, your vision is paramount. Change should open up possibilities for your methodology and opportunities but your vision should be constant. Set out knowing who you are and what you want to accomplish. What is your mission statement? Who do you want to be and do in the world?

These questions are important to answer because they are what will convince others to listen to you and get on board. For me, I'm passionate about helping people unlock their potential for financial freedom. I want people to take control of their finances, their careers, and their health so that they can maximize their ability to accomplish their financial dreams.

It's about leadership: of self, others, and one's finances.

What's your vision?  Wherever you are, know how to define it.

3) Know the importance of seeking out mentors and industry leaders.

One of the most valuable assets we as entrepreneurs can seek out is the wealth of resources around us. For us, it's not really a matter of what, but who. Our best resources are the industry leaders that can offer the experience and insights that no others can possibly offer us. If you want to excel, networking with these people is the key.

And remember, it's not always about doing what the other guy isn't. Sometimes things are the way they are for a reason. You don't have to innovate where it won't count. Instead, look to those who have gone before and see where things are working, and take them into account. Adapt these things into your own work in ways that make sense.

4) Know that being an entrepreneur isn't a solo gig.

One of the things that has stood out to me the most in my journey of entrepreneurship is the importance of people. This path can be a lonely one, especially if you make the mistake of believing that you have to chart your path alone. Along the way, you will need people.

Whether it's a team to rely on, the support of your loved ones and friends—it doesn't matter. You need people who can pick you up, lend their support, and words of wisdom in times of crisis.

It helps to know that you aren't going at it alone. It can increase your motivation when times get tough and give you extra resources to do what needs to get done.

5) Know that your course can change over time.

Even though a clear vision is important, having the flexibility to change direction is valuable. It means recognizing that your vision can evolve as much as your methodology can. How you achieve your goals, what you're passionate about, and what you offer can change. It is not “selling out” or giving up to allow your course to change.

What you are doing is allowing your vision to evolve. You will hinder your growth if you pigeonhole yourself, or force people, systems, and antiquated ideas to remain when course change needs to happen for your survival. Entrepreneurs, more than anyone, have to adapt to survive. That means you have to change over time and be agile and adaptable. Not because you are wishy-washy or non-committal, but because you recognize what the world and what your industry really needs from you.

Keep your integrity, but recognize what is needed where you are right now. So many businesses and ideas fail because they relentlessly pursue ideas that aren't working. Be the one willing to put your finger on the pulse. Listen to it, and change course accordingly.

What lessons did you have to learn the hard way in a new career or venture? Share your experiences in the comments.