Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
At some point in the early days of entrepreneurial life, there are moments when it seems vital to ask whether the road taken was the right one — whether the wise move would be to forge ahead or go back to what our lives used to be like. This brand of reflection is already common among people generally, but for those who’ve completely changed their lives the way a new business owner has, it’s all but inevitable.
An existential question like this might seem frightening at first, but I’ve found that there is, pretty much universally, a single answer: keep moving forward and finish what you started.
Don’t believe me?
You have been there before
Perhaps not in this exact situation, but all people have experienced adversity, and yet survival is enduring. You have likely been through dozens of crises you’d initially thought to be game-ending, yet you persevered. Where you are right now isn’t wholly different from most crossroads life presents, whether business-related or not. So, acknowledge that doubts and problems have always been a part of every human’s story, and that they are not always a sign that something is foundationally wrong — rather, they likely mean that you are on your way to making a significant change. That’s quite possibly something you were after in the first place, right?
Think about the people you do this for
Running your own business is rarely all about you. There are usually two groups of people also on this journey — those closest to you, especially your family, and those you serve with the business, whose problems you can solve or needs address. Motivation coming from within inherently varies, because you can’t control how you feel for the most part, but it steadies when you start relying on others to keep you going. Their needs and desires aren’t going anywhere, and the only way to satisfy them is to complete your plan.
Was your old life really satisfying?
You decided to start your own business for a reason. Whether it was a 9-to-5 job you hated, financial instability or something else that made an evolution necessary, there’s no denying that your old life wasn’t what you dreamed of, and that’s okay. The question is: do you really want to take a step back and return to the old self that you’ve fought so hard to leave behind? Because, going back to that old life and working to change it again will present its own difficulties, I assure you. So, think twice before making any decision, then pick the action that will lead you to a more desired outcome — given that you know there will be pain involved in going in either direction.
You have the knowledge you need
Perhaps your existential struggle is that you want to leave a 9-to-5 job and do something entirely on your own, yet there is a part of you that thinks that you don’t have what it takes? Think again, because, in all likelihood, you have been honing your profession for years, if not decades, and starting your own business will feel much like you are simply switching employers, while the job description itself won’t change that much. Of course, there will be different skills you’ll need to learn to make this happen, some of which you’ll likely have little experience with, but you’ve already tackled the most difficult part. Once you know the tasks this new business will revolve around, learning to put them in a neat package that you can present to prospective clients will be the easier part.
Fear is normal, and eventually fades away
There is always fear accompanying new experiences… this is simply how we are wired as humans and why we have been able to survive as a species for hundreds of thousands of years. Every time you try something new, there will be a part of you reluctant to take that step forward, no matter how small and insignificant a new endeavor might be. And, for life-changing decisions such as starting your own business, fear will be ever-present, but the fact that you feel it doesn’t mean that there is something wrong, but rather that you are a human being and act as such.
Starting a business might feel like a new experience, but really, is just a combination of a number of different skills you have already gathered in one form or another. So, the next time you encounter an obstacle on your journey, stop for a moment and dissect the situation to see what elements are familiar, how you managed them in the past, and how to can apply that knowledge today to win a battle that, while seemingly new, you actually have fought before.