Got a question from a reader recently. Paraphrasing, he went into business enthusiastically about a year ago, and he's made only a few thousand dollars in business profit, and is considerably negative considering his personal expenses. He'd expected to be successful already, is feeling burnt out, and was asking for some perspective. He's my reply --
It's normal. I heard a quote recently -- in business, expect to lose money for the first two years, make your money back the next two years, and make real money after that. There's something to that.
Life's a long game. If you're burnt out, it might make sense to do something else for a while to stabilize. But when you go into business, you need runway and persistence and expect to endure for 2+ years to make things work. Overnight success is not the norm at all. There's too many skills that need to be acquired, and you're competing against individuals with 10 to 20+ years of experience, and conglomerates with literally decades (occasionally centuries) of cultural/institutional experience at distribution, marketing, sales, etc.
If you're feeling driven still, plan to stick with it for years more. If not, stabilize by doing something else. Next time you get into the game, plan to have at least a year where you can burn down savings (or otherwise get funding, but personal debt is probably a bad idea for it), or have a partial/part-time income source, and expect to maybe have even a second rough year after the 1st and be ready for it.
When you do get started seriously and full-time, block out standard working hours and follow them religiously. I'd recommend 50+ hours per week for as long as you can handle it, and then maybe scale down if burnout comes on or the hours aren't used well. Doing all this gives you a reasonable chance to have big successes somewhere in years 3-5. It sucks while it's happening, but afterwards you'll look upon it fondly.
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