Starting Your Business

The Psychology of Entrepreneurship

Written by James Garvin for Gaebler Ventures

Being an entrepreneur has its rewards, but are you prepared for the psychological aspects of entrepreneurship? Being able to manage the day to day ups and downs will help you keep your focus on achieving what you set out to do.

Entrepreneurship has its rewards with the potential for mass riches, flexibility, being your own boss, and more.

It also has its many challenges of trying to secure funding, balancing the multiple tasks that you are responsible for, hiring and firing, and much more. However, you often do not hear about the psychology of entrepreneurship, specifically, what entrepreneurs go through psychologically when launching their own venture.

Entrepreneurship is psychologically hard. What do I mean by hard? I mean that it is often times a lonely venture where you are constantly fighting an uphill battle to convince others that your idea and business will succeed. You need to have strong will power to see your idea through as you will be told no, more often than you will be told yes. People will laugh at your idea, saying that it will never work, it's been done before, or you're crazy for trying. Being a successful entrepreneur means managing the good with the bad and controlling the emotional ups and downs that come with creating your own venture.

The most demanding psychological challenge entrepreneurs face when starting their venture is the day to day psychological cycles. One hour as your drinking your morning coffee, things couldn't' be better. You validated your business assumptions with potential customers, you just had a great meeting with an angel investor last week, and before you know it, its 11am and you're thinking to yourself that this is never going to work, what am I doing? Then its 3pm and you just read an article online that discusses the exact problem that you are setting out to solve and you feel calm, secure, and confident that you are on the path to something great.

The next morning, the cycle starts all over again. Each day has its variations in the number of cycles that you go through, but as an entrepreneur you must know how to endure and manage these psychological cycles in order to remain focused, yet flexible and understand that every entrepreneur goes through these cycles when starting out. Every entrepreneur has their own system for managing the psychological ups and downs. Some write down their mission and vision statement to help keep them focused. Others use family and friends as a sounding board to confirm that their idea is valid.

No entrepreneur wants to feel that they are going to fail before they even start, yet every entrepreneur has their doubts in the back of their mind, no matter what there experience is. The difference between many successful entrepreneurs and their unsuccessful peers is their endurance for seeing their ideas though. This is not the same thing as being stubborn and hard headed. It is wise to listen to constructive and destructive criticism you receive, but it is important to weed out the good from the bad. Understand when you may need to change things to see your idea through, but never take no for an answer. If you whole heartedly believe in your business, that you are solving a real problem that will create economic value, then keep at it.

Entrepreneurs, unlike established businesses, have the challenge of convincing others that their ideas are valid. If you do not believe in your idea, you will not convince others. As an entrepreneur you do not have the reputation, the brand, or the cash to easily convince customers or investors that your idea or business will succeed. You have to prove it, and in order to prove it, you have to believe in it. In order to believe in it, you have to endure and control your daily psychological cycles and continue to drive toward the vision that you had when you started your business.

James Garvin began his education studying biotechnology. In recent years he has turned his interest in technology to helping two internet startup companies. The first business was an online personal financial network and the second was an e-marketing platform created to help entrepreneurs demo their web sites. Currently a student at University of California Davis, James is spending his summer incubating two new online businesses and writing about his entrepreneur experiences.

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