Great ResignationClimate ChangeLeadershipInflationUkraine Invasion

The Ugly Truth About Starting a Business

February 13, 2016, 7:00 PM UTC
Photograph by Rob Howard Photo

The Entrepreneur Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question “How do you stay inspired to run a business?” is written by Neil Powell, cofounder of Mugnacious.

There are a countless number reasons why you might want to start your own business. You might be tired of working for someone else and know in your heart that you can do it better. You might have an idea you believe the world simply can’t exist without. You want the freedom of being able to dictate your own schedule. Or, you just think it would be cool. For me, it’s always been one part ego, one part being able to do what I want when I want, and one part knowing that what I’m building is mine.

There’s no one-size-fits-all “right” reason to start a business, but whatever pushes you to do it in the first place needs to be strong enough to keep you going when you’re five years in, wondering how you got yourself into it. For most of us who have our own businesses, it will take many years of sacrifice and hard work to achieve business success—however you define that concept. Whether you’re overworked, underpaid, or growing faster than you can handle, there will be times you’re going to need something to draw from to keep you going.

See also: The Keys to Success in Entrepreneurship

In the planning phase, it’s all so perfect. You can see yourself in your new office—the one designed by you, filled with furniture and art you picked out, answering the phone in a cheerful tone, going to the bank with a skip in your step, ordering office supplies while you sip your latte. It’s all very exciting. It’s a rush, and there’s nothing else quite like it. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with letting yourself have those feelings. In fact, if you don’t feel that way, starting your own business is probably not the right path for you, because eventually, some of the newness will wear off. The business you thought was going to be all creative exploration and groundbreaking ideas actually involves quite a bit of boring paperwork and ordering stuff from Staples.

Soon, you begin to remember what it was like when there was someone else to do all of that stuff for you, and the day-to-day can begin to feel like a slog—but only if you let it. This is why I believe you have to secure and hold onto that thing that made you want to launch your business in the first place, way back when you just had a great idea in your head and weren’t worried about making payroll. Make it your mantra. Write it into your personal mission statement. Whether it’s the strength of your business concept, your independence, or making your mom proud, it doesn’t really matter, so long as it’s personal and you truly believe in it.


I frequently find myself thinking back on why I’m an entrepreneur. What on earth compelled me to leave the resources and the free coffee and the four weeks vacation and the security of a paycheck to go it alone? The first thing I do every morning before I begin my day is remember and mentally recite my reasons for wanting my own business: I value my independence. I thrive on building something I can show off and be proud of. I need to have a sense of ownership over my work. This is what gets me through each day.

Building a business is a great way to get to know who you really are as a person and as a professional. During that process, make sure you’re paying attention to what got you there, and what keeps you going every day—literally. Take some time to sit and think about it. Write it down if you have to, and pull that piece of paper out on the bad days. It’s easy to lose focus in the haze of trying to manage people and money and clients and forget about yourself. But in knowing the “why” of what you’re doing, the “how” will fall into place.