The Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster Ride

When you own your own business, you have your highs and you have your lows. And it seems like you rarely have any in-betweens.

George said  …
I never talked about this for years. I thought it was just me. Then I got up the nerve and mentioned it to my sister, who also owns businesses.

She said she knew exactly what I was talking about! So that encouraged me to ask other business owners about it. So far, every single person I’ve ever talked to about this knows exactly what it means. You can see it on their face as soon as you bring it up.

But it’s something I think a lot of entrepreneurs don’t talk about.

Mary-Lynn added  …
With Bigg Success, I’m experiencing business ownership for the first time. And I feel like I’m on a roller coaster. There are days where I feel exhilaration from the ride and there are days when I feel sheer terror and want to get off the ride.

Entrepreneurial terror

If you’ve never experienced it, count yourself lucky, but most people in business have.

You can feel terrified at times even with a job. You may fear you’re going to lose yours when you see other people’s jobs getting cut. But it’s still different for business owners.

George …
I remember one of the guest speakers for my class who talked about the number of mouths he had to feed now. A lot of the most successful business owners I know take personal responsibility for their people. They don’t look at just putting bread on their table; they worry about their employees as well.

That can keep you up at night!

Inc. published an article (way back in February 1987) called Entrepreneurial Terror. A portion of it has been republished on Wachovia’s Small Business site.

It was written by Wilson Harrell, a serial entrepreneur and author of For Entrepreneurs Only. He said:

“… the ability to handle terror, and to live with it, is the single most important
– and, yes, necessary – ingredient of entrepreneurial success.”

This company doesn’t love misery

He says that you shouldn’t share your lows with your friends and loved ones, because you’ll just pass the worry on to them. Unless they’re your partner in business.

He adds that you should always share your highs, though.

How highs turn to lows

The way you spend your time and money when you’re on a high often has a lot to do with how low you go. Let’s look at two examples:

  • Too busy for marketing
    When you’re so busy, you may even be running at capacity, and you know your business couldn’t crank out any more volume no matter how much you wanted to. So you slow down – or even stop – your marketing efforts.

    George …
    I’ve done this! It’s easy to do – there’s no time! But that insures the next down cycle because you’re not doing those things that you did to get to the up cycle.

  • Being careless with money
    A lot of times cash flow is at its peak during an up cycle. That’s part of the reason you’re on an emotional high. So you make that major expenditure. Or you add to your overhead. The next thing you know you’re on a low because business and cash flow have slowed down and you have little or no cash reserves.

You may not be able to avoid the highs and lows. What you can do is conduct business so that your lows are higher … and your highs are higher!

It may not feel any different, but you know it is. You’re reaching ever higher levels of success! Now that’s bigg success!

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(Image by LilGoldWmn)

9 replies
  1. Bob
    Bob says:

    I’ve owned my own business for years. I’ve experienced this roller coaster and I do keep the lows to myself. Who benefits from hearing that you are in a crunch? People want to do business with winners. Never let them see you sweat.

    Reply
  2. Carrie
    Carrie says:

    This is exactly why I am not an entrepreneur! Who needs the ulcers? My dad owned his own business and all he did was work. It seemed like he didn’t have a life. I want to enjoy mine.

    Reply
  3. George and Mary-Lynn
    George and Mary-Lynn says:

    Bob, there is a group you can share with, other business owners you are especially close to, mentors, coaches. It is healthy to share your lows and not bear them alone. You just have to select the group wisely.

    Carrie, sounds like you’ve made a wise decision for YOU!

    Thanks so much for your comments!

    Reply
  4. Pat Drake
    Pat Drake says:

    The business doesn’t have to be down to have “highs and lows.” Sometimes the biggest kicks come when business is great – it might be from a customer, an employee or some other source (death of a family member, etc.) It is these times that, to me, it is hardest to keep on trucking. A network of other business owners/friends, who have experienced the joys and disappointments, are a wonderful resource.

    Reply

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