Psychological Obstacles Every Entrepreneur Faces… and How To Overcome Them
You’re an entrepreneur – an individual who doesn’t let fear become a paralyzing factor. Daunting odds and discouraging investors don’t stop you from achieving your dream. You are an Alpha in a sea of people warning you to never break the status quo.
You have values, talents, and gifts to offer the world.
There are seemingly unconquerable obstacles that come complimentary with the life of an entrepreneur – but you already know that, and it doesn’t scare you off. That’s why you’re here.
But depending on the stage of your business ventures, some of these obstacles and mental barriers may arise. Don’t panic. You’re still the entrepreneur you know yourself to be. These obstacles are all things we as humans struggle with in creating something of value in such a competitive, busy world. Focus on e-commerce, we walk through these common obstacles and how to ensure they’re merely speed bumps on the way to your success.
1. “Where Do I Start?”
If you’ve already embarked on the long, arduous process of deciding the type of business you’re looking to get into (fashion, drop-shipping, kitchen goods, etc.), then congratulations! You’ve gone further than 90% of the entrepreneurial population.
Now comes the even harder part – actually taking that first step to turning your idea into a tangible business. It may be that you don’t have enough knowledge of your market, or maybe you aren’t familiar with the technical aspects of creating and maintaining an e-commerce store.
In these cases, you’ve lucked out. In the age of the Internet, there isn’t much information you can’t access.
Maybe it’s a decisive issue; you can’t make up your mind on whether you’re ready and motivated enough to take the plunge. Don’t worry, this is common. But, you can’t let it push your aspirations to the side.
One of the most important qualities a successful entrepreneur can have is a sense of urgency.
Whether that urgency arises after a traumatic incident like a divorce or being fired from your job, you can’t ever lose it if you want your business to continue growing. There’s a world of hungry people out there – make sure you never become a full one. Motivation comes in many shapes and forms. Whether it’s exercise, meditation, keeping your finances to a minimum to induce that hunger, etc., just make sure it’s dependable and sustainable for you.
2. Marginal Benefits
While the entrepreneurial legends devoted every waking moment to their businesses, that isn’t always possible for us. You may have a family to support. A degree you’re still earning. Your business model could be slow in the initial stages and you may not have the financial cushion to take huge risks.
Whatever the case, if you have to start your business on the side, you have to make sure you’re allotting enough time and effort for it to thrive. This means taking a highly disciplined, highly methodical look at your decision making in regards to time management.
You have marginal benefits that come along with making decisions, and you also have costs. Our natural psychology typically leads us to take action and make decisions when the marginal benefits outweigh the costs. Take for example, your living space. Every day it gets a little bit dirtier with dust, water bottles, little pieces of trash, dishes, etc. We could take five minutes out of each day for basic cleaning, but you don’t. You usually wait – wait for the grime to significantly show, the bottles to pile up, and the sink to get full before we start cleaning – and then it takes us two hours to finish.
This happens because, at first, we don’t see the benefit of fixing small inconveniences worth the time in the long run. The marginal benefit isn’t worth the cost. Yet, when it gets unbearable, the brain decides our quality of living is worth taking the extra hours out of the day to clean it all up. The marginal benefit outweighs the cost.
What does this have to do with your e-commerce site?
As an entrepreneur, it’s crucial you reevaluate this natural decision-making process. Your business needs to thrive, and there are a lot of little tasks that need to be done over a long period of time in order to build your venture into a successful, profitable business. Eventually, you should hire out other people to complete these small tasks so you can focus on big, money-making moves. But until then, it’s on your shoulders, and being the slightest bit lazy will compound into business-killing excess.
These things won’t show you any returns immediately, which is why it makes this one of the hardest psychological obstacles to push past in the e-commerce world. Things like choosing the proper products to sell online, setting up ads, publishing blog posts, (heck, building a blog!), developing social media channels, etc., all takes time, and provide hardly any instant gratification.
But, in the long run – if you do these things daily, and conquer this mental barrier – it’ll pay off and be the building blocks of your brand.
3. The False Productivity Façade
This is a super common problem that affects e-commerce entrepreneurs especially. This is when you feel like you’re doing something useful… but the action really does nothing to further your business goals.
The biggest culprit: tweaking your website. Customizing the layouts, rewriting the copy, adding new photos – you can spend TONS of time messing around and updating your website. But, is it really furthering your goals? In the beginning stages of your business: no.
Eventually, once you have a following of readers, website redesign can compound that audience and show them you are evolving with the times.
But as I said, in the beginning you have to simply get your website up and done. Try to move on without looking back… you’ve got plenty of other high-level tasks to do.
At the end of the day, it’s all about revenue. Is your site gaining traction in your niche? Are you getting visitors? Most importantly: are you getting sales? Just get your site up, interact with real people, and get them to make some real purchases.
4. Failure vs Momentum
It’s easy to stay motivated and productive when you finally see results. On the flip side, there’s nothing more discouraging than the massive amount of failure you first encounter when launching an e-commerce business.
Momentum is the good stuff, the kind of things that push you forward and make you want to keep hashing away at your work. Things like seeing a boost in traffic, ranking higher for your keywords in SEO, and being sought after as an influencer.
Failure is the drudgery that keeps e-commerce entrepreneurs from continuing their dream. And it’s rarely failure in the large sense, but small setbacks that make your work feel hopeless. This is the kind of stuff that causes most people to give up after a few months. Things like posting a really great article that drives no traffic and gets no exposure, or sending emails for guest posts and asking for product reviews only to get radio silence.
So, how can you cope with failure?
In the words of Craig Ballantyne, author of The Perfect Day Formula, “fail forwards.”
Also, consistency. In the face of denial, you’ve got to keep hammering away. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a written plan that details how you’re going to market your site: How many bloggers you’ll contact for product reviews, backlinks, guest posts, etc.
Marketing your e-commerce site ultimately comes down to a numbers game. The longer you stick it out, the more attention you bring, the higher your sales will be. Again, nothing builds more momentum than pure revenue.
Building a successful online platform and selling great products is a long and arduous road filled with more mental barriers than most people can handle.
But you’re an entrepreneur. It’s never going to be easy. That’s why you love it! And also why only a select few in this world are successful. Don’t let any of these psychological obstacles keep you from building your dream – because at the end of the day, those obstacles can’t stand up to your determination.