You’ve heard all the dismal statistics before: up to 90 percent of startups fail, entrepreneurs are more at risk of depression and stress-induced illnesses than almost any other kind of professional and the idea of a 70 hour work week is actually taking it easy for some founders.
This all boils down to the same thing: very few people are actually cut out to be an entrepreneur, and even fewer of these people will find success in the venture they’re working on right now. However, there is a silver lining: there are plenty of red flags if you just pay attention.
By nature, a good entrepreneur is a risk taker, albeit hopefully a smart one. There will be tough days and obstacles that need to be surmounted from time-to-time, but watch out if you notice a downward trend happening.
If any of the following scenarios are becoming more par for the course than the sporadic incident, it might be time to re-evaluate, backup or take a completely different approach
Related Article: Top 3 Mistakes Small Business Owners Make When Starting Up
Image via Maclean's
You're Not Making a (Good) Difference
No matter what type of venture or business you’re chasing, part of the goal should be making a positive difference. This doesn’t mean you need to start a nonprofit or have a strong philanthropy arm as part of your organization.
Sometimes it simply means being part of a worldwide economy, creating jobs or serving your customers at a high level. Listen to your gut—are you trying to make a difference, and do you think you’re making an impact for the betterment of something?
Take a look at K-cup inventor John Sylvan as a prime example. He created K-cups when he was in college, and at the time didn’t realize the negative environmental impact they would have.
Today, he wishes that he had made them in a sustainable manner. Chances are he had that gut feeling long ago. He’s making up for this by creating a solar company, which is more in keeping with his passions. (Still, the K-cup usually garners a 10 of 10 rating, and we all love them at work.)
You Question Your Motives on a Regular Basis
There will definitely be doubt in your entrepreneurial journey, but it shouldn’t happen regularly. However, if you find yourself feeling bitter pretty regularly, it’s time to shift your focus.
Thoughts like, “I can’t take this anymore,” or, “this venture is ruining my life,” are big red flags. These are exactly the kinds of thoughts the Flappy Bird creator, Dong Nguyen, reports experiencing. Instead of letting it drag out, Nguyen shut it down. He didn’t find it fulfilling and wanted more from his life.
You're Angry All the Time
Anger happens natuarally, but it shouldn’t be your regular state of mind and body. Getting angry or frustrated happens for every entrepreneur, but it can also be a sign of something deeper. Depression is rampant with some entrepreneurs, and anger can exacerbate it or even lead to physical or mental ailment.
Mix this in with a lot of stress, and it’s a dangerous cocktail.
One of the best ways to address anger (if you don’t want to give up your business) is to take a break. Make sure you have someone who can take over your tasks for awhile. Anger management and stress management courses can also help. And let's face it—you know the drill, eat right, sleep right and exercise takes care of most problems.
You're Never Home
Yes, there will be sacrifices as an entrepreneur, but if you really can’t recall when you last saw your loved ones there’s a problem. Many entrepreneurs have tunnel vision, which can be frustrating to your significant others and dangerous to your well-being.
Only you can gauge and create your own danger sign warnings. Entrepreneurs should learn to unplug and balance life and work, even in the most pressing of times. Remember that balance requires practice and without practice you will have a difficult time achieving the best results. If you notice any of these four signs occurring often, address them sooner rather than later.