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5 Biggest Hurdles for Entrepreneurs (And How to Get Over Them)

Being an entrepreneur can be a daunting task, let alone nearly an impossible one at times. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, roughly 39% of small businesses make a profit over their existence. That leaves a little less than one-third breaking even (30% to be exact) and the other 30% losing money. These stats alone could make you want to curl up and crawl in bed, and just shows one of the many hurdles entrepreneurs are up against. Read on to learn what five others are and, more importantly, how entrepreneurs can get over them and on the other side. (Plus, learn why you may benefit from an Oregon entity search.)

1. People Don’t Believe in Your Startup

This could be strangers you small-talk with or, yes, (harshly) even friends and family. When you meet up for the holidays or over brunch and talk turns to your work, you are met with vague responses and uncomfortable body language. Your work is not taken seriously; you find yourself having to convince others for support, not to mention you receive calls throughout the workday from friends and family asking you to run an errand or hang out—in other words, because you don’t work a standard 9-to-5, you are treated as if you don’t work at all.

How to Get Over the Hurdle

Despite the good intentions, often times, it may feel as if what you do is not important. A lot of times, friends and family fall for the entrepreneur stereotype: always flexible and up to work anytime, anywhere; and not working hard enough or over-working. Jump over this hurdle by talking with family and friends in-depth about what you do. At the same time, focus on your work and try not to fall for the attribution effect, which occurs when we assume a person’s behavior says something about their character.

2. Getting Investors

Getting investors—whether from venture capitalists or angel investors—for your startup can be challenging. For one, depending on the platform and your industry, you are competing with hundreds, if not thousands of other businesses for funding through these avenues.

How to Get Over the Hurdle

Consider registering your startup on these platforms to get in front of angel investors: Angel Investment Network,, and Angel Capital Association. Also, create a strategic list of investors your startup would most align with. In addition, don’t give up on old school networking; if it seems appropriate, casually mention your startup when at a networking event, conference, and yes, even at your local weekly soccer pickup game. At the same time, know that funding via venture capitalists and angel investors make up only a fraction of the funding pool. In fact, most startups are created without these types of funding—instead 57% are funded through a personal savings account and credit while another 38% receives funding from family and friends. (Mail Chimp and Shutterstock are just two self-funded companies who made it big.)

3. Getting Clients

Now that your startup is off the ground and running, how do you get clients? You are not sure where to start and, with debt to pay back, the stress is starting to build.

How to Get Over the Hurdle

Email pitching is the lowest inbound marketing tactic with the highest return on investment. Don’t be afraid to send out hundreds, if not thousands of emails. Chances are, you will get rejected multiple times. But all it takes is that one, two, three responses back that puts your foot in the door. Also, get your name out there through avid social media use and guest posting on websites that already have a large following. In doing so, more people—aka more potential clients—will know who you are.

4. Losing Clients

Let’s say you have a small but steady list of clients. However, out of nowhere, one client is downsizing and has to let you go. Another client states that they’ve decided to go in a different direction and don’t need your services anymore. You could handle one client dropping out, but two? Now, resources are starting to get tight. What do you do?

How to Get Over the Hurdle

Always, always, always continue to market your services. This goes for even when you have a full client list. That way, you have a list of potential clients you you can pull from when, on a rainy day, a client does drop out. Also, have an emergency fund set up in case you do find yourself in a financially tight position. Ideally, you should have at least 3 months of income saved up to pull from. Aim to save $500, and then go from there.

5. Overworking or an Unhealthy Work-Life Balance

The reality of being an entrepreneur is that you have no one structuring your day for you…but you. That big project coming up? Why not pull an all-nighter? What about those few hundred emails piling up in your inbox? You’ll tackle them at 3 in the morning. While occasionally this may work (in dire circumstances), the truth is, you run the risk of burnout, let alone not being able to separate your personal from your work life. Soon, it feels like you never stop working.

How to Get Over the Hurdle

Create structure. Come up (and stick to) set work hours. As soon as time’s up, you are out those office doors. Also, use time management tools—such as the Pomodoro Technique—to help you stick to your schedule. Speaking of which, create a daily to-do list the day before so you come to work the next do knowing exactly what you need to get done.

Final Thoughts

Riding the ebbs and flows are a normal part of entrepreneurship. What have you done to come out on top? What do you recommend other entrepreneurs do? Leave a comment below.

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