3 Lessons From 3 Years As an Entrepreneur Your business can survive those first 36 months so long as you become more self-aware.

By Maleeka T. Hollaway

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Saying that entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart is an understatement. Being an entrepreneur is a risk. It involves a level of uncertainty that can bring even the biggest of business giants to their knees. Statistics show that many businesses fail within the first few years. If we dig a bit further, it's fairer to say those who run the businesses have failed, and you don't want to be one of those people.

The thing about leaping into the unknown is that there's one subject that you'll have to become the most acquainted with that no one else can tell you much about -- you. Entrepreneurship teaches you things about yourself that you never knew, exposing what you need to grow into who you were created to be. Naturally, as you learn more about yourself, you'll learn more about your identity as an entrepreneur, helping position you (hopefully) for greatness. Here are three things that being an entrepreneur will teach you about yourself if you're open.

Related: 22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader

1. You are not crazy.

When I took my first official step into full-time entrepreneurship, I received more than a few side-eyed glances. I had a "good" entry-level job with an excellent benefits package, and not much was asked of me. But I knew my time in that position would soon come to an end. I had experienced a taste of being in business for myself full-time before, and I knew that if I put my all into it, great things would happen. I spent a lot of time in the mirror in the days leading up to submitting my resignation letter. I questioned if I had lost a piece of my sanity. Others wondered the same thing. Looking back, I now know that I was simply confident in both myself and my decision to take entrepreneurship seriously. If you have moments where you question where you are on the right path, then it means you probably are.

2. You make the struggle look good.

Social media makes entrepreneurship look gracious. Why? Because many of us hide the "behind the scenes" trials and only showcase our winning of the awards. We have mastered the art of "faking it til you make it," and unfortunately, we have provided a warped version of reality. Here is the truth: Just because you are not yet where you desire to be in life and business doesn't mean you have to look like it or act like it. However, you do want to make sure you're not misleading yourself into feeling like you aren't successful in your own right by comparing your progress to others. Believe it or not, as long as you know you're in the trenches doing the work it takes to come out on top, you'll make it. Just keep taking it one day at a time.

Related: The 20 Most Common Reasons Startups Fail

3. You know more than you thought you did.

One of the biggest "a-ha" moments I experienced thus far in business was when I realized that many of the gurus and experts I looked up to were winging it. Even after making millions of dollars, there were still things they did not know or milestones they had not yet reached. I immediately realized that I could breathe again and give myself a break. Yes, there are things I do not know, but I've made myself a lifelong learner. I strive every day to perfect and progress my craft, and you should aim to improve your art too. It's great to have someone to aspire to be like in this journey, but always remember that you also have a genius zone. Consider all the things you know that people don't give you credit for, and give yourself a break too. In doing so, you'll realize that you're so much further along than you thought.

Maleeka T. Hollaway

Branding & Communications Specialist, Speaker & Best-Selling Author

Maleeka T. Hollaway is a millennial entrepreneur, speaker, and writer obsessed with professional development and small business growth. Her goal is to teach entrepreneurs to position themselves to grow sustainable businesses and brands using social proof. Meet her on socialproofsuccess.com.

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