One of the most common pieces of advice that entrepreneurs get is to believe in their product. There’s no harm in enthusiasm. However, there’s one big reality that you wouldn’t read from a common start-up article.

The Litmus Test

It’s easy to romanticize entrepreneurship. Like that lady who unintentionally invented chocolate chip cookies or the guy who convinced people to buy a rock for a pet, you too can figure out the next big thing.

However, the common reality of entrepreneurship is far from the usual success story played out in the media. You need money to earn money.

Imagine working for X years without taking in salary, raising a little money from angel investors (or got a loan), and then losing it in the process. In the midst of this, your personal life takes a hit.

Your parents don’t know what you do (and rumors fly off the handle as your relatives prod them about it). You don’t see your friends anymore (who are getting paid well at big companies) because you’re too busy. Your relationship gets strained because you spend most of your time in the business.

Then reality sets in. After a couple of years, you realized that you’re building the wrong product for the wrong target audience. The market shrinks by half. You’re waist deep in debt. You have to start from scratch.

Do you still want to be an entrepreneur?

This is a typical scenario for start-ups. Of course, you can take necessary actions to avoid all of this. However, in the game of business, there are plenty of variables.  Markets bloom and crash. Competitors grow like mushrooms. There is no one guide that will guarantee success.

This isn’t to say that you won’t make it. Maybe your start-up does turn into the next big thing. Just keep in mind that you have to be realistic. There are entrepreneurs who start as idealistic pioneers until experience whips them into shape. But there are some things that only experience can teach you. The journey, however, may not be what you expect.