It takes a large measure of bravery to start a new venture but it seems that entrepreneurs aren’t immune to the occasional bout of uncertainty about whether they’ve done the right thing. In fact, new research from AXA Business Insurance, the insurance company, has revealed that four out of five founders consider quitting in their first year.
After surveying 533 UK-based entrepreneurs and relying on official figures from Companies House, AXA Business Insurance estimated that over 2,000 new businesses will see the light of day every 24 hours in 2017. The insurance company estimated that it takes an average of six to nine months before new businesses become profitable – a period during which many suffer from loneliness and self-doubt so crippling they almost give up. In 14% of cases, these doubts were triggered by a remark from a partner or close friend.
Almost a third said their worries had come after a row with their partner over how much time or money they were spending on the business and their lack of work-life balance. And female entrepreneurs were three times more likely than men to say family pressures discouraged them in the early days. “The emotional rollercoaster of starting your own business is rarely talked about,” said Darrell Sansom, managing director at AXA Business Insurance. “But it is very common for you or people close to you to lose faith at some point when your business is in its infancy. Long hours and financial uncertainty affect everyone in the family, so that’s definitely something to plan and prepare for just as much as having a sound business plan.”
Encouragingly, 87% said their entrepreneurial flame was only dampened for a short while and 77% said their family lives improved after the first year as a result of becoming self-employed. Of the people surveyed, 83% described their business as a success.
Commenting on the findings, Sansom had this nugget of advice: “Keep the faith: our research shows that those who persevere do reap the rewards of doing something that truly inspires them every day and getting a good work-life balance too.”
So to slightly misquote Friedrich Nietzsche, what doesn’t kill your startup will only make you stronger.