Many people become leaders because they want to take charge of their financial future and enjoy the freedom business leadership can provide. While the allure of leadership is strong, there are some realities you should be aware of before you decide to take the leap into this world.

I hate to say it but leadership isn’t for everyone. If you’re not prepared, you could end up turning your dream into a nightmare. Here are seven lessons I’ve learned over through my life experience of being a leader that no one told me about before I took the leap. Use these lessons to experience exponential growth.

It’s Lonely at Times

Loneliness is an occupational hazard for leaders. Until you grow your business to the point of bringing on other people, it’s going to be a one-person show. This means extended periods of time alone, and that can get to you. Even introverts need a little human interaction every now and then. 

You need to get out from time to time. It can be a coffee shop or co-working space or networking online but go where people gather. That contact with others might seem distracting, but it will actually help you mentally. The energy of others can help stir creativity in you.

You’ll Need Unwavering Focus

When you don’t have a direct boss or company tracking your progress, it’s easy to lose focus. Your freedom to do whatever you decide with your time will backfire if you don’t stick to a schedule and plan. Today, things like social media notifications can lead you down time-wasting rabbit holes.

Create clear goals and benchmarks in your leadership and personal growth efforts. Don’t give in to activities that will distract you. Your time and energy need to be spent on strategies that grow your leadership. That’s where your focus should be. 

The Income Can Be Sporadic

Leadership provides the opportunity to earn significant income, but that income can be inconsistent. You quickly learn the value of an emergency fund. It takes time to build a steady customer base and ways to generate income. Until then, be prepared for the highs and lows.

Use your funds wisely. There are a lot of places that seem like they would be a good investment but aren’t. Testing with a small amount is the key to see what really works in your business and for the purposes of growth. Just because someone else had success with a strategy doesn’t mean it will work for your business and you as a leader. 

You Must Avoid Time-Wasters

We live in the information age, which has brought on information overload for many leaders. We see something that works and we want to try it for ourselves. To make progress in your business, you have to focus your time on what will help you where you are right now. As you grow, learn, and then implement. Continuing to learn without taking action will hurt your business.

You Can’t Do It All Alone

Running a business or being the leader of a company involves many moving parts. As you start out, you can manage them on your own. Eventually, there’s so much to manage that you can’t focus on things that will help a business grow. Today virtual assistants and freelancers can take on some of the load so that you can focus on growth. Trying to be the “jack-of-all-trades” only hurts your business in the long run.

You Have to Test

Every day, we read blogs, listen to podcasts and watch videos that offer growth strategies to help us as leaders. We see the success of some great leaders and we’re tempted to copy them. Smart leaders have figured out that copying isn’t enough.

If you see something that works, testing is the only way to ensure it will work for your growth. Testing gives you valuable feedback from customers, which helps you in creating products and services that generate income. Testing shows you the growth strategies that make sense for you.

Complacency Should Be Avoided

Leadership can be the gateway to an amazing lifestyle. You can achieve freedom in your life and finances, and build a legacy that you pass down to your children. When achieving success, it’s easy to coast and stay complacent in your progress. Your goal should be to grow and to set new goals and new levels of success.

Push beyond what you think is possible. The “sky’s the limit” is a cliché, but if you consistently set higher and higher goals, you can make it your reality. Before you jump into the leadership journey, be sure you can handle these seven issues.

If you’re reading this, I’m confident you can. If you’re already a leader, use these tips to help your business continue to grow.

Photo Credit: @dylandgillis on Unsplash