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12 Stages of an Entrepreneur’s Journey to Success



The Journey

Are you to the point where you want to throw in the towel and proclaim that the life of an entrepreneur is not for you? Do you feel like you made a huge mistake when you started your journey as an entrepreneur? Or do you feel nervous and anxious of whether you are going to fulfill your dreams as an entrepreneur?

If any of these things sounds like you, then you are in good company. If you have ever spoke with other entrepreneurs you will find that you have many things in common. The majority of them go through the same cycle.

As an entrepreneur you will face many challenges, many frustrations, and many victories. Recognizing what stage you’re in on your entrepreneurial journey will only help you to get to the final destination that you desire.

Here are the 12 stages of an entrepreneur’s journey:

1. The Decision

There is always a decision made when you first start your entrepreneurial journey. You may have thought about becoming an entrepreneur for years or just for a few weeks. When you truly decide that you are going to do it, that is when your entrepreneurial journey begins.

2. Excitement

Once you start, it is definitely going to be an exciting moment for you. You are full of hope, joy, pride, and possibilities for a better tomorrow. You realize that you have just made the best decision for your life and you can’t wait to do it and share what you’ve decided to do with everyone that you know.

3. Nervousness

When you finally JUMP into being an entrepreneur, you’re going to experience nervousness because you can’t tell what’s ahead of you and whether you are really even going to be able to do what you set out to accomplish.

“You have got to make the jump” – Steve Harvey

4. Apprehension

While you are treading water in a huge ocean of entrepreneurs, it is easy to start feeling fearful of what you have gotten yourself into. You begin to realize that being an entrepreneur is not as easy as you thought it would be. In this stage, it is very easy to count your losses and throw in the towel and go back to a 9-5.

5. Eagerness

In the wave of emotions that you are feeling, your next feeling is thoughts of enthusiasm. Realistically, in your lifetime; you probably have already overcome a tremendous amount of things that you thought you wouldn’t get through. What makes this any different, right? So you start pumping yourself up to give yourself the push that you need in order to keep going strong.

6. Feeling Alone

When you first started your journey there are two experiences that you will have with other people. You will have the experience of people telling you how crazy you are and how you need to go back to your nice safe job and collect a nice safe paycheck. And there are going to be people that are going to think that what you are doing is awesome because they are going down the same road you are.

7. Doubt and Questioning Your Sanity

Eventually, questioning your ability to accomplish your goal will come up. Are you qualified to be an entrepreneur? Will you even make it or will people end up laughing at your defeat and failure? Another thing that will come up is your sanity. Could it have been your own craziness that just went too far when you decided to become an entrepreneur?

Were you not thinking correctly? Or maybe you were going through some type of crisis and this whole thing was one HUGE mistake that you should really reconsider.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

8. Despair and Paranoia

At this point you have had your head in the game trying to focus and just get through what you set out to do and when you finally look up, the few people that you may have been doing the journey with are no longer there and you are all alone. Your confidence in yourself is dwindling to nothing and you feel like you are not going to make it.

More money is going out than coming in. You probably have maxed out some credit cards, borrowed money, and you definitely don’t have as many customers and clients as you thought you would have. You are plagued with having this strange feeling of having all eyes on you while you feel like you are failing hard.

9. Prayer’s, Begging, and Hail Mary’s

By this time in your journey, you may feel like everything that you have tried to do to make your idea, product, or service successful has failed and you have run out of ideas. Your down to your last stance and you know that if it doesn’t work this time, you don’t have anything more to give to your entrepreneurial dream.

10. Determination and Willpower

Because you’re down to the wire, you gain enough strength and momentum to give it all you got. You know that at this point everything that you have dreamt of is on the line and you are determined to fulfill your dreams.

“Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear.” – Dan Millman

11. Pure Grit

Your grit is going to determine what your results are going to be. Do you have it in you to fight against all odds and make it, or are you going to go back to the 9-5 that you desperately wanted to break free from?

12. Shock and Elation

You are in complete shock and overjoyed at the same time because you finally made it! Throughout all of the things that you went through, you finally got your big break.

The entrepreneurial journey is not for everyone and it definitely is not for the faint of heart. It is for people who are willing to go through the fire and keep pushing until they make it to their final destination. The entrepreneurial journey will be one of the hardest and best journey’s you will ever take.

How many of these have you felt in your entrepreneurial journey? Leave your thoughts below!

Hi, I'm Denise Damijo, I'm a Business and Lifestyle Strategist and a #1 Bestselling author of "When You're Done Expecting." I love helping other entrepreneur's get laser-focused on plugging the holes in their business so that they can improve their lives. You can find me writing for cool publications like this one, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, and She Owns It. I also love cooking up a good business plan and spending quality time with my family. Connect with me on my Podcast, Mind Money Mogul or on Facebook.



  1. Sandesh Kale

    Mar 30, 2019 at 3:56 pm


    Yes it is true that strong motivation is needed to start with entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is the act of setting up a business. A good entrepreneur is someone who takes failures as a lesson, is honest with himself and others, trusts and believes in his skills and capabilities and has the knowledge of balancing the three Is- Idea, Implementation, and Impact.

  2. Naresh Kumar

    Jul 4, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Thanks for sharing this article. Very helpful to my entrepreneurial journey. This article is great motivation for people facing problems in their businesses.

  3. Andrew Diack

    Dec 9, 2016 at 5:14 am

    It is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

    Thanks for the post. Gives me the courage again knowing what I’m experiencing is not unique.

    • Denise

      Dec 15, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      I’m so glad that this article gave you courage. It is definitely challenging and a lot of times you just want to through in the towel because you feel like nothing is working right. Don’t, you are right when you say that you are not unique when it comes to this bumping uncomfortable journey.

  4. Andra

    Nov 29, 2016 at 5:17 am

    Omg, this article is amazing! I think I’ll have to save it for the low moments so that I can remind myself I’m not alone!


    • Denise

      Dec 15, 2016 at 8:03 pm

      Andra, I’m glad that it has helped you!

  5. Phoenix Rising Star

    Nov 24, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks Denise for sharing this! As an entrepreneur, I can totally relate to all the emotions you’ve expressed!

    • Denise

      Dec 15, 2016 at 8:05 pm

      Yes Phoenix, it is real and it can definitely be unpleasant.

  6. Donald Montse

    Nov 23, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Thank you very much for this article. I am at a stage where I have maxed out investment but everything is in place, now I have to work the plan and start making sales. I do get thoughts of getting back to my day job but then I always remind myself that “quiters are losers and winners never quit”, but most importantly I read books and watch videos on personal developmemt, and I subscribe to sites like this one so I can get motivation everyday.

    • Denise

      Dec 15, 2016 at 8:12 pm

      Yes, it is important to get motivation but even more important to get actionable steps to prevent making the negative thoughts relevant. If you have maxed out your investment and now it is time to make some sales, make sure that you create great content, marketing, and sales plans that are going to get you those sales. I’m so glad that you haven’t thrown in the towel and I would love to hear about your upcoming success!!!

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