Renowned Business Coach Kris Mathis Reveals the Difficult Realities Of Entrepreneurship

Renowned Business Coach Kris Mathis Reveals the Difficult Realities Of Entrepreneurship
Sourced Photo

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With entrepreneurship and startups being all over the news, many people are entertaining the idea of starting their own business as a way to break free from the nine-to-five, paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. However, many new entrepreneurs take the plunge into the business world without adequate preparation, leading to problems down the road, according to award-winning business coach, motivational speaker, author, and serial entrepreneur Kris Mathis.

Mathis says that the lack of preparation isn’t just about technical business knowledge. In fact, the technicalities can be learned quite easily through business coaching or courses. What he urges entrepreneurs to prepare for are the mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges of the entrepreneurial journey, which involve a lot of sacrifice and long work days.

A Black male born into poverty and raised by a single mother, Mathis had the odds stacked against him from the start. His father, who was struggling with drug addiction, left the family soon after he was born. According to Mathis, he refused to accept a future marred by drugs and violence, so he decided to pursue entrepreneurship as a way to a better life for him and his family. Today, Mathis owns six businesses, with a total of 12 brands. 

As Mathis tells all the entrepreneurs he coaches, the road of entrepreneurship was far from a smooth one. Aside from the stressful days and sleepless nights, he had to make a lot of sacrifices, spending a lot of time away from his family. 

“I’ve learned that there are three levels to what a person does with their lives – a job, a career, and a calling. Entrepreneurship isn’t just a job nor a career. It’s a calling. That’s where the sacrifice comes in. Most people see a job as just a source of money. When things get hard, they just bail for the next one. A career takes dedication, but it isn’t worth sacrificing valuable family time for. I define my calling as something that’s been placed on my life to do. It’s what I’m supposed to be doing with my time here on Earth, and I’m willing to sacrifice for that,” Mathis says.

Early on in their relationship, Mathis explained to his wife that, at certain points, business is going to take the front seat, but he assured her that he is doing this with their family’s best interests in mind. 

“The only thing I asked of her was to encourage me, because it was going to be hard, and there are days when I will feel like quitting. There were times when she had to eat dinner alone, and when I got home, I’d walk right past her and I’d be working until midnight. These were the sacrifices I had to make early on in my career and in our marriage to get my business started.”

According to Mathis, he had to spend so much time away from his family that his children rarely saw him. His daughter would always ask him to hang out on the weekend, but he would always have a reason to put it off. One day, he came home and saw a note, written by his then-5-year-old daughter, on the counter. It said ‘I’m going on a date with Daddy’, and it reminded Mathis how much he was missing from his children’s lives that the note was the only way his daughter could communicate with him.

Renowned Business Coach Kris Mathis Reveals the Difficult Realities Of Entrepreneurship
Sourced Photo The note Kris Mathis’ daughter left for him

“That came as a reality check for me. Every day of the week, I was gone and doing business and helping people, but I was not helping my own family. From then on, I decided to not work on weekends, and I commit those days to my family.”

In the past decade or so, there has been much discussion about work-life balance. However, Mathis reminds entrepreneurs that there’s no such thing as a 50-50 compromise between life and business, and that business is going to take control for a while.

“It can bring on mental and physical exhaustion, for sure. And I try not to get to the point of burnout, so that there’s something left over for myself and my family. But there are days where the call to sacrifice is greater, because there’s a deadline we have to meet or I need to help out a mentee. Those are the days that are more difficult, and it’s my Faith that carries me through,” he says.

Mathis says that the sacrifices have paid off for him, allowing his wife to retire early and for the family to have yearly vacations. However, he adds that there is also a ‘dark’ side to success, and that is the continued pressure to succeed. He says that, having succeeded, there are now more people who are looking up to him and expecting him to produce outstanding work, whether it’s in business, coaching, or public speaking.

“I’ve learned to step up to the plate and play at the highest level without getting nervous or dropping the ball because I’ve been here before. I’ve been through much tougher things. So I just take a deep breath, go in calmly, and get it done.”

In the end, Mathis says that entrepreneurship is not for everyone, or at least not for someone at the current stage of their lives. He urges would-be entrepreneurs to take a long and hard look at their priorities, because the road ahead will not be easy, and that many sacrifices need to be made. 

“I have told people to their face that they should quit while they’re ahead,” Mathis says. “It’s not to be negative or discouraging, but it’s to tell them that their reason behind pursuing entrepreneurship isn’t right. I told them to cut their losses before they even get going, because their reason for starting this journey will not be the thing that carries them to the finish line. When times get hard and their willingness to sacrifice isn’t strong enough, they won’t be able to climb over that barrier.”


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