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The life of an entrepreneur sounds glamorous to many. I mean come on, you see these successful business owners on the cover of Inc and Entrepreneur Magazine’s and they look like they have it all.

They make their own hours, drive nice cars and vacation at the some of the most fabulous places. Who wouldn’t want that life? But what people don’t realize are a couple of things.

1) The top entrepreneurs in the country have worked their butts off to achieve success. Many had failed multiple times before reaching their goals and they have made numerous sacrifices to get there.

2) Very few successful entrepreneurs will ever be on the cover of a magazine or have private parties at swanky hotels. They will live a nice life, but only after many years of working extremely hard. And by hard I mean 70-hour weeks.

Glamorous or not, according to a report from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), 27 million working-age Americans– are starting or running new businesses. But the sad news is that only a small percentage of businesses succeed.

As the numbers are expected to climb, I along with other business owners would like to offer a little bit of advice to future entrepreneurs. We’ve been in your shoes. We’ve failed. We’ve succeeded. And we’ve learned from others.

It’s Stressful
The reality is that being an entrepreneur is extremely hard. Owning a business means that you live and breathe it. If you slack, your business fails. You live each day with an overwhelming amount of pressure. You have clients and customers to make happy. You have employees and their families to think about. You have bills to pay. Everything is on you.

David Scott, Chief Marketing Officer of BNG Holdings Inc says, “It’s kind of like riding a Bengal Tiger, while juggling chainsaws, while riding off a cliff, while trying to build a harness which allows you to ride said tiger.”

Buckle Up
Be ready to work more than you ever thought you would in your life. You will be up before the sun rises and work through the early morning hours. You will live and breathe your job. You will sacrifice time with your family and your friends. You will miss out on events. You will not have money in the beginning. And just when you start to make money, you will need to hire employees. You will not take vacations. Your business will take over everything.

Kristine Lajeunesse, Owner of Always Best Care Senior Services of Central Connecticut says, “ Business is like a child. It’s a full-time commitment, even when it’s outside the normal business hours. You lay awake at night in its early years’ second guessing every decision you make.

Get Your Feet Wet
Learn as much as you can in your industry, especially if you are a college graduate. If that means you take a low-cost job in the industry that you want to be in then do it. Get in the trenches. If you want to own a restaurant, you better know what it’s like to bus tables, bartend, cook, handle the marketing – everything.

Spend just one day with a successful entrepreneur and you will gain a ton of knowledge. Go with questions and soak everything in.

Take in as much information as you can. Listen to podcasts while in the car or at the gym, read books, read articles, join social media groups….do it all! There are a ton of experts in your industry and you can learn a ton of information from them.

Don’t be lazy
You will not get anywhere in life or in business if you are lazy. You will learn fast that laziness is not an option, unless you plan to fail. You must have the drive to work harder than anyone else. You are the leader. You must lead by example.

Find a Mentor
I have written and spoken about this many times. I believe that having a mentor is one of the most important things you can do when starting a business. I had a mentor when I was nine years old, who helped me achieve my dream of becoming a journalist. You can ask them everything and anything about the industry. They can help you avoid mistakes.

Believe in Yourself
Britt Peck of The Goodman Speakers Bureau says, “People think you have to have a perfectly planned out business plan in order to start your business. FALSE. You just have to have the drive and passion to move one step forward, one day at a time.”

Your future is up to you. Seek advice. Know that you will fail. Know that you will fall. Know that you will cry. Know that you will be mentally and physically exhausted. Know that you will succeed, if you believe in yourself and never give up.