The colonists suffered from hunger, starvation, internal rebellion, extreme weather, and attacks from the native people. In Jamestown, the colonists suffered from starvation, especially during the winter months of 1609-1610.
The colonists had not anticipated the lack of food, and the weather conditions only made the situation worse. Their attempts at farming for sustenance failed, and the colonists were forced to eat their horses. They also had to borrow food from Native Americans, and when such initiatives failed, they stole the food. This led to conflicts between Native Americans and colonists. The conflicts degenerated to violence and opened another front for their misery. The attacks led to many casualties on both sides. Similar situations were replicated in other colonies such as Massachusetts.
After the colonists were introduced to tobacco, their hopes of settling in the New World were renewed, and more people arrived in the colonies as indentured servants. However, the new arrivals also came face to face with the challenges endured by those who went before them, and they were forced to plead to have their indentures bought out in order to return to England.
Men in the governing council also disagreed amongst themselves. They argued and disagreed; no decisions were made until the situation got desperate, and all men were left to their own devices.
The location of Jamestown, which was near a swamp, heightened the prevalence of diseases such as malaria. Unsanitary drinking water exposed the colonists to the risk of contracting typhoid and dysentery.