If there is one lifestyle choice I have never regretted it is starting my own business. I must admit the journey is never smooth. It is hard to get started and requires a lot of work, but the rewards when you are up and running are very much worth it. But I would like to share some tips that would have made my experience a little easier. These are five things that I wish I knew before I got into business, and hopefully, it can help some of you too!
#1- The running of your business is your top priority
One of the biggest misconceptions when starting your own business is that you are focused solely on chasing your passion. I have news for you, 100% of your time will not be centred around making your jewellery or cooking in your food truck. This will only be around 15% of your time.
Instead, as I found out quickly, the bulk of your time will be spent developing business strategies, marketing, selling, interacting with customers, and even doing administrative tasks. These could include payroll, invoicing, and bookkeeping. You are a business owner first and the creative side will come second always. This enables you to launch a successful business the first time around.
This may be a shock to you, and you may be thinking that this is not what you signed up for. But, once you get into the swing of things it will come easier to you and your business will be much better for all the time you spent working on all aspects of your dream.
#2- The odds are not always stacked in your favour
When starting I found that things rarely went my way. When I say rarely I do mean probably 5% of the time. You probably know already that most businesses will fail, so how do you avoid becoming one of them?
There is no generalised approach to becoming successful in the business sector. But you can take steps such as keeping your job for as long as possible. This can help to build your emergency fund in case things start to go downhill. It will also allow you time to do market research and gain some traction.
When it is time to make that leap and focus all of your energy on your startup you MUST find the right team and continue to develop your skills. Even if your business does fail it is not the end of the world, nor your dream. You have learned new things and developed the knowledge and experience so you can avoid the same mistake next time. Then you can come back even stronger than before!
#3- A part-time job can give you peace of mind
It may sound like it is taking away from your time to run your business, but having a part-time job can have the opposite effect for several reasons. The main idea here is that your business, like mine and so many before, will not happen overnight. It will take time and lots of it! During this time money is not always coming in.
I found myself tossing and turning night after night worrying about how I was going to pay for things. Questioning if this was even the right choice for me. Having a second job, whether it is freelancing, Uber driving, or food delivery, will relieve some of the financial stress and allow you to focus on what matters.
#4- It can be lonely
When I think about other jobs I have held down in the past as opposed to owning my own business I can honestly say that it can get lonely. No matter what you were doing before you had people surrounding you that you could talk to and lean on for unconditional support. It is like a community. When you start your own business it is just you. Every decision and every responsibility falls on your shoulders, and that can be hard. It can be very overwhelming at times.
One way that you can counteract the loneliness and share the responsibility is by having a co-founder or partner. If you are not in a position to do so then you need to develop a safety net. That could be your life partner, your family, best friend, or other business owners that you know. They may be going through the same experience and give you some tips on how to cope. This can provide much-needed advice as well as emotional support and even just someone to listen to you when you need it.
#5- Don’t forget this is your dream!
When it comes down to it, running this business is your dream. So, don’t forget to have fun along the way! One mistake I made early on was sacrificing things I loved to work instead, and it turned out to be very counter-productive. You may be thinking what does family time, hiking, or going on vacation have to do with work? The fact of the matter is that working non-stop will only tire you out and stop you from working effectively.
Enjoying life keeps you sane. As soon as I began scheduling in time for myself, time to meditate, meet up with friends, go hiking, or just going for a jog on the beach I instantly felt better. It helped me to refocus and come up with new ideas or solve problems I had been stuck on. It recharges your batteries when you’re feeling drained.
Working yourself to death is not good for your health or your business. Enjoy the little things and this will be reflected in your work.
Hopefully with the information above you can avoid some of the mistakes I made as I ventured into business ownership. It will certainly make your journey that little bit smoother. If my experience helps just one person starting on their own then I have done what I set out to do. Hopefully, you can use the tips I have given to boost your business and get you just that little bit close to a profitable and successful startup.
Love & Blessings,