4 Things you need to know before starting your own business
So you’ve decided to finally take the leap and start your own business, congratulations!
I know how much courage it takes to make this decision; I have been there and I’m still here almost five years later.
Being an entrepreneur is extremely rewarding, but it’s also very hard, that’s why so many people fail or quit.
I think the main reason why so many don’t succeed is because they approach entrepreneurship without preparation.
I say this because that’s exactly what I did and even though I can now say “I made it” I literally had no idea what I was getting into when I first started out.
At the time I didn’t know anyone who owned a small business, like the one I wanted to create as a life coach, so I had nobody to go to for support or to ask for advice.
I was alone, without a clear strategy and with a million questions that used to keep me up at night.
Nevertheless, I started my journey.
In these past 5 years I have made a lot of mistakes, I have taken a few wrong turns, wasted time, money, energy, lost friends and thought of quitting more times than I can remember.
But I also built a successful business (and by successful, I mean that it makes me happy and pays the bills at the same time), turned my passion into a profession, learnt a lot of things, made some new friends, helped many people (not only my clients), pushed myself miles out of my comfort zone and achieved results I never thought I would be able to.
One of the biggest lessons I learnt is that you can’t do it all on your own and that if you’re lucky enough to know someone who’s been there before, you should listen to what they have to say.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, most entrepreneurs are so passionate about what they do that they’re usually happy to share their wisdom.
After creating my own coaching business and helping many other women going from 9 to 5 to become their own boss I’ve come to realize that there are some things you really should know before you start your own business:
Here they are!
1 – You’ll be busier than before
A lot of people dream of quitting their job to start a business, so that they can finally be free and enjoy life. Becoming an entrepreneur will certainly give you the freedom to decide about most aspects of your job, from choosing projects, to clients, collaborations and even your daily routine.
This said, don’t expect to have more free time, because you won’t! You will be working many hours every day, weekends and holidays included. Yes, you will be way busier than you were in your corporate or any other 9 to 5 job. Why?
Because before you can actually do your job with your clients and be paid for it (whatever it is that you do for them), you must find some prospects! And that takes a lot of time and effort, especially in the beginning, when you still have to build up your reputation and your portfolio.
So forget about working a few hours a day unless you want to starve! Being your own boss means you’ll be making all the calls and that sounds really appealing after years of working under someone else, but this kind of freedom comes with a huge responsibility: the success of your venture depends solely on you, there will be no one else to blame anymore.
This means you’ll have to be disciplined, so enjoying life will probably not be very easy while you have all this on your plate.
2 – You’ll have to be patient and flexible
There is no such thing as an “overnight success” and usually those who use this expression aren’t in business at all or use it to diminish other people’s achievements.
Success, whatever that means to you, takes time, patience and hard work. If you expect your business to take off in a month, you’re in for a disappointment.
The first year is the hardest, and the majority of people who quit do so in the very first months, because they’re not prepared for all the challenges they encounter and because they underestimate how long it takes to build a profitable business from scratch.
You’ll also have to learn to be flexible and be willing to change your plans often. Sometimes ideas don’t work out, no matter how good you thought they were or how hard you work.
When this happens you need to be ready to change strategy or experiment with something new, sometimes more than once in the course of your career as an entrepreneur.
3 – There’s no such thing as the “perfect idea”
This is a common misconception and also the reason why so many people never really start their business. They waste a lot of time trying to find the perfect idea, always going after the next new thing, but they never really take any action.
Some of my clients come to me because they want me to help them find the “perfect idea”, luckily, when we start working together, they understand that’s not the issue. Once they figure out where they need to put their efforts into, their business starts to take shape.
The point is that there is no such thing as a perfect idea, everything has already been done, there is nothing new under the sun and being innovative or eccentric doesn’t guarantee that you’ll also be successful.
You could have the best idea in the world and still not be able to make money, just like you could be selling T- shirts and become a millionaire.
You know what really makes the difference? Working hard, investing in professional help and learning from your mistakes rather than striving for perfection. To have a successful business you don’t need a fancy idea, you need good strategy and great execution.
4 – You will lose some friends
I’m really sorry to say this and I hope it won’t happen to you, but be ready, just in case it does happen. The thing is some of your friends are your friends because you share the same lifestyle, or because you work together.
When you’ll have your own business, your life will change, you’ll be very busy, but not with the same things your friends are busy with and this can cause some fractures.
You’ll also notice that some of your friends will start criticizing you for going after your dreams and wanting more. Some will be so triggered by your choice that they’ll even try to hinder you or stop you. They may all of a sudden distance themselves from you or simply ignore all your achievements.
The more successful you’ll be, the more they’ll feel threatened by you. When you have the courage to go after your dreams and prove others that it is indeed possible, you become the one who forces them to deal with their own life and their own choices.
A lot of people aren’t happy, but don’t want to make the effort to change or to take risks. If this is happening to you right now, I know how painful it can be! But remember, these aren’t good friends, and you’ll make new ones along the way, people aligned with the new version of yourself.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone, you’ll be constantly tested, there will be days that you’ll curse yourself for having made that choice, but there will also be joy, fulfillment, personal growth and expansion.
It’s been a hell of a ride so far, but I’m happy and most of all, I’m proud of myself for not giving up when nobody believed in me, when things were tough, when I was broke and exhausted.
I wish you busy days, but restful nights; enough business to achieve wealth, but not so much to lose health. I wish you clients and collaborators that make you forget you’re actually working and friends that are happy to celebrate your success with you.
I wish you the best.
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