20 Sep A Year In Business – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Firstly – I can’t believe just how fast this year has flown by. It has certainly been a rollercoaster but I still have absolutely no regrets about starting my own business. I’ve learned a few things along the way which I thought I’d share. I hope you find it helpful whether you’re a new start-up or you’re thinking of becoming one.
Financial Stress Plays a Huge Part
When you’re an employee, you can rely on that monthly pay cheque. Whether work slows down, you get sick or you just don’t have the energy to fully apply yourself today (we’ve all been there) – you still get paid. Running your own business is the opposite of that and all of the pressure is on you alone to bring in the money. This has given me a lot of sleepless nights. I’ve spoken to so many small business owners just like me – and I can tell you without doubt that this is completely normal. It’s so difficult to change your mindset from 20yrs+ of security being an employee to being master of your own destiny and all of the responsibilities that come with it – but YOU CAN DO IT! Just be sensible. Cut down personal costs wherever you can. Keep business costs to a minimum. Work your butt off and keep your eye on the end goal. Making sacrifices now is completely worth it if you want to run a successful business.
You Will Work More Hours than Ever Before
Running your own business is definitely not a 9-5 job. It takes a lot of hard work and you have to be willing to put in the hours to make it a success. I often work from 7am and find myself still working after 10pm. It’s even tougher when you work from home. When you work in an office, you have a natural cut-off point. You can walk out of the door and leave work behind you. When you work from home, all of the time merges into one and it’s difficult to switch off. I’ve learned that making time for yourself is massively important so don’t forget to give yourself a little break every now and then!
People Have No Idea Just How Hard You’re Working
Over the last year, one thing that has frustrated me is that people seem to underestimate just how hard I’m working. I wish I had a pound for every time someone has said to me “you’re so lucky to work from home” or “can you just do this for me – you can always make your time up tonight”. People seem to assume you’re sat at home watching Jeremy Kyle all day rather than working every hour you possibly can to build up a future for your family. If any of your friends/family are starting their own business, please be aware of this. It would be so nice for you to ask them if they need any help or support as they’re more than likely running themselves into the ground to make their new business work.
Self-Doubt is One of the Most Difficult Things to Overcome
School teaches you from a very young age that you should be an employee not an employer. Therefore, no matter how skilled you are, when you make the jump to starting your own business, self-doubt suddenly creeps in. You’ll ask yourself “What am I doing?”, “Can I Really Do This?”, “Am I Being Stupid?!”.
If self-doubt starts to creep in, you need to get out of this mindset because it can really have a negative effect on your business. Tell yourself that you can do it – because you know what – you can! Ask for help. Talk to your friends/family and above all else remember your reasons for doing this and don’t lose sight of your goals.
Unfortunately, there will also be people who try to put you down through jealousy, which can make you doubt yourself. Someone said to me last week “Isn’t it time you got a proper job?” Yes I refrained from violence, but that one sentence made me more determined than ever to prove them wrong!
Now for the good:
You Are Completely Your Own Boss
Running your own business means you only have to answer to yourself.
You choose your schedule, the work you do and who you want to work with. Plus all of your hard work will be lining your own pocket not someone else’s. This is a fantastic feeling which you will never get while you work for someone else.
It’s OK to Say No
There is a common misconception that you have to accept any work that comes your way when you start new business. I completely disagree with this.
You do need to be sensible and strike the right balance with your quotes to get your first customers. I made the mistake of doing a couple of projects for a very low cost in the beginning just to ensure I won the contracts. I ended up working a ridiculous number of hours at what was probably less than minimum wage. The trick is to learn from this and not to undervalue what you do, but you also need to be able to say no if necessary. If you meet with a business that you just don’t get a good feeling from – trust your gut and remember that you can say no. This is your business and you make the decisions.
You Will Meet Some Amazing People!
Being stuck in an office, you don’t always get the opportunity to get out there and meet people, but when you run your own business, this completely changes.
Starting a web development & marketing company has allowed me to meet so many amazing people. The absolute best part of what I do is talking to small business owners around the North East, finding out what they do and where they want to be, and helping them get there.
The North East truly has some lovely folk and some brilliant brains!
So after this year, I can tell you that running your own business is scary, daunting, stressful, exciting and brilliant all at the same time! I’m working harder than ever before but I have literally no regrets. If you’re thinking about starting your own business and you’d like to meet up for a coffee and a chat to put your ideas in order, please get in touch. Or, if you’ve already decided to be a wonderful new North East Start-Up, we’d love to help you get online with a fantastic new website and to get your brand out there.