Starting your own business comes with lots of #werkperks. It’s exciting to have so much freedom and control, but it can also be nerve-wracking. This is what no one tells you about running the show and being your own boss…
BEING YOUR OWN BOSS
#1 It happens slowly.
Now that you’re behind the scenes, you’ll realise that building a successful business takes time. But every move you make – whether it’s as ‘big’ as launching a product or service, or as ‘small’ as setting up an invoicing system – is another step towards success.
Think about this: Apple was founded in 1976, but didn’t really take off until 8 years later when the Macintosh computer was invented.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, but every now and then, you need to stop and celebrate the small wins. ☺
#2 It requires a few key character traits.
A good idea is just the beginning! To turn that idea into a fully-fledged (and financially viable) business, you need patience, determination, and an unwavering belief in the value of your idea. You also have to be flexible and open to tweaking your strategy as you learn more.
#3 There’s a ton of admin.
Especially at first, when you’re the accountant, assistant, travel agent, customer service team and PR rep all rolled into one. As you grow, you’ll be able to hand off those hats.
#4 And alone time.
Don’t worry if you talk to yourself a lot. That’s part of being your own boss! To curb the loneliness, move into a co-working space, opt for phone calls over emails and network both online and offline. You can also call on business advisors or mentors to help you.
#5 You’ll probably work more than before.
As your own boss, you’re so lucky to make your own schedule. But chances are, you’ll trade in a 40-hour workweek for a much longer one while you’re setting up the business. You need to put in the time. You may need to give up your evenings and weekends to work on your website, marketing, or client campaigns. That’s the sacrifice. That’s also why it’s important to believe in your idea and be passionate about what you’re doing, otherwise, you’ll burn out before things get good.
#6 You’ll never really clock off.
The truth is, you don’t own a business, it owns you. Even when you turn on your out-of-office, it’s tempting to check in with the team or reply to emails. Your business is your baby, so that’s understandable – just do your best to unplug every once and a while, and make time to relax and recharge for your health (and sanity!).
#7 You have to put yourself out there.
For a business to succeed, it needs to be profitable. To be profitable, you need clients! Hello, self-promotion. Be active on social media (including LinkedIn), create marketing materials (like an SEO-friendly website), and give your business card to new contacts. While you’re at it, come up with an elevator pitch that neatly sums what you do and why it’s so effective. Lastly, network like crazy! You never know who you’ll meet. Start by joining supportive online groups, such as Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine, and try to attend industry events in your area. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool.
#8 You are what you earn.
Let’s talk MONEY. When you run a business, you don’t have the security of a steady paycheck or an expense account that someone else is paying for. What you make depends on your clients, your performance, and the market. So, show restraint where you can (like with lavish lunches and office space), set realistic rates, and deliver on your promises. If you need more resources, or you’re not going to meet a deadline, be honest and upfront with your clients.
#9 You have to be self-motivated.
Without a boss breathing down your neck, it’s up to YOU to do the work. Procrastinating might seem harmless at the time, but it will only stress you out. Time management is key, which leads us to our next point…
#10 And a productivity pro.
You need to be as productive as possible – especially if you charge by the page/hour/project. This is about working smarter, not harder. The more productive you are in the time that you have, the more money you’ll make. Simple.
#11 Not all advice is good advice!
Everyone will want to put their two cents in, but you’ll soon learn not all advice is valuable. Surround yourself with supportive, positive people, and only take advice from people who are in your industry and actually get it.
#12 It’s all on you.
Being your own boss means taking on a mountain of responsibility – to your clients, employees, and investors. As Showpo’s CEO Jane Lu puts it, “ You’re ultimately responsible for everything and although you get all the perks involved, you also get all the bad stuff. And there’s no one except yourself to hold accountable. But I mostly love it, to be honest!”
You heard her!
#13 It will cost money.
No matter what type of business it is, you’ll need to cough up a lot of cash – for a website, logo, office space, accountant, and so on. Before taking the plunge, make a PLAN and stash some savings away.
#14 Hiring good people is hard.
Respect HR and hiring managers – it’s hard to find talented people who are as enthusiastic about bettering your business as you are.
#15 You’re going to make mistakes.
You’re only human. The important thing is not to dwell on them or beat yourself up. Instead, ask yourself how you can avoid that problem in the future. Learn from it, and move on.
#16 Your WHY will drive you.
When you’re having a shitty or stressful day/week/month and wondering why you started the business in the first place, remind yourself of your why. Where are you going with this business, and why do you want to get there? What’s your purpose? This will motivate you and keep you grounded, even when you want to give up.
#17 It’s incredibly satisfying.
Honestly, when you stop to reflect on how you’ve built up a client base, produced good work, and paid yourself, there’s no better feeling. Running a business isn’t easy, but it’s SO rewarding. ☺
Lady boss, Katia Iervasi.