Deep in your heart, you might be dreaming of starting your own business. It could be eCommerce, Handmade Crafts, a repair business, or a store on the corner. Doesn’t matter.
There some things you should know.
Books and YouTube Aren’t Enough
You can learn a lot by reading, researching, and buying courses on starting a business. But you won’t learn it all.
When your business hits reality, you’ll find you didn’t know about THAT!
You are now learning from experience, and that’s a good thing. Experience makes knowledge stick.
You Are in It for the Long Term
There is no such thing as instant success. Sure, you can get really lucky and hit a home run early on, but that’s not a realistic expectation.
You will more likely spend hours and hours, and weeks, months and years building and running your business.
Expect obstacles, failures, and general missed goals, and you’ll be better prepared when they arrive.
I don’t mean to take on a negative attitude, rather just know that something will come up, and you’ll have to deal with it.
You Are Your Own Boss
That’s one of the great appeals of being in business for yourself. You get to decide how your business works.
You get to choose your own hours, and only have to work half-days. This means you get to choose which 12 hours you get to work.
You also get to make all the decisions. The results depend on you.
You Are Also the Empoyee
Unless you have employees (which I discourage early) YOU will be doing the work the Boss decides needing done.
You have to have great work ethic so what needs doing gets done — on time, and under budget.
Some have said they have lazy employees and a jerk for a boss.
That shouldn’t be you.
You Will Need Others to Succeed
A Sole Proprietor is a lonely business. As Boss/Employee, your only companionship might be talking to yourself.
You need to build relationships for social interaction, but also for business success.
I don’t mean “networking,” although some focused effort is OK.
I mean getting to know your various suppliers and service vendors. If you have physical products, you have to get them or their raw materials somewhere. Building a relationship with them will make getting “deals” more likely.
Business Money Isn’t Your Money
Sure, you put personal money at risk to get started, and in the early stages might need to invest more.
What I mean is that keeping Business money/credit/bills separate from your personal and family finances is crucial. Separate Checking and Credit accounts helps with this.
If your business starts generating a fair bit of cash, it will be very tempting to use some of that for your personal needs.
Your business needs to be financially secure in order to thrive and grow. PLAN how you will personally withdraw cash from your business. Don’t get enthralled with the shiny piles of cash.
You Will Need a Strong “Why”
You will face the inevitable obstacles, problems, and failures along the way. They can overwhelm you with despair unless you LOVE the reason you started the business in the first place.
And it can’t just be about the money.
I know that you might have started wanting a side income to help with bills.
But, unless you LOVE the work, it will become a J O B and you will get discouraged.
People Will Scoff
If you are starting your business to get love and respect from others, you will be sorely disappointed.
Your know-it-all brother-in-law will tell you a thousand ways you’re going to fail. Your parents might think you are being stupid. Your spouse might even actively object or refuse to support you.
Back to the Why and the Love.
The best revenge is to be successful.
You Will Likely Fail
The odds are against a new business. Failure within 5 years is more likely than success.
That doesn’t mean that you won’t be successful.
It just means that if you don’t remain focused, don’t maintain persistence, don’t consistently do what needs to be done, you are likely to get discouraged and stop, quit, or fail.
I have failed at business, and I have succeeded. The difference was paying attention to some of the small things that lead to success.
Plan your business. Plan your years. Plan your days.
Stay focused on the most important things without losing sight of potential problems.