Every successful business owner will tell you about the long hours they put in before their business finally took off. They tell you about the financial and lifestyle sacrifices they made, how many times they traded a night out with the girls/guys for a night in crunching numbers. Yet I only seemed to see the glamourous side of it all. Lunch meetings with vendors, networking events schmoozing with like minded individuals, an endless line of consumers vying to buy into my product – that was all I saw as an aspiring entrepreneur until I got a dose of reality.
It’s a lonely place
Unless you’ve been lucky to land an office space with other entrepreneurs (similar to an incubator environment), you’re likely to spend a lot of time alone. You’ll be tempted into watching day time soap operas and taking those extra few minutes to sleep in. What most entrepreneurs miss most about the traditional workplace is the ability to turn to colleagues to bounce an idea off them. You are alone with your ideas and thoughts most of the time.
Tip: If you’re an extremely social type, hire out shared office space with like minded people.
You are your own cheerleader
You can skip out on performance reviews but it’s you who will face the consequences of not reaching your goals. When you start a business you put on all hats. You’re the customer service rep, marketing manager, business development manager and your own cheerleader. There will be days where you’ll want to trade building a business for a stable 9-5 job. What you do with those feelings is entirely up to you. You can either find the motivation from within or hire a life coach to help you stay on track.
It’s all on you
The best part about building a business is that you’re solely responsible for its success and failures. It’s rewarding and terrifying to know every decision you make counts. Many small business owners invest their personal savings in their start ups and this can be stressful knowing your decision could lead to failure. When in doubt, solicit the help of a mentor who has been through it. They can offer an objective opinion that could potentially save you thousands of dollars.
I recently read that 4 out of 5 businesses fail within the first year. Now that’s an alarming failure rate. It’s important to acknowledge that not all your ideas will work and you need to be ready to let go and move on when it’s time. Even Robert Kiyosaki and Donald Trump have had businesses and investments fail – follow suit and move on to the next venture.
‘You need to spend money to make money’ is a phrase I often hear. But what if you don’t have any to start with? Most people are hesitant to start their own businesses because they fear financial instability. The reality is that your business is unlikely to turn a profit in the first year. Be financially prepared before you start. Sites like Kickstarter.com are great for crowdfunding your next genius idea.
Iona Yeung is founder of www.prettypicklesshop.com