So you hate your desk job at the windowless office with the rude boss who does not understand that holidays are for family and overeating and not in fact, listening to Sandra in the next cubicle list off all of her various ailments and pains.
What are you
We just had Small Business Saturday this past weekend, and it’s all very cute to see these small business owners show their gratitude for everyone’s support and show off their businesses proudly, on that one day of recognition for the hard work they put in year round. But the reality of a small business owner isn't so cute. There are plenty of benefits (otherwise no one would do it), but the truth is that entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone.
There is a certain safety in knowing when the next paycheck is coming, and how much is in it.
It’s less scary to know exactly where to go, what to do, and how to do it every day because someone’s done it before you and paved the way, than to go out on a limb and have to figure it out for yourself.
There are times in an entrepreneur’s life where she doesn’t know where work ends and personal life begins. Or what day of the week it is because your work goes wherever you go, in your mind and on your cell phone.
While entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, anyone can do it if they are committed enough and ready to go through the ups and the downs, without abandoning ship.
Some things to consider if you are considering starting your own business:
You still have to work with people
This one is a toughie. Chances are you want to quit your job because you hate people. Okay, that’s a little harsh. You hate certain people. But networking is a huge part of entrepreneurship. Having a community of other entrepreneurs and companies is absolutely in your favor. You cannot do this alone.
We fall into the trap of “I will make it on my own and keep all the glory like a glory hog”, but the truth is, no one is in competition with you. You heard me right, no one. No one is exactly like you, and no one has your brain, so you will naturally be bringing a new angle to whatever industry you are going into. Stop seeing everyone as competition, and instead see them as creative help.
Successful people want others to succeed, not step on them on the way to the top.
No one will care as much as you do
Your new business will be like your newborn child. And much like newborn babies, people will be supportive, want to come visit, find it adorable, and move on with their lives.
Don’t take this personally. People don’t care until it benefits them, and that’s natural. The sooner you accept that you are the one who cares the absolute most, you will be burdened with responsibility and pride to take this thing to the next level. After all, this your name on the line and god help us if it’s not going to be successful!
Begin to see this a good thing, and don't get discouraged when people let you down.
The 40% rule
This was a new one to me, but when I learned it, it helped me tremendously with my business, and my personal life. It's an unofficial fact that when we feel we are hitting a wall and think we are the end of our rope, we are really only at 40%. It's the same rule which helped many marathoners finish the race when they hit that point of "I can't".
Let this inspire you to keep pushing forth when you want to give up on your business, and remember you still have a whole 60% in you.
Growth means you sometimes have to let go
Sometimes your idea won’t work. Or maybe it will work for a little while, then stop working. Being the boss of everything means you have to take several steps back and become your own consultant. Assess your business and your strategy, ruthlessly. If something isn’t working, change it.
This is not the time to be stubborn and proud - you’re the one suffering the consequences.
Get real about money
Unless you have the most genius idea of the millennium, entrepreneurship is not a get-rich-quick scheme. You will never work as hard and you will never get as frustrated as when you own your own business. Of course, you will be doing something you love and are obsessed with, so it won’t suck. But it's important to get real with yourself about the actual money that is going to be coming in (or lack thereof), and assess your life’s needs accordingly.
Start on the side if necessary.
The importance of community
“Community” sounds like everyone sitting around a circle sharing their feelings. Can you say cringe? But to entrepreneurs, it looks like a lot of emails, texts, social media tags, and creative events. If you are in the creative world, you need to find some community asap, as creativity is much like writing - you will hit walls and blocks, and having other like-minded people around helps you work your way thorough. Creative retreats, workshops, and meet-ups are amazing ways to meet people in related fields, and will help you build your dream team.
Be a sponge
Learn, learn, learn. We are never done learning as people, and you will never be done learning about your business. Don’t get stuck doing the same thing over and over when it’s clearly not working. Wouldn’t you rather stop, take several seats, learn something new, then take a new approach to your business, than spin your wheels for three more years wasting time and money because you’re too stubborn? That was the longest run-on sentence but we needed it.
Work-life balance is a thing
You will undoubtedly feel like in order to succeed, you need to be the only person in the building with your light on at 1am, never sleep, scavenge for food in your desk drawer, survive mostly on caffeine and forget you once had a family.
This is not so. You need to take care of your mind, your body, and your relationships first. Without that, you won’t last long. Make a plan that works for you, whether that is disconnecting a few hours before
Entrepreneurship is a beautiful thing. Seeing women (and men) take the less-traveled road to chase after their dreams is inspiring, and I hope that SL is always a place of inspiration, encouragement, and community.