Before I started my business, I thought it would be easier.
What with the networking events, coffee-dates, business ‘opportunities, the flexibility of working from wherever you please, wearing what you want when you want, and doing whatever you want whenever you want whilst making money, what’s not to be excited about?
Okay, so I wasn’t exactly under the impression it would be easy.
I mean, I knew it would be a hard slog.
And I knew there would be challenges.
I also knew money would be tight and that it wasn’t going to be ‘glamorous’.
Reality is, it was so much harder than I thought it would be.
I had also failed to anticipate the level of struggle it would involve.
From the outside, running a business can appear exciting and inspirational.
Realistically speaking, starting and running a business takes more than hard work.
Starting a business takes energy and sacrifice.
It also takes time. Time to set-up your foundation, your client base, your processes.
It also takes time to be able to pay yourself a wage, let alone cover your costs and pay your mortgage or rent…
AND there’s the hours you put in and the stress… nope, there’s no such thing as a weekend off, physically or mentally!
Oh, and then there’s the fact that EVERYONE wants something from you! Be it multi-level marketers, potential clients, business people, friends and family… generally there will be the expectation that you’ll provide your services for free, for ‘mates rates’, or even sign your life away to a network marketing experience – because your own business concept is ridiculous okay! (or is that just me? Because since starting my own biz 2 1/2 years ago I’ve been approached about a ridiculous amount if network marketing ‘opportunities’).
No, starting a business is definitely not glamourous..
If anything, starting a business has shown me:
- How complacent we can become with material possessions and money
- How we all should realise we need to make the most of what we have when we have it even if it seems as if we don’t have a lot
- That we are worth more than we think
- That the grass isn’t always greener BUT that it may be worth it anyway
- That sticking to your guns, following your heart, doing what you love is worth it no matter what, and
- To not allow people to talk you out of things, because people will try to sway you from your path, talk you out of trying, tell you it’s too hard and that it’s a waste of time, convince you to focus on their dream instead, or make you ‘realise’ your dream is a total waste of time (even though it isn’t).
There’s no such thing as the right time and place. And there may be a better time than now, but sometimes now is all we have. So here’s some of my learnings. Cause it’s been tough. And man have I back-peddled, changed direction, rebadged, changed my mind… I’ve done almost everything since starting my own biz. I’ve even worked casually in a cafe for 8 months, something that helped me to reevaluate what I was doing in life, who I was, and who I wanted to work with. It did me the world of good. I tell you that.
IF you can, make sure you have a bit of a nest egg set aside for emergencies. This will see you through the rough times, pay those emergency or unexpected bills, and give you a kind of ‘mental’ comfort. There’s nothing worse then having to sell your soul by doing something you hate to pay the rent. If you’d wanted to do that, you’d’ have stayed in your day job! And then there’s the hovering stress of not being able to pay the rent and where the money will come from. You can only be creative for so long…snd multiple credit cards is a pretty bad idea!
Everyone wants something from you
It’s true. I’m afraid to say. In order to make money everyone wants money to help you make money. So you need money to make money. You also become the prime target of every network marketer on the planet. Initially suckered in to ‘business’ meetings thinking about making new connections and potential alliances, I soon became wary of anyone wanting to ‘meet up’ for a coffee. Even potential clients. Learn to screen everyone who asks for a meeting. After all, time, petrol and money are precious.
Don’t start your business in winter
Unless you have great heating wherever said business happens to be, that is!
I started my business in the midst of winter, and so all I wanted to do every day was to stay in bed under the cosy blankets. It didn’t help that my fur child also wanted to snuggle up beside me…it’s was just way too tempting to lie in, especially since the house was an ice block and I was trying to save money by not turning the heating on. I never pictured myself being the kind of person to live in tracksuit pants and sweaters (and ugg boots) but… I became THAT person. And once you’ve gone to the dark side, we all know it’s hard to go back!
Tighten the purse strings
Every man and his dog will ask you for a ‘meeting, and seriously, I’d love to meet up with everyone BUT time equals money. It does. And a majority of meetings lead to an outlay in money but no inlay. So screen those potentials closely. And then plan ahead. Meet in the middle! Choose at a mutually convenient location. Cut costs and meet over coffee or at their office. Choose a central coffee shop where there’s free parking and free wi-fi. Ask them to come to you! I know this helped me when I had no petrol in my car or money for bus fare.
A clean house
I thought I’d have more time than I have, and I’d love to say that my house is spotless, but it’s not. Most of the time my house looks like a bomb has hit it. Dishes piling out of the sink, a clothes mountain that never ends, beds that need to be made and weeds that need to be pulled. It’s total chaos.
I just got my hair styled and coloured after 12 months and it feels so good. I feel like a NEW WOMAN!
My white hairs were coming on with a vengeance but for the last 12 months I couldn’t justify the price of getting my hair professionally coloured, or even cut. And I really thought I’d embrace the whole white hair and getting older thing. Living in a ponytail for 8 months, I tried to own that shit, but every time I passed the mirror I caught a glimpse of my wiry whit hairs sticking out of my head, my split ends, thick hair, and uncontrollable mess. I needed a hair cut baldy. But I persisted. And then I found these mascara-like pens for head-hair which temporarily covered my whites, and I knew deep down that I needed to do it. I needed 3 inches less hair. I needed to cover my whites. And I needed to feel less blah.
I’m all messed up to be honest.
I work better later in the day.
I go to sleep late.
It’s all the total opposite to my husband who arises at 4.30AM and gets home, at the latest, 5.oopm.
And then I work weekends and evenings and the cafe, and rarely switch off from my biz.
It’s not the healthiest situation for our relationship and he has suggested on numerous occasions that I go back to my career in project management, much to my anger and disgust. It’s only now, 2 1/2 – 3 years later, that he acknowledges I can do this – and that I will!
I have so much going through my brain that it stops stuff coming out of my brain… I really need to get a system in place to brain dump so that I can then move on! It’s just I have so many to-do lists for so many things! People have told be Evernote is good…so I should really look into that since it is actually on my laptop!
Coffee meetings can be detrimental to the health! There’s only so much caffeine a person should drink.
Note to self never to have 3 coffees in a day ever again…
Most of my shoes have fallen apart or been damaged by my klutziness…Problem is I can’t afford new clothes or shoes! So I’m dipping into the dark recesses of my closet and dragging out clothes I’ve neglected to wear. About time really!
My advice to anyone who is considering starting their own business is this:
I’d recommend putting some savings away before leaving your job, getting a part-time job, or having an actual plan before you leave paid employment. It would certainly ease a bit of the stress! But I didn’t have that luxury, and then again – what better time than now? You only live once, life is short, and seriously – I’m enjoying getting all creative in so many ways!
If anything, it has certainly shown me how complacent we can become with material possessions and money, and how to truly make a difference in anything, well…we don’t need all that stuff.
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