Here's day 3 of the #Blogtober Challenge. I asked you what topics you want to see from me during October and many of you said "Starting a Business". That's a great one! It's also huge. I've covered some of the basics of How to Start a Business from Scratch in the first blog post for this year. But I thought, it would really be useful to tell you all the things you need to know about entrepreneurship before you jump all in. It's not always as glamorous as it's portrayed.
Being your own boss has become a part of the pop culture. No one wants to go to work 9 to 5, listen to the ridiculous requirements of their manager and complete the same boring tasks day after day. On top of all, there's little time to go out with family and friends and regardless of how much you are getting paid, somehow there's never enough money in your bank account to do what you really want to do. So, more and more people these days (especially the young ones!) see starting their own business as a solution to all these problems. Influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk speak about the endless possibilities entrepreneurship offers and the tempting benefits you can drive from it. And while he is certainly not lying, statements like these are only telling you half the truth. My mission is to fill in the gap.
#1. It's easy to start a business, but it takes A LOT to run it successfully
You can start a business right from your couch at home. Yes, that's true. Also you can create your own company in just a few minutes, all done online. It's gonna cost you less than £20. Simple, easy, straightforward. But that's a tiny and almost insignificant step towards your success as a business owner. It's much more important to have a good idea that can stand on the market (do your market research), plan your goals, objectives and actions (create a business plan), get the right resources in place (connect with specialists and potential partners). All this will help you turn your idea into an actual successful venture. Of course, there's much more to it!
#2. You will be working LONG hours
If your main reason to start your business is to run away from the long hours on the job, I'll have to disappoint you. Yes, being your own boss provides you freedom in the sense that you don't have to work in particular time frame during the day. However, you should know, especially in the beginning, you will be working 12, 16, even 18 hours a day. You will have to give up sleep, social outings, sacrifice some family time. All of us who have started solo or in a partnership with another person have gone through this process. You will have to put in the work of 10 people before you can afford to hire them.
#3. The money will NOT start coming immediately
Financial freedom is the final destination and the shortcuts to it are extremely rare. Most businesses run on losses or zero profit throughout their first year of operation. Others are able to register profit but it is far from the amount needed to allow the owners to cover all personal bills, let alone live large. Don't be fooled by the luxurious lifestyle and never-ending vacations and trips you see on social media. These will come if you are diligent enough and run your business the smart way. Unfortunately, for very few success comes overnight.
#4. You will either need a STRONG CAPITAL or an EXCEPTIONAL SKILL to start
As I already said above you will need to put a lot of things in place before you can start doing business. For some this will mean finding an appropriate venue, for others it will include hiring staff or implementing working structures, softwares and procedures. Don't forget hiring a business consultant to guide you through the process if you are new to this whole thing. All that requires stable capital.
If you have an exceptional skill such as crafts making, providing sought after service or teaching something people are interested in, you may be able to start with very little or no capital at all. You can create a Facebook page where you would display your handmade products or offer your local services. That's free. Also you can list your company on specific trade directories at a small cost per month. Getting an Etsy shop also won't break the bank. You can learn tons of stuff on how to promote your business on social media just by searching Google. However, all this will get you to a certain level. If you want to grow, you will have to invest in a website, branding, marketing and other professional business services.
#5. Owning a business is a BIG responsibility
If you plan to have your business just as a side hustle that involves only you, then you'll probably have not many qualms about how things are going. However, if you really want to build the life you want on the profit from your business, you will have to take many responsibilities. When you hire people, they will depend on you for their monthly salary. As a director of your company you will be legally liable for anything that goes wrong as a result of a product or service you sell. The reputation of your business partners and connections will also lie in your hands to an extend. So make sure that's a bite you can chew before you put it in your mouth.
#6. Running a business is STRESSFUL
You've seen the "just chillin" pool selfies of the boss babes, yeah? Well, guess what, that's just a moment of a lifestyle full of social networking, sending emails, creating content, optimising content, promoting content, managing finances, attending courses, webinars and events, actually providing services or making products, business meetings, dealing with people's moods and so on and so on. For many of us there's family, kids, a house and other stuff to run in a conjunction. Try feeling relaxed all day, every day when that's your reality. The truth is some people thrive in such environment. Those are the ones with the entrepreneurial bug. I'm one of them and being under pressure for the completion of my business goals gives me life. If that's not you, don't bother starting a business.
#7. Being your own boss is TRULY rewarding
I feel like I've said so many negative things about owning a business that I might have discouraged a lot of you. I am just trying to give you the full picture because you've already seen the glamorous side of being your own boss. Going back to the beginning, I must say again, that side is not a complete illusion. The freedom is real. The fulfilment is real. Damn it, even the money is real. The tricky part is, all this becomes a reality only for those who are ready to put in the work, make an investment, believe in their idea and won't stop for nothing until they reach their final destination.
Are you having cold feet about starting your own business? Perhaps it's just not your time yet. There are people who are born entrepreneurs. Give them any sort of idea and they will tell you how to make money with it. Others are made entrepreneurs who spend the time and many efforts to learn all the important aspects of running a business before getting started. And of course, there are those, who'd never thrive as owners. They can't handle the stress and that's alright. If we all owned a business, who was going to work for us? The really important bit is knowing who you are and where you stand. Some things shouldn't be put through the trial-error method. Especially not when it comes to business!