Understanding the dynamics of a society is key to the future survival of a business. ~ Wayne Chirisa (Tweet this)
Starting a business is not for everyone and it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. If someone would truly feel more comfortable getting a paycheck every two weeks because the mere thought of running a business throws them into a panic, I’d much rather they stick to their day job.
Additionally, I’m very disheartened by all the information out there about how easy it is to run an online business. As I mentioned in a previous post, don’t quit your day job, unless you have formulated a plan. But, far too many people are quitting their day jobs to run their own businesses without being fully prepared for it, all because someone told them it was easy.
Well, I’m here to tell you that business is not easy. In fact, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I don’t say this to discourage you, but rather so that you’re fully informed. If the rest of this article turns you on and you feel ready for a challenge, then by all means go into entrepreneurship. If not, you may want to pass.
Things I wish I knew before starting a business:
Starting a business was my route to feeling fantastic every single day but it wasn’t an easy journey. I committed my share of mistakes. I wish I had known a few things before I started my business. It would’ve saved me some heartache. Nevertheless, I hope this list will help you in your entrepreneurial journey.
1. You will have to face your fears daily
Running a business will force you out of your comfort zone every single day. You’ll have to literally unlearn everything society has ever taught you about work, money and your own self-worth.
It will require you to go against the grain, do things the hard way, make hard decisions and face your own fears. It will push you, tear you down, and leave you scraped and bruised. This is especially true in the beginning when every door is shut in your face.
- If you’ve been knocked down nine times but get back up ten, you’ll make it.
- If you can rise even when you’ve been knocked down, you’ll make it.
- If you can hold on to a vision even when people around you can’t, you’ll make it.
- If you can face your demons square in the eye, you’ll make it.
- If you continue to move forward despite being terrified, you’ll make it.
When you come out the other side of starting a business, I promise you will have been transformed into a human being who is stronger, more self-aware and resilient. Your world will change in miraculous ways.
2. The traditional financial system doesn’t like you—and that’s okay
Have you ever tried getting a mortgage as a business owner? It’s a nightmare. Something about “self-employed” makes banks think it’s actually a cover for being unemployed. Same thing applies to refinancing just about anything, renting and securing a business loan (the last one is ironic, I know).
Most of the current financial systems don’t make it easy for the self-employed. In fact, I’m starting to think it’s a conspiracy so that people remain cogs in the corporatist wheel. That’s okay, though. Just sock away more cash than the average W-2 employee, keep your books straight and focus on building your asset.
As long as you can prove you have cash, you should be fine (though there will still be a ton of red tape). Additionally, your earning potential as a business owner is unlimited, so there’s that.
3. You are responsible for everything
Speaking of finances, as a self-employed individual you’ll have to make way more money than your office-dwelling counterparts. You need enough money to cover business expenses, pay taxes, set up your own retirement account (no 401K here), buy your own health insurance (that’s a fun one) and pay for your living expenses.
Essentially, you are responsible for everything. Depending on where you live, that adds up to a lot of money in gross revenue and it can take a while to get there.
You’re also responsible for the people you hire. If they screw up, you need to take responsibility. And if you make a bad call, you need to own it.
4. You need to get your head out of a book
I wasted a lot of time reading, researching, and studying, and then wondering why I wasn’t seeing any money. It’s because I wasn’t actually doing anything that would move my business forward.
At some point, I took a book fast and got to work. It’s no surprise that shortly after that, the money started rolling in more frequently.
On a related note, perfectionism is death to a business. If you waste your time trying to be “perfect” you’ll never launch anything.
5. Social media doesn’t get you paid
This is HUGE because I see people doing this all the time. Your Facebook likes, Twitter followers and Instagram homies are not an indicator of how much money you’re making. Don’t get me wrong, social media is a great marketing tool, but marketing and actually closing a deal to get paid are two different things. For example, my social media numbers may get me corporate sponsorship deals, but I need to know how to seek them and leverage the following I’ve built. I need to sell.
While there are lots of things I’ve learned as a result of starting a business, and many lessons which I’ve learned the hard way, these are the five that stick out the most. Not only were they lessons for me personally, but I see these come up time and time again with coaching clients.