| reading time – 4 mins |
OK – so you’ve started your own business. You got fed up of your old job, your old boss, the long commute, the lack of flexibility, or maybe you want more time with your kids or to go travelling or more autonomy. What it boils down to for most people is more FREEDOM.
You’ve made it through the first few heady weeks riding on a wave of optimism and possibility – you’re really doing this! Congratulations! You’re a BUSINESS OWNER and ENTREPRENEUR!!
And then the reality sets in. Entrepreneur life is harder than you first thought. It’s not all about coffees with friends, “hair blowing in the wind” selfies and holidaying whenever you feel like it! Starting your own business brings out AAAALLL the insecurities that you didn’t even know you had, when you were ensconced in the relative safety of your 9 to 5. And that’s ok – but the important thing is to meet them head on and deal with them, don’t let them fester because you’ll end up giving up before you’ve even got started!
Let’s pick the top four things that I reckon most new business owners have to tackle in the first 6 to 12 months of business.
1. Inconsistent income
You’ve been used to having a monthly salary that you could rely on. You knew your mortgage and all your direct debits would be covered. Now, you might have a very quiet month, and then an amazing month (and then a couple more very quiet ones – argghhh). Dealing with the feast or famine nature of starting a business can be really tough because it requires a totally different mindset to what you’ve been used to having in your 9 to 5 and if you’re not prepared for it, it can be a financial and emotional rollercoaster!
How to survive: first up, I’d recommend having some decent savings before you start your own business, create a budget for yourself, reduce your outgoings and if possible try and get some clients or contracts up and running before you quit the 9 to 5. When you have a great month – celebrate – but don’t go overboard! Ask yourself what it would mean if you made a minimal amount over the next couple of months. Above all be consistent in showing up and doing the work and if you’re that stressed about it, there’s no shame in getting a part-time job to bolster your income whilst you get set-up.
This can be a biggie. When you’re an extrovert and you’re used to having a team around you to chat with, use as a sounding board for new ideas or even vent your frustrations, being a one (wo)man band can be really tough. Even if you’re an introvert, you’ll feel the loss of that human interaction that you might have taken for granted.
How to survive: consider a co-working space – these are brilliant just to have the sound of other people around you, plus they can be great for networking too! If you can’t afford a co-working space yet then go to a coffee shop, just having that buzz around you will make such a difference. How about joining some groups on Facebook, finding out who is in the same boat as you and making an arrangement to work at each other’s house one day a week? You could join a Mastermind group, which is a small group of people that meet every couple of weeks online or face to face and share ideas and problems, working collectively to keep each other on track and moving forward. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, please let me know as I’ll be launching an Entrepreneurial Hearts Mastermind group soon.
Linked to loneliness, self-doubt starts to creep in when you’ve got too much quietness and time on your hands to think of all the things that could go wrong. When you’ve got no team around you to support you anymore, that self-belief has to come from somewhere, and if you’re not used to having to do it yourself it can be a bit of shocker and you might find that you spiral downwards very quickly. Self-doubt can manifest itself in so many ways – fear of failure, fear of success (sometimes both at the same time – I’m not even kidding!!), fear of humiliation, not being good enough … the list goes on.
How to survive: remind yourself of all of your experience and skills, people WANT to buy from you but they won’t know you’re even there if you don’t show up! Take time each day to acknowledge what you’ve completed. Continue to take small steps, even when you’re afraid. No one climbs Everest in one giant leap, it’s the continual act of putting one foot in front of another that will get you there. Don’t beat yourself up on the bad days. If you’re still struggling – consider a Coach (how did you know I’d say that!?) Seriously – a Coach can help you see the real you. A Coach sees past all your self-doubt and your fears to uncover your true brilliance and then helps you to move forward a bit at a time. If you’re not ready for a Coach yet then download BE:STRONG, which is a free workbook to help you identify your fears and start to move past them.
This will be a WHOOOOLE other blog post in the future, but right now just know that I know you sometimes work until 10pm or 11pm at night (and on the weekends too). I know you’re tired and you feel like this business is taking over your life. Guess what? That tends to happen when you’re a) passionate about something and b) starting something up from scratch. There is a LOT to do.
How to survive: make sure you’re focusing on the things that will REALLY make an impact in your business (not the fluffy stuff around the outside!!). You can download BE:ORGANISED – my free three step plan to say good bye to overwhelm and focus on the important stuff. Stop surfing social media and feeling “busy” – that’s THE fastest way to kill your productivity stone dead. It’s OK to work those hours as long as you don’t feel your wheels are spinning but you’re getting nowhere. As soon as you’re starting to feel like you’re overwhelmed and overworked – STOP. I love the practice of “slowing down to speed up”, which essentially means “take a break”. It sounds counterintuitive I know, and believe me it also feels it the first few times. But try it out and you’ll soon feel the benefits! After a break you’ll come back to work feeling refreshed and able to focus on the important stuff.
As entrepreneurs it’s natural to have some ups and downs, especially in the beginning. Don’t forget to weigh up what running your own business has given you, and what the possibilities will be in the future when you find yourself stressing about the here and now. Being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone, and you know what? That’s ok. But PLEASE don’t give up before you’ve given it a REALLY good crack.
Download BE:STRONG, my free workbook to help you identify your fears and start to move past them.
Download BE:ORGANISED, my free three step plan to say good bye to overwhelm and focus on the important stuff.
Contact me if you’re interested in having a Coach – I always give a 60 minute free taster session – this is ideal if you’ve never been coached before as it shows you the value of coaching, plus it helps us both know whether we’d be a good match!
Fancy joining my new Mastermind? Let me know and I’ll put you on the waiting list to be notified first when I launch it!