My entrepreneurial dream began over a decade ago. I came up with the name for my company, took on a couple of small projects as a side-hustle, but it wasn’t until I was ready after freelancing that I had the guts to incorporate and say “This is what I’m going to do.”
There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not filled with fear because that’s what starting your own business entails: fear, uncertainty and unstable cash flow.
It’s certainly not all unicorns and rainbows.
You’re potentially up shit creek without a paddle because no matter how much you build your network (don’t even talk to me about starting your own business without a personal brand and a helluva network), you have to consider these factors:
You have to be in love with your idea.
Your business? Your idea? You better be in love with it. I mean, potentially more than you love your family because you will have to make yourself get out of bed every morning to devote possibly 16 hours of your day to your business. It’ll be with you in the shower. It will wake you up in the middle of the night (if it wasn’t already keeping you up) and it will make you want to bang your head into the wall. Repeatedly. So if you’re not ready to devote your heart, soul and quite literally your blood, sweat, and tears – don’t start a business.
You better be ready to hear “No” repeatedly – or even worse, radio silence.
If you’re not used to rejection, then don’t start your business. You’ll get a lot of radio silence from potential clients. You’ll hear a lot of “no”s. After the 4th or 5th one in a day, you may get discouraged. That’s normal. What you have to know is when to step away to recollect your thoughts and sometimes, when to give it a rest for the day. Don’t burn yourself out. Give yourself enough of a rest to be able to get up the next morning and do it all over again.
Have a good support system.
This goes without saying but let me say it again. Have a good support system. At least one or two people you can count on who will let you vent. Be warned: Starting your own business will put a restrain on your relationship. On top of all the other growing pains of a regular relationship, you may have to deal with them asking you how your day went when you justdon’tevenwanttodealwithitanymore. This is where the support system comes into place.
Don’t get easily discouraged.
Look. I’ll be honest. I have days when I don’t even want to go online because there are people younger than me doing these amazing things and it’s like a slap in the face. Once you start comparing yourself to others, you may not get anything done.
Collaboration is different than comparison. You have an idea. You have the passion and you bring something new to the game? Then you have to be willing to work your ass off and remember that those young entrepreneurs doing big things got where they are because they took the first step. And the second. And the third. They had setbacks too. Just like you will (Oh. You will.)
The key is to not get easily discouraged and if you’re having an off day where the world is crushing you?
Breathe. Walk away. Take the time you need to deal with it and shake it off. Your dream is still out there, waiting for you to get off your ass and work for it.
Sleep? What sleep?
Do I even need to explain?
Say Good-Bye to a Social Life (Kind of)
Raise your hand if at one point or another, you’ve thought that being a business owner meant you can make your own hours and grab drinks with friends whenever you can.
Now excuse me while I go into a corner and laugh.
Having your own business means you are in charge, which means you are liable to make sure all the things are done. I mean, all the things. This means you have to make sure that your client projects are completed, be on call, and when you’re between projects? You’ll be doing paperwork, research, and maintenance on your business. Depending on your business, a new client means new research because they’re potentially in an industry you are not familiar with (This is more common to the social media consultants, and copywriters).
There will be some days you will look up from your computer screen with your headphones in and notice that the sun has gone down, you forgot to turn on the light, your stomach is yelling at you in the dark, and your Pandora hasn’t been playing music for at least the last hour.
Oh, did you forget the unstable cash flow? That just might mean that you’ll have to forego the happy hours and brunches so you can pay rent and cable. Groceries are important too. Of course.
So why do it?
Because entrepreneurship is in your blood.
Because you can’t think of doing anything else.
Because you make yourself get up every morning even if the day before was shit.
Because the stress is worth it.
Because you are working for a dream, not a paycheck.
Because you’re ready to fail and get up again.
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