You may really love photography or digital marketing or carpentry or whatever your business is based on, but the reality is that a large part of your time won’t be spent doing that thing that you’re most passionate about. Every business requires a whole lot of admin tasks to keep the business functioning. Without being willing to devote a chunk of every day sending invoices and estimates, following up on leads, keeping records, paying vendor bills and payroll, etc. you won’t be able to keep your business turning.
Saying “No” is an Important Strategic Move
Entrepreneurs often talk about the important decisions they made to partner with them or expand into that, but some of the most important decisions that you’ll make will be saying no. Remaining aligned with your mission statement and long-term goals is important to keep your business on track. As you’re getting started out this is even more difficult because you may be tempted to reduce the value of your products or services to generate revenue, but staying the course is important. Before steering your company in another direction, always take the time to look down the road and ensure that it will be a good business decision. Remember, you don’t have to say yes to everything to be successful!
You’ll Be Misunderstood… Frequently
The misconceptions that people have about running a business will be projected onto you, and you need to be prepared to deal with that. People tend to assume that being your own boss is stress-free and luxurious. They don’t see the long hours you put in and the difficult decision-making that you have to do to keep your business on the right track. If you run a home-based business it can be even worse – people may ask if you stay in your pajamas all day or watch trashy reality TV while working. Just know that you may face a lot of ignorant and insensitive comments from friends and family because they simply just don’t know what it’s like to be in a business-owner’s shoes. You can choose to try to educate them or just ignore them – it’s up to you but either way you have to have confidence in yourself.
Getting Paid Can Be Your Toughest Job
Just know that no matter how reliable your customers and clients seem, you will inevitably face billing issues from time to time. Getting paid isn’t always easy and you have to be prepared to enforce your terms and conditions, pursue the collections route, or do whatever else will help your business get rightfully paid. Buy a helmet or get some tough skin, because there’s always the potential that things can get messy.
It Will Change You
No matter how many tedious office tasks, difficult strategic decisions, or annoying questions you face from relatives, running your own business is incredibly rewarding! Being responsible for the growth and health of your own business is nothing else you’ll ever do professionally. As your own boss you’ll find out what you’re really made of and the extent of what you can accomplish. Every day you get to see that the hard work you put in is making a difference and you get to reap the benefits of what you sow. Having your own business will change you in a way that you can’t really understand until you’ve done it.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!