Starting and sustaining a business is hard, real hard. The journey to becoming a successful business owner is, by far, not a smooth one. Its filled with unexpected detours, and many bumps. However, without adversity there is no growth. Despite the hardships of owning a business, it is an exhilarating experience that is extremely rewarding. As a business owner, there were many obstacles I had to overcome, and some of those challenges came from simply not knowing. With that said, here are ten things I wish I knew before starting my business:
1. It’s hard.
As a sole proprietor, I was working on my business, day and night. I was the founder, CEO, IT department, web designer, marketer, consultant, and employee. It required 100% commitment and focus. Some days are harder than others, but the reward is well worth it.
2. It takes time and patience.
The first year of a business is crucial. You will spend most of the first year of business branding and building your company. If you put in the work in year one, you will start to see the fruit of your labor in years two and three. Be patient; great things take time.
3. It’s lonely.
If you’re a sole proprietor, like me, you have a lot of responsibilities that are primarily yours alone. It can get incredibly lonely and overwhelming at times.
4. Hire an accountant immediately.
Hiring an accountant is extremely important and should be done before you bring in your first dollar. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way with not obtaining an accountant until later and realized I not been compliant with some state and federal tax laws, which resulted in several fees.
5. You should connect with other entrepreneurs in your industry for collaboration or mentorship.
Collaborating and receiving guidance has been my lifeline in business. Connecting with like minds will lessen the stressors of entrepreneurship. Everyone needs help, don’t be afraid to ask a fellow business owner for guidance or support.
6. Saying no is critical.
Business owners often experience burnouts. As a business owner, learning how to say no became very valuable to my success. Saying no is not easy, but it’s necessary, especially to things that are not conducive to productivity or revenue.
7. Friends and family won’t be clients.
Unfortunately, not everyone will respect your craft. Many of your friends and family will expect you to work for free or at a discounted rate.
8. Work smarter, not harder.
Busy isn’t always productive. You shouldn’t be working day and night without numbers to show for it. Enjoy your time off, and make time for your self-care.
9. Marketing is key.
In the age of technology, marketing is critical. Having a social media presence and a website is helpful. However, people want to connect with the face behind the business. Get yourself out there and connect with your audience.
10. Networking is everything.
The majority of your customers will come from networking or referrals. Center your marketing around networking events, target audiences, and building connections.
Every business owner will experience their own specific problems to overcome, and there will be plenty of instances of trial and error. However, these ten steps should help in increasing your chances of survival or at least reduce the amount of stress you may face as a business owner.
Article Written By: Takiya Green, Founder of Divine Writing Solutions