That idea that’s been germinating in your head is ready to be planted. You’ve finally reached your limit on what the world of a 9 to 5 office job can offer you and it’s time you spread your wings and soared.
Setting up your own business can be equal parts terrifying and liberating. That feeling of independence and of being in charge of your own destiny walks hand-in-hand with the very real fear of not being able to pay the mortgage on time and of falling flat on your face.
While conflicting, both feelings are in fact useful to spur you on towards success and creating a thriving enterprise that pays your bills and more.
For those of you who don’t know how I made the jump, I’ll give you a little background. I got a job right out of college at a great advertising agency and gained a lot of experience in my four years there. However, a time came when I was no longer growing or enjoying the type of work I was doing so I decided it was time to move on. Rather than looking for a position at another agency, I decided to go freelance and pursue the type of work I was interested in. I started getting connections by doing pro bono work while I still had my agency job and it transitioned into full-time freelancing in 2010.
Those first few days (even months or years) are tough and there is a lot of decision making to do that falls squarely on your shoulders. You’ll be deciding why to start an LLC, have the pressure of having to navigate your way through building websites, deciding on the cost of your services or product, not to mention figuring out your accounting and processes can seem overwhelming.
It’s quite natural to feel like that and chances are you’ve found yourself spending less time with friends and family as you throw yourself into setting up your new venture. While they may not be able to help specifically with your business, they can support you in other ways – so let them. They’ll lend you a listening ear, provide dinner now and again and help you to get organized. Don’t be afraid to call on them and other friends who run their own business to lend a hand if you’re struggling, they’ll want to help.
It may be that there are some who find it difficult when you’re in this early stage of setting up and can’t understand why you’re unable to spend time with them. These friendships, if they’re not helpful, may need to be parked until you’re able to devote more time to them again. Nothing is permanent and these early days will pass so bear that in mind.
Guess what? You’re going to be a success, maybe quicker than you thought. When you are setting up, many people fail to prepare adequately for actually doing very well in their business. They assume those first few weeks, months and even years will be ones of struggle and getting by. This might be the case or you might just hit the ground running. If you’ve found the right niche, pitched your service to the right customer and made yourself competitive, then you might just have hit the nail on the head.
When your business does really take off, you need to be prepared for it. Look at your web provider. Can your website adequately accommodate more hits? If you have a checkout system, is it up to scratch in terms of the process and security aspects? Find an expert to take a look around and make sure that you’ve got a site that’s fit for purpose and for growth.
You’ll also need to take a look at how you’re managing your workload. If you’re keeping up just fine then just tune your day so you’re managing to fit in some breaks here and there and giving yourself time for some self-care. If you’re struggling, now might be the time to take on one or more team members.
This can feel like a huge leap, and in many ways, it is but recruiting a great team is going to be the difference between your business struggling on or growing into something impressive. Start the process early enough so you’re able to choose candidates who tick all the right boxes. Create specific job descriptions and person specifications and take your time interviewing until you find someone or some people who have exactly the right skills and character that you need.
It happens to everyone at one point or another and when you’re running your own business, stress can be a daily part of life. Unlike anxiety, stress is often focussed on or two specific things. You might be concerned about how your business is functioning, how you’re managing your team or trying to get your books in order. Stress can either bring you to a point of inertia, where you feel too overwhelmed to address the issues or it can be a great motivator to help you deal with and rectify the problem.
The very best thing you can do to combat stress is to face what it is that is causing the problem. By all means, have someone help you or even take care of it for you, but take action as soon as you can to rid your mind of the issue.
It simply becomes a commodity. You’ll find yourself having to ration your time out very carefully as you try and balance your daily commitments. You may be lucky and find yourself making money with plenty of downtime thrown in but if not, then now it’s time to carve out some space for your well-being.
It may sound obvious, but it’s quickly forgotten in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Take time for screen breaks. Get up and walk around, take some time away from the computer and to fit in a little movement in your life. Make taking a lunch break a priority and try not to sit at your desk in front of a screen but instead have a complete break for at least half an hour, if not more.
I hope these tips can help you if you are thinking about ditching your 9-5 or looking to grow your own small business!
You’re in charge now, you’re going to make a great boss, run a great business and never regret the decision you took to spread your wings.