Real talk: Everyone wants to be their own boss, but few understand the amount of work and discipline that’s involved to make it happen. Or they find out too late in the game which is why so many businesses fail. I’m no business expert, nor am I a business school graduate, but if I can help even one person out there who’s on the fence on whether or not they want to jump, maybe this post can shed some light on what it’s all about.
- You have to be an expert in so.many.roles.
When you’re paid to perform a job, you show up and do said job, collect a check. But when you’re a one-woman show you have to do #allthethings. Sure you can outsource some stuff, but usually not at first when your’e boot-strapping, and maybe not even after you’re established if you’re a control freak like me who has a hard time delegating. Here are some of the many hats you’ll wear as an entrepreneur:
- Photographer / Painter / Maker / Whatever your actual craft is
- Branding expert
- Technology troubleshooter
- Customer service
- Public Relations
- Marketing guru
- Mail room (outgoing / incoming / PO runs)
- Assistant (get yourself a good planner or system)
- Filing Clerk
- Client relations manager
- Inventory manager
- Social media manager
- ETC ETC ETC
2. You have to be a self-starter.
As in, no one’s gonna reprimand you if you suck at your job. There are no improvement plans, no coworkers to shoulder the weight you’re not carrying, no boss to remind you. Which seems really appealing, but it also means you have to do all those things for yourself (if you want happy clients and a thriving business.)
3. There are no clock-out hours.
I’m a big believer of keeping office hours. Last year I added them to my email signature and it’s really helped me set boundaries for when I’m accessible to clients. Expectations are always best when they’re clear, so this way they know if I’m not responding it’s because it’s 8pm and I’m “out of office” versus being perceived as ignoring them. But you have to be diligent because it can be so easy to keep working at the expense of your home life. If you can have a designated space for work that tells your mind when to turn on and off, whether it’s out of the home or in a home office, that definitely helps me!
4. You take criticism more personally.
Your business becomes your baby. It’s your name on the door, after all! Which is a good thing because it means you’ll protect its integrity and keep it professional, but it also means being way invested when something goes awry. Even if it’s just a friend telling you they don’t like the new font on your website, it hurts more. You definitely need to have the confidence in what you’re doing and develop a bit of a thicker skin if you’re going to put yourself out there- another reason not everyone can do this.
5. You have to be financially-savvy.
I don’t know about you, but high school did not prepare me for the real world. I don’t remember any class where they taught me to invest, how to avoid debt, what overhead means, or even how to open a business checking account. These are things you’ll have to research yourself when you open a business.
6. You have to be willing to get techie wit it.
I’m going to say something controversial; if a business runs solely off a Facebook page, it’s not a legitimate business. Do you go to Target’s facebook to look for something? No. HAVE A WEBSITE. Even if it’s a free one at first (Wix.com offers them free) that’s totally fine! But have one. It adds so much legitimacy and helps build trust. Think of your website as your home online. You want it to invite people in and make them comfortable, clearly establish your style, and hope they stay awhile.
I’m sure there are a million other things to consider when/if starting a business, but these are the main ones that come to my mind right now. Feel free to add some in the comments! And if you read this whole post feeling more inspired than ever, DO IT! Go on witcha bad self, girl <3