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One thing not talked about enough is the challenges faces by new business owners. Experiencing the struggles of starting a business is inevitable. Though the downside is not what most of us consider before we go into business, it should be a part of the conversation too.
You’re disgruntled with work. Few growth opportunities. Low wages. Subpar management. Outdated systems, and let us not forget the outdated schedule that requires you to be in a small cubicle for 40 hours per week. If your like millions of people around the world who are looking to leave the traditional work life, you might be thinking about starting a business instead. After all, if you can wake up and work for someone else every day, you can work for yourself, right?
Unfortunately, it may not be that simple. Though creating your schedule and having a great work-life balance sounds ideal, starting a business is hard, and if you’re not careful, it is easy to get discouraged. Before you start, read through these Growing Pains of Starting a Business so you can recognize them as they happen without letting them take over.
Unless you are going into business with a partner, be prepared to be a one-man show. It’s not necessarily that friends and family don’t want to help, or that that you can’t afford to hire help. It boils down to the gross estimation of how much work really needs to be done.
Many people start businesses because they are naturally talented or passionate about one specific thing not because they have great management skills. You may be excellent at what you do, but find that you aren’t exactly the most business savvy. That’s okay. No one told you that you’d be doing it all. This is one of the most challenging parts of business ownership. It’s also why one of the first pieces of advice from successful business owners is to outsource when able. This gives you the time to focus on doing the parts you love and leaving the rest to hired professionals.
Owning a business is a lot of work. Unless you are lucky enough to start while you’re young and single, you will probably be dealing with the regular responsibilities of life while trying to maintain business. In the beginning, you’re lucky if there is any work-life balance at all. That is why we say burnout is real. I believe burnout is a symptom of being tired. Your business finally starts to grow. In the beginning, it’s exciting taking on projects from new clients. Before you know it, you’ve been up for three days intermittently working on projects and only taking breaks to go to your actual job or take care of the children. The work is getting done but just barely. The passion is removed, and at this point, you’re solely running on a list of to-dos. This is one of the biggest ways to burn yourself out. Don’t do it.
Instead, spread tasks out. Quote longer turn around times, and give yourself some breathing room. Neither you nor your family should have to continuously suffer because all of your time is spent on the business. Some days will happen like this, but it shouldn’t be all the time.
You’ll know burnout when you feel it. Going from loving what you do to wanting to run away from home, or you look up and don’t know where the last few days have gone because you’ve just kept your head down working. Waking up everyday and choosing not to quit is a major challenge. Don’t let the burn out get you. Set an alarm to let you know when to stop working each day. Take breaks, and most importantly don’t beat yourself up.
Saying you won’t get rich overnight might be a gross understatement. One of the biggest challenges new business owners face is financial trouble. It could take years if you’re looking to get rich. There is absolutely nothing wrong with starting a business to increase your income. It’s possible. However, I would not recommend quitting your day job until your finances are secure if you can help it. Many entrepreneurs talk about the leap they took when they finally left their jobs to work their businesses full-time. Though it is possible, this can take years. Making sales can be relatively easy. Covering overhead costs and making a profit is another animal. Of course, you’ll want to price your product or service at a rate that guarantees a profit, but even still turning a profit and being able to cover your bills are two totally different entities. Not to mention health insurance, childcare, and other financial perks that you may be leaving behind with a job. Don’t rush yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
With hard work, you will certainly experience more wins than losses. This is one of the biggest challenges for new business owners because often we have so much on the line. That being said, on the days that you fail, it will sting like none other. And you will fail. It could be something small like missing a deadline by a few hours, or you could run out of product or have your machinery break on your biggest sales day of the year. Mentally, you’ll replay it over and over in your head, thinking of all the things, you could have done ahead of time to prevent these issues. It will seem like the end of the world, and you’ll ask yourself how you could overlook such obvious details. It’s okay and it happens to all of us. You don’t know what you don’t know.
Though it will feel like it, it is not the end of the world. We all make mistakes, and some lessons it only takes one hard fail to learn. Remember, when you’re beating yourself for that one mistake, ask yourself did you spend this much time congratulating yourself when you reached a new goal. Keep the same energy and celebrate the highs just as you observe the lows.
80% of new businesses don’t make it past the first year. The odds aren’t exactly in your favor, still, don’t let that deter you. Some business owners do make it, however, if you are one of the businesses that don’t last, do not feel like a failure. You started something from scratch, you gave it all you had, and that’s something to be proud of. No matter what kind of business you have, starting a business, in general, is a learning experience. From behind the scenes, to the logistics, and dealing with customers, there is so much that goes into it. So if your business doesn’t last as long as you hoped, feel confident in all that you learned. If nothing else the newfound knowledge can aid in starting a new business or make great points on a resume if you chose to look for a new job.
The challenges faced when starting a new business make it hard, but not impossible. Though most don’t make it, don’t let that deter you. Think of the long game. Nothing happens overnight but having to build brick by brick, lesson by lesson will make it mean that much more. Take both your wins and losses with a grain of salt, and try to surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Most of all, don’t let feelings like failure and imposter syndrome take over. Give it your best, and know you did all you could.
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