Do you dream of starting your own business and be your own boss?
I did. Entrepreneurship is in my blood. When I was 6 years old, my dad quit his job to start his own business with a couple of friends.
Their bet paid off. But since that day, I hardly ever saw my dad again. Those business owners who make millions working from the beach a couple of hours a day?
Liars. I knew the truth. Being an entrepreneur is hard work. Long hours spent away from your family to try and get the word out about something no one seems to care about. Sleepless nights worrying about money and if you’ll able to pay the rent this month…
But the rewards are worth it. The freedom of being the mistress of your time and take time off when you need to. The fulfillment that comes from doing work your love and bringing your vision to life every day.
I thought I knew all there was to know about entrepreneurship. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Boy, was I wrong. Nothing can really prepare you for the challenges that lie ahead when you go for it and start your own business.
But I’ll do my best and share with you 5 things I wish someone had told me before starting my own business. I hope they’ll help you get a clearer idea of whether this path is the right one for you:
1. Your Inner Mean Girl Is Killing Your Business
Forget about a bad economy or long-winded, expensive bureaucracy. These things matter, but nothing can kill your business faster than your inner mean girl.
Your inner mean girl is the inner voice in your head that tells you you don’t have what it takes to succeed.
She reminds you you’re not pretty enough, qualified enough, rich enough, extroverted enough, whatever enough. Maybe you should go on a diet or get another degree before you take the jump…
She agrees with your mom and friends who doubt what you’re doing and think you should stick to your safe 9-5 job – just like they are doing. Maybe that’s not such a bad idea…
She makes you doubt your prices and second-guess if people are really interested in what you’re offering. Maybe you should lower the price, even if it means you’ll barely make the rent money…
She makes you wonder if it’s really worth it to go to networking events, being interviewed on podcasts and getting your name out there. Maybe you should play it safe, even if it means that very few clients will find you…
Shut her up.
If you want your business to succeed, you have to silence every self-limiting belief you have. They’re luxury you can’t afford.
Your business needs you to make money, build connections, get out of your comfort zone every single day.
You can be scared or you can be successful. Your choice.
Have no idea how to tame your Inner Mean Girl? I’ve got you covered. Click on the image below to download the “Silence Your Inner Mean Girl” cheatsheet to turn your inner critic into your biggest supporter.
2. You Need To Work For Free For A Long Time
My dad had done the groundwork long before he started his business. He was one of the most extroverted people I’ve ever met – he knew pretty much everyone in town. When he was ready to launch, he already had clients knocking on his door.
My father is the exception to the rule. Most of us start from scratch. We need to build an audience of raving fans before we can start making a profitable income from our business.
I’ve worked on my first beauty blog for years for free, investing my own money in hosting services, social media schedulers etc to grow a large enough fanbase that would be happy to buy my offerings (and allow me to pay my bills).
It probably would have taken less time hadn’t I had to battle with so many limiting beliefs (thank you, inner mean girl!), but you get the point: don’t quit the day job just yet.
It takes time to build a profitable business and for a while, you’ll have little to show for your sacrifices. Don’t get discouraged. You’ll get there and it will be the best feeling ever.
3. As Your Business Grow, It Will Evolve
So, you have a great idea for a business you’re sure it’s gonna change people’s lives and make you a ton of money.
Great, get started. But don’t be afraid to pivot. Truth bomb: the first idea is rarely the best one.
When I first started my beauty blog, I thought I’d used it as a portfolio to get gigs writing for women’s magazines. It worked… and in the process I found out I didn’t like the job one bit!
So, I pivoted and started ghost-written blogs for beauty businesses. This kind of work was more up my alley, but not fulfilling enough to keep me going.
I realised I’d never be happy writing for someone else, so I decided to turn my blog into a full-fledged business and monetize with affiliate marketing and skincare consultations.
This business was more profitable than the others (all those years writing for free rally paid off), but I still wasn’t happy. That’s when I realised I was in the wrong industry. I made the switch from beauty to self-help and the rest is history.
Even when you have a business idea that’s fulfilling and profitable from the start, don’t stop there. Always look for ways to grow your business and evolve.
That’s what Jeff Bezos did. His original idea was to create the biggest bookshop on the internet, but with time, Amazon evolved into an online destination that sells everything you can think of.
Listen to your intuition AND to what your customers want. If that’s not what you had originally planned, don’t quit. Evolve.
4. Who You Know Matters More Than What You Know
Don’t get me wrong, your knowledge matters. You need to know your industry and what your customers needs like the palm of your hand if you want to create the kind of high-quality products that make customers fall in love with you.
But where are you going to find those customers in the first place? It’s not like the universe dumps a bunch of perfect strangers willing to buy your products on your doorstep (although, it’d be awesome if it did).
You need to start with the people you know. Let your friends and family know you’re in business and ask them to recommend you to their friends.
Go to networking events to meet new people. You’ll never know who will be interested in your business and who can help you along the way.
Maybe you’ll meet a new business partner, a friend of thebuyer at that luxury store you’ve been trying to contact for years or customers for your coaching programme.
It truly takes a village to build a business.
5. When You Feel Like Giving Up, Remember Your Why
Starting a business is hard. You need to get out of your comfort zone, work long hours every day and wear many different hats.
For almost no money. No new clients getting through the door. Heck, even your website isn’t getting any views…
There’ll be many times when you’ll think, “This is too hard. I should just give up now.”
It happens to me at least once a day, especially when I have to deal with another tech crisis or email an influencer for a collaboration and don’t hear back ever.
Then I remember why I’m doing all this. I started this business because I believe we’re all here for a reason. We’re all given talents and skills to help us achieve our life purpose. We just have to find it and act on it.
This work can change people’s lives. Can you imagine how much better the world would be if we all used our talents to help one another? I can’t let a tech crisis or a bad email pitch derail me from my mission.
You can’t either. Whatever you have to offer, there’s someone how there who needs it. Someone only you can help.
Don’t let them down. Don’t give up.
Over to you, now. What’s your biggest insight you took away from this article? Are you still committed to starting your own business or have realised this isn’t the right path for you? Let me know in the comments below.