The dream for many entrepreneurs is owning a successful business. Making big decisions, influencing direction and having a sense of control are just a few of the benefits of being at the top. While it may sound ideal, many small business owners quickly realise, there’s another side of the story – one that’s a little harder to hear.
Here are eight things no one ever tells you about starting your own business – but you really need to know.
You’ll have to say goodbye to the 38 hour week
And hello to the 80+ hour work week. Many new small business owners and entrepreneurs are pumped to farewell their traditional 9-5 and become their own boss. However, the work hours are rarely better. Getting a small business off the ground is hard work and the first few years will require considerable effort and many extra hours – but remember, the pay-off will be worth it.
Be prepared for a rollercoaster of emotions
From the very first sale or the first positive customer review, to all the winning milestones along the way, the world of entrepreneurship is exhilarating. The highs are high but the lows are also very real, so it’s important to always keep perspective and understand the end game. Be prepared for the lows by always celebrating the wins – even the little ones.
Starting a new business is often a lonely ride but it doesn’t have to be. Over time your business will grow and hopefully you’ll be able to surround yourself with amazing employees and colleagues. However, at the beginning, starting your own business can be incredibly isolating. There’s no team lunches or chats by the water cooler. You’ll need to work harder to make daily connections, but you can make sure those connections count.
Entrepreneurs will become your closest friends
People walking a similar road to you will become your closest friends and allies. Networking with other new business owners and entrepreneurs is extremely important, not only to your growth as a business, but also your personal well being. You may find friends and family won’t completely understand your struggles, but like-minded entrepreneurs will be able to relate to the ins and outs of running of a small business.
You’ll have to wear many (many) hats
Traditionally, a CEO or founder of a company carries the responsibility for the overall health and wellbeing of an organisation. Daily tasks revolve around big picture ideas and long-term strategies. However, when you start a business, you may find yourself doing the most mundane tasks. You’ll not only be the CEO, but the HR manager, marketing manager, operations manager and even the receptionist.
You won’t be able to do it all
Eventually the time will come when you’ll have to either outsource specific tasks or bring on employees to help with the workload. It may not be ideal financially, but keep in mind your time is extremely valuable, and getting someone else to do everyday tasks that aren’t your strength, may be the best option for your business.
The to-do list never ends
And that’s ok. The sooner you are at peace with the fact that the work will never be done, the better. Don’t let your work hours be dictated by the amount of work, because the amount of work will always exceed the hours in the day. Instead, learn to prioritise and understand when it’s time to take a well-needed break.
You need to back yourself. Always.
One of the most important qualities of a successful business owner is believing in yourself, your product and your business. The challenging start-up years will require you to have unwavering faith in your decision to step out on your own. While it may be hard at times, you need to back yourself – even when others don’t. And always align yourself with other businesses that also back you.