‘I want more time to do the things I love’, ‘ I want to be with my family more’, ‘I’m sick of following someone else’s rules and dictation’ and ‘I just want to do my own thing’ These are all things people say when they set out to start their own business, I know I said it… can you hear your own voice?
The reality however and one of the reasons so many business owners fail in their first 3 years, 90% of them in fact is because there is a part of being a business owner that no one can ever prepare you for. I like to think of it a bit like having my first baby, bear with me… there’s a point I promise.
When I fell pregnant people came out of the wood work with advice, it was literally overwhelming everyone was an expert. I thought I understood what they were telling me, lack of sleep, challenging, change of priorities, no time for myself, fat – blah blah blah YES I GET IT and here I was in all my infinite wisdom thinking I was prepared for what was to come. Only no one could possibly have prepared me for it, not for the lack of sleep, not for the change of emotions, priorities, guilt, frustration and certainly not the love and joy.
Put simply, no one can ever prepare you for a child and no one can ever prepare you for business.
Almost 4 years ago I found myself driving to a client meeting in my corporate job, a job I loved but a job I felt wholeheartedly I had outgrown and thinking to myself ‘what’s next?’ The frustration for a period was a big weight on my shoulders, I knew my life needed to change direction, but I never considered myself a capable business owner, I wouldn’t even know where to start – heck, I didn’t even have a real business idea yet! But life has a funny way of guiding us when we are willing to challenge ourselves and here I find myself looking back on all that has happened in the past 3 years and wanting to share a little of that journey with some ‘pregnant entrepreneurs’ to – shall we say prepare you for what’s to come.
Firstly, I accidentally (there are no accidents) so lets say I somehow just knew to surround myself with the right support people before I set out, something I recommend you make step number one. My business idea was simply to help other business owners, I wasn’t sure exactly what this looked like, but marketing was my starting point. I decided to start out as a social media marketing consultant charging hourly for my work. However, one of my closest friends and conveniently – my accountant sat me down with my husband to be and the two of them convincingly explained that my original plan was floored. I fear many people don’t get this advice when they start and I’m blessed that I did, so we changed the charging model and I realised very quickly that if I didn’t value myself, no one else would do it and herein lies one of the biggest problems for budding business owners and probably greatest reasons for early failure.
When we set out to start a new business for the first time, we are faced with a very steep learning curve. Think about it, people go to uni to study accounting, HR, marketing and business management but when you start a business, you must learn (by yourself much of the time) all of these skills to survive and do them WELL. That’s a lot of pressure, a lot of learning and likely, a lot of falling down and picking ourselves up.
I remember saying to my mum ‘I want to be a better mum so I’m starting a business, so I can have more control over my time and my finances’ she reminded me of this only a couple of weeks ago and left me in tears in my car as I thought about all the challenge the past 3 years have presented me. I have learned that our biggest challenge as an entrepreneur and one we must face head on if we are to survive is self-belief, why? Because we can not and should not expect others to carry that candle for us.
Entrepreneurs are often lonely people; our world can be isolating, and we carry the weight of our business on our shoulders but does it have to be this way?
Naturally because of what I do I see other business owners on a daily basis who are weighed down, exhausted, anxious, frustrated, guilt ridden and filled with self-doubt – all feelings I know very well. All I want is to lift that weight, to put a smile back on their face because I know they didn’t start out with this in mind.
As a mum and partner I face guilt daily, guilt that I don’t have time, that I have no energy left, that I cant be all the things I set out to be when I started on this journey and this is something I want my readers to understand….. its.not.easy.
BUT I also feel joy, elation, pride, achievement, and fulfilment.
I learned (eventually) that in order to feel the other side of these negative emotions plaguing my every day I had to look within because no one, not my kids, my partner, my parents or my friends were going to tell me all the things I needed to hear to keep going. They were going to tell me what they needed me to hear to pull my attention back their way… why? Because they love me.
So before you start a business, before you commit to this challenge in your life, know this;
There will be tears
There will be frustration, exhaustion and anxiety
You will have to learn and FAST
You will not have a cheer squad behind you when you feel you most need it
You will wonder at times why you started and doubt your way forward
But if you truly believe in what your doing, if your passion and heart is in it, then and only then let me give you some advice. Look within, you are more that you know and it is within you to do incredible things. The tears will come but they will dry. The guilt will come and turn to a lesson. The frustration will come and turn to a win.
I know this – without challenge we don’t grow.
In just days now, as I move forward with all I have learned, with a desire to do more – to help more, Ill be announcing a change to my business to ‘grow and become greater’ will you grow with me?