Of course, there’s tons of advice out there about how to successfully start and run your own business. But, naturally, no amount of content can cover all of your bases. Sometimes you simply learn by doing. And, as a business owner, there will undoubtedly be circumstances and instances that leave you scratching your head and thinking, “Huh! I wish someone would’ve told me that…”
Believe me, I’ve had plenty of those moments myself. So, today I thought I’d share five things that I wish someone would’ve told me about running my very own business.
This has been a big one for me as both a freelancer and a business owner. I’m that type of personality that likes to tackle things and cross them off my list—I don’t want to be waiting around. If I request information from a source, I want it that instant. If I have a question for my tax accountant, I want an answer immediately. If I send in a pitch to a publication, I want to receive a “Yes, absolutely!” in my inbox right that second.
But, guess what? Not everybody works on your same timeline. As a matter of fact, pretty much nobody does. So, you definitely will run into those instances when you’re kept in a holding pattern. You may be the boss—but that doesn’t mean you’re always in charge.
I felt the same way about starting my business as I did about starting my career—like every decision and move I made would color my future for the rest of my life. Everything felt so important and permanent. One wrong move or bad choice, and everything would come crashing down around me.
Well, so far, that hasn’t happened. I’ve learned that my business is actually quite flexible. I discovered I didn’t really enjoy doing the social media management side of things—so I stopped. I completely removed it from my services. I realized I didn’t like writing a particular type of content, so I dropped that client—leaving more time to focus on the topics I actually do enjoy.
Your business isn’t nearly as strict and rigid as you think it is. In fact, it should grow and evolve with you.
When I first got started, I had that stereotypical “me against the world” sort of attitude. But, I soon realized that I was wasting far too much time trying to figure out things that would be much better left to professionals. For example, I tried to build my entire first business website myself—it didn’t take me long to realize I needed to enlist the help of an expert.
It’s true that you wear a ton of hats when you run your own business. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to wear all of them. So, outsource and delegate the things that you can (cough, accounting, cough), and spend more of your time with the parts of your business that you love!
To be fair, many people told me this before starting my business. But, perhaps I just didn’t listen? Or, maybe I thought it would be different for me? Who knows. Regardless, this sentiment is definitely true.
I knew I’d work hard to run my own business—that part was inevitable. However, there was still a big part of me that didn’t really think it would feel like “work”. How could it? I could work from home in my sweatpants without anybody telling me what to do. But, I soon discovered that instead of having one boss giving me instructions, I had 15. All of my clients became my bosses.
Now, I work way longer hours than I ever did when I worked “full-time”. And, while it’s work I love, it’s still just that—WORK.
I felt guilty even typing that subhead, honestly. But, it’s true. There are moments when I’m head over heels in love with my business. I sit back, look at my computer screen, and just marvel at this thing I managed to build from the ground up all by myself. In other moments? Well, unemployment sounds like a blessing.
I love what I do for a living. But, does that mean I sit down at my computer each morning and just think, “YIPPEE! Another morning full of answering emails!” Absolutely not. Like I mentioned above, it still qualifies as work. And, while I’m insanely proud of what I’ve built and generally love what I do, I still have those moments of weakness when my business just seems like an unnecessary source of stress and agitation. Don’t worry—it happens to the best of us.
Do you run your own business—or even your own blog? What do you wish someone would’ve told you before getting started?