Starting a business is full of excitement. You are the boss, get to make all the decisions and take all the risks. Of course, there are a few not-so-fun things about owning a business: like being the boss, making all the decisions and taking all the risks. Just like everything in life – it’s a give and take.
However, there are a few things that I really wish I knew before jumping into the adventure of business ownership. So if you are thinking about joining this crazy but fulfilling club, here are 3 “facts” that you should be aware of:
#1. No one (and I’m serious here) NO ONE will care about your business as much as you do. This may seem obvious, but when you get deep into the muck of marketing, development and the nuts and bolts of the business; frankly, you want to get as much help you can get. This inevitably leads to getting opinions from your family, friends or colleagues. If you are anything like me, I love getting opinions from anyone willing to listen. But there comes a time when your friendly guinea pigs have had enough and you just need to make those critical decisions by yourself.
I once had a friend who was also a small business owner, explain that those of us who choose to start a business on our own – (not a franchise or something with a corporate office) are forced to shoot arrows up into the air and hope they stick. It’s a pretty good analogy because a lot of them eventually come down and hit us in the foot or worse, the pocket book.
I learned pretty quickly that I was on my own. If the business failed, it was my fault. If the business succeeded, it was my fault. Either way, it was all me so I took responsibility and plowed ahead.
#2. You WILL fail. But that’s OK. Sounds gloomy doesn’t it? If starting a business was easy and profitable immediately, everyone would do it (I’m saying that in my official Mom voice). But what most people don’t realize is that failing is a great experience. You LEARN from it. You look at it as 1 way not to do whatever you were trying to do. That means you are closer to success because if you never risk failure – you will never have the opportunity to experience success.
I thoroughly believe most entrepreneurs are addicted to the ride. I know I am. I have certainly failed, most epically in fact; but I chose to learn from it and focus harder. Owning a business is not for the faint of heart or for those who can’t tolerate risk. But what we work for every day is that moment of zen when everything comes together and you get that perfect picture (my photographer friends), get a fabulous thank you note from that difficult client or finally get that client that you’ve been courting for months. It could even be as simple as being able to pay the internet bill! It means you have succeeded and there is no rush quite like it.
No, failure is something one should expect and almost strive for; because it means you are learning and most importantly, you didn’t let it kill you.
#3. Make sure to understand what YOUR idea of success is and strive for it. Success doesn’t always mean becoming a millionaire. It means something different to each person. For example, several of my Blissfully Simple™ Planners are moms who plan just enough weddings to pay for a vacation or dance lessons. That is THEIR idea of success. But I have other BSPs that see success as planning 25 weddings a year, going on great trips and beating their goals every year. Yes, I am in the wedding industry but what I have shared above can be used in any industry and any career.
Take a few minutes and sit quietly while thinking about what success really is to you. When I started, I thought it was purely about money. If I continued with that, I would have most likely closed my doors before I realized what my TRUE idea of success was. Once I realized that I wanted happiness: make enough money to help my family, have a great reputation, use my creativity to help others, experience as many new things as possible; I was able to surrender and love what I was doing. That in turn lead to even more success and more happiness. Not a bad way to live.
Starting, running and owning a business is not easy. You can read hundreds of books and still not be perfect, but it will get you closer. You will find what works and what doesn’t, realize things you really excel at and things that you should never do again and ultimately find the perfect match between your passion and someone’s need. For that is why any of us get into this in the first place – to find our Bliss.
Don’t be afraid. Take a deep breath, and jump into the deep end. Those of us already there will be there to help you. Come on in, the water’s fine.