If you're thinking about starting a business, have had an idea for a while, or are turning a passion project or side hustle into a full time business - there are few things to know beforehand. While understanding taxes, learning the ins and outs of marketing and customer acquisition, and creating social media profiles are good, before you begin any of that, take the time to contemplate what it takes to be a business owner.
Maybe you have had a job and a boss that you dislike, and are searching for means to freedom and being your own boss. Perhaps you have a passion and skill that you want to pursue, or you've lost a job and have an idea that you're thinking about going for. Whatever road has led you to think about starting a business, and however prepared you think you are, the journey to being a successful business owner is hard and challenging! Even the most successful business people have stumbled, lost their way, felt frustrated, and came back stronger for it. Starting a business builds integrity and grit, but it does help to know what you're getting yourself into as well!
Here are 5 things to know before starting a business:
The first piece of advice is that you must have a passion, love and drive for what you are working on. Why? Because no one else is going to be working on it but you, so it must motivate and interest you enough to focus on it day in and day out. Whether you are a skill, service based business, creating products or software, helping other businesses or individuals, or other, will this thing drive you and keep you invested?
When starting a business, your voice, the way you write, the way you speak to people, even the colors you choose for your website are coming from you. You have to be prepared to talk about your business a lot, answer repetitive questions or tough questions, and you'll definitely end up turning to your network of friends and family for initial support and leverage. You'll have to utilize Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or other social media channels to elevate your voice and share your story, a lot. It's not only important to do this so that your business can start standing, but also because people expect businesses and brands to be transparent to their audience. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
While it's important to understand other businesses like you, participate in competitive research, compare items like price points or common language, do not get weighed down in comparing your success to others. Seeing what other businesses like yours are doing can be great, it can be wonderful for inspiration, it can be useful for partnerships and building community, but at the end of the day, every business is unique and has a different background, motivation, and capital investment. There's no point in adding stress to your life by sizing yourself up to others.
As you finesse your business model and market research, arm yourself with a mentor. This could be someone from your past, an old manager, school friend, or someone that you have always felt comfortable speaking to and bouncing ideas off of, or you can look for a mentor on LinkedIn and connect with new people. Mentorship is available if you seek it out, and so valuable. One of the most important things you can do as a new small business is set goals, return to them and reflect. Mentors can help to guide you, alert you of where to put your focus, and be an objective person to speak to through the ups and downs of business ownership.
Finally, set your work life balance up as best as you can from the beginning. Maybe you quit your hectic job to have better work life balance already? But, when you love what you do, it can be hard to put it away and enjoy the rest of your life. Being a business can often be all consuming for the good and the bad. Our advice is to know when enough is enough for the day, because a stressed out, strung out, no sleep business owner is not an encouraging look.
Hopefully these things don't deter you but just hype you up to get started with your business! We started a business, multiple businesses, and it is so hard. It's an incredible challenge to find your space in the world, to know what career to dedicate a year (or hopefully more) of your life too, but no matter whether you find success or need to tweak your goals along the way, you can be sure to come out the other side with more knowledge, more connections, and even more ideas you want to work towards.