7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Own Business
Taking the big risk to start your own business can create a lovely cocktail of emotions. In any given day you can feel excited, hopeful, scared, frustrated, hesitant and empowered.
I'm going to share with you a few things I wish someone would have told me, so I could have understood that I wasn't alone in feeling such a wide and unexpected array of emotions. These experiences are quite common when beginning the journey into the entrepreneurial world!
1. The more you make "mistakes," the more you will succeed.
I put quotes around the word "mistakes" because really there are no such thing. Unless you experience something first hand in business (and life in general), it can be hard to fully learn any lessons and achieve what it is you really want. Naturally, in the beginning, your learning curve will involve figuring out doesn't work — even those ideas you thought would be an instant success. From there, you'll learn what you'd love to do more of ... and what you'd love to never do again.
2. Sleep is going to come in really handy.
When you're starting something new, it's easy to think putting off sleep for the sake of your work will be the recipe for success. But it's amazing what a good night's sleep can do for your clarity, creativity and your execution in making sound decisions. So, don't think you're super hero if you can pull six all-nighters in a row.
3. You're going to learn the power of self-discipline.
When you're at the helm of a ship, it's really important to understand what actions are on the top of your priority list. There are going to be things you need to say "no" to in a given moment, and that in itself requires discipline. Make sure you take action on what will generate the greatest profit or increase visibility, first thing in the morning. (It may sound daunting, but it will ironically create more freedom).
4. Having FUN must be incorporated into your daily routine.
Don't leave it just for the weekends. I can't emphasize the importance of this statement enough. If you're anything like me it can be ridiculously easy to get into your workflow and let everything else fall to the wayside. But this kind of steady, often grueling work rhythm is not as productive as you may think: it can quickly lead to burnout, which then leads to a long recovery time. Just think: that whole cycle could have been avoided.
So, be goofy and do silly things that make you laugh. Watch outrageous videos that have you and your biz people in fits of laughter for 3 minutes. (I'm a fan of Instagram for this reason.) Bring lightheartedness to the office; or if you work alone, bring it to yourself.
Remember, now you're an entrepreneur — so now you get to make the rules. Don't make them so stiff that you forget why you got in the game. Being happy always leads to more success.
5. Saying "no" doesn't mean you're a jerk.
Often, people get really caught up in the mentality of having to say yes to everything. This can be especially true for entrepreneurs, just starting to feel the sense of possibility and potential in their business.
But I have to say it: if it doesn't light you up, or you're saying "yes" purely out of obligation: think twice. You could be using the energy to be spending with the people you love or enjoying some much needed alone time. It will take discipline, but it's not as hard as you think. Your mind and body will thank you ...
6. Working hard is not the same thing as working smart.
There's no getting around it. If you want your company to thrive, no matter what industry you're in; it's going to take a lot of hard work. You will log a lot of hours devoted to your craft.
However, if you learn how to cut out distractions and understand your points of resistance, you will be able to work efficiently and effectively. This understanding alone could save you an enormous amounts of money and time.
7. It's important to check in with yourself quite regularly to remind yourself why you started.
It can be easy to get so focused on the daily tasks that you forget about the passion and love you have for your work. Don't let this happen.
Keep a company mission statement at your desk or somewhere you see you it daily. Remind yourself of how you want to feel and the effect you want your company to have on other people's lives. Have meetings with your staff to keep all of you on track with your mission. Make sure the passion continues to be the driving force of your company!
So there you have it: a few insights that would have saved me hours of worry, stress and likely a few less bottles of wine (I know you know what I'm talking about). I hope you have fun rocking your gifts in life and business in a way that makes you come alive!