Starting your own business? Don’t do it.
That’s the advice is given by no one, ever. I mean, who DOESN’T like the idea of starting your own business, traveling the world, and watching that money come in like rainwater down a waterspout? The being-your-own-boss dream is real, it’s tangible, it’s attainable for the average person today if they work hard enough…but the question is, is it for you?
There can be plenty of traveling and profits and wins, but there are also lots of losses, anxious planning and reiterating, and constant managing that goes on behind the scenes that no one seems to talk about. So, while I’m nowhere near being a millionaire (yet), I do have a couple of years of experience of building a small side business under my belt. These are my candid, honest thoughts that should be a sobering (yet motivating) kick in the pants for what’s to come if starting a business is, in fact, your life dream. I know it’s mine! Here we go:
1. It’s harder than ANYONE makes it seem
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that starting a business is a piece of cheesecake with a bright red cherry on top. In most cases, whoever is saying that is probably trying to sell you something. It is HARD, and there is frankly no way around that hard work to reach “success”…however, that success looks to you.
2. You’ll always feel like you aren’t putting in enough work
The guilt seems to constantly be there — always feeling like you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. And hey, maybe sometimes you aren’t. But balance, right? You are human and you aren’t going to be at 100% each waking day of your life, which is totally normal. The perpetual feeling of not putting in enough work might always linger, but if anything, it can serve as a motivating feeling to push yourself further within healthy limits. Over-pushing yourself can have its downfalls, especially if you are lacking inspiration, which then leads to crappy whatever it is you’re pushing yourself to do. And crappy half-assed work equals a crappy business…and you definitely don’t want that.
3. It’s basically another job…except this time created by you
Oh, so you thought you were going to start your own business to escape the long hours and responsibilities at the job you currently have (and possibly hate with a passion). Hmmm. Not so fast. Starting your own online business can be IMMENSELY satisfying and a lifelong learning experience — so you should make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. It might not mean you’ll be able to escape the long hours of work required to be successful at anything. In many ways, you’ll be taking on even more responsibility than if you worked for someone else. But one of the biggest perks of starting your business? YOU get to call your own shots, even in the midst of long hours and more responsibilities. And that’s pretty darn awesome.
4. The satisfaction you get from creating value for others is real
There is something deeply satisfying about getting a thank you email from a happy customer or seeing that what you’re creating for someone out there is being used/is working. You definitely feel like a productive member of humanity that is creating useful things for others — whether that is entertaining videos, recipes, e-books, or your own clothing brand.
5. You can get dangerously lazy because no one is bossing you around
It is so easy to brush off your self-imposed to-do list for the day and go waste a whole day watching TV. The problem is, you no longer have a boss threatening to write you up for not showing up on time, or hinting at replacing you. Why? Because you’re your own boss now…and last I heard, you can’t exactly fire yourself. The only way to escape the lazy trap is to create a daily routine and be disciplined enough to stick to it. And that’s a mental muscle you might have to spend some time developing, especially after being told what to do in your previous job(s) for years.
6. You’ll have to do more problem solving than your 4th-grade math teacher
The amount of constant problem solving you’ll have to do for your business is substantial. While you can always find mentors and step-by-step guides to help you out, it still won’t get rid of the constant puzzle pieces you have to solve to put it all together and get it moving in the right direction. But guess what? This makes you smarter and sharper and keeps you on your feet. And while it seems like a lot of work up front, in the long run, it works completely in your favor, not against it. Which beautifully leads me to my last and possibly most important point —
7. It’s WORTH it, but not for the reasons you might think
Jim Rohn once said, “The greatest reward in becoming a millionaire is not the amount of money that you earn. It is the kind of person that you have to become to become a millionaire.” And that, in a nutshell, is why starting your own business is worth it to me. You have no idea where it will take you next. And the type of person and character you have to develop to create anything of value, whether you become a millionaire or not, is someone you’ll more than likely be proud of. And you can’t put a price on that.
Image via Unsplash