5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Business | See Girl Work

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Business

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Business

Now is as good a time as any to reflect back on life around the time I was getting ready to pull the trigger and what I wish I knew before starting my own business.

My LinkedIn profile says I’ve been working at See Girl Work Marketing & Branding for 1 year 1 month.

I figure now is as good a time as any to reflect back on life around the time I was getting ready to pull the trigger and what I wish I knew before jumping into running a my own business.

I’ve previously blogged about getting over the fear, hesitation and self-doubt. But there are all these other little things that are actually huge that you don’t really understand until you’re already in the midst of it.

Let’s just get into it.

5 Things I wish I Knew Before Starting My Business

Your first few clients will be crap. There, I said it. Unless, you’re already a CEO or C-Level executive in your company with a professional network that took you 20 years to develop, chances are, when you’re just starting out, you’re network is not that large. It’s hard to find people to take a chance on you, when they can go to another company that’s already more established.

The folks that do take a chance on you will probably not turn out to be the most focused, business savvy clients. They may not understand processes. They will be the most demanding with the least resources to even pay you.

But you have to do it. You have to work for whoever comes your way. You have to take their attitude with a smile and turn nothing into something just so, the next client will be better.

In the first year — you won’t make any money from your business. While you are still working at your office or day job getting another company’s pay cheque, you need to save as much of it as you can so when you quit to work on your own business, you’ll have something to live on. You won’t be able to sustain your cost of living from your business alone — especially if you have a growing family.

Your first few clients will barely be able to pay you, plus you’ll start incurring new business expenses. Everything will be going out. Nothing will be coming in.

You might need a new computer, new online tools, new apps and software as part of the day to day operations of the business. You’ll be paying for hosting and domain names to set yourself up online. You might even starting doing some advertising. Then there’s the cost of attending events so you can network and meeting more clients in order to get more work.

Even if you don’t have an office or co-share space, there is a cost to doing business.

Research and plan how to get started in your business. Try not to make business decisions on a whim. Save, save, save as much as you can before pulling the trigger on your day job.

Research and plan how to get started in your business. Try not to make business decisions on a whim. Save, save, save as much as you can before pulling the trigger on your day job.

The emotional roller coaster is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Forget breaking up with a boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse. Nothing will tear you down like getting your own business off the ground. I’ve spent some dark days, curled up in fetal position on my kitchen floor. Tears have been shed. Wrinkles have been made.

You live, breathe and ache for your business wearing an armoury of bravado, insight and expertise. But the smallest thing can make it crumble leaving you feeling alone and vulnerable.

Looking at your balance statement in the minus will make you weep, listening to a client tell you that you’re work is sub-par will make you vomit and question your entire existence, realizing that you’ve undercharged — again — will make you cry. Starting a company is an emotionally grueling road. It’s not for the faint of hear. If it was easy, then everybody would be doing it.

Health related issues might start to occur. You are working around the clock. You cook very little because it takes up too much time that you’d rather be working. You forgo the gym. You don’t get enough water anymore and you’re sleep deprived. By the time you start acing those A-list clients because of hard work and dedication, you realize you’ve gained 50 lbs, you have dark circles under your eyes, you’re suffering from insomnia and you’re skin is parched and dry.

I’m a big believer in wellness and self-care, but it’s so easy to push that off to the back burner. We’d forgo sleep or going to the gym, just to work on that case study, module, client brief of blog post. I know I’ve done it. It’s hard to always manage the stress of starting your own business.

But we must continually reminder ourselves about self-care tips, healthy eating habits and the importance of fitness. Even half an hour walking around the block or along the trail does wonders for the rest of my day.

The value of your support system will be immeasurable. You may be a sole proprietor or even in the process of incorporating your business, but even if you’re in the business alone, you’ll never make it through the week alone.

Colleagues, clients, partners and professional acquisitions serve as part of your business life, but you will also rely heavily on your personal support network. Your boyfriend, spouse, BFF, siblings and even parents will keep you sane. Trust me on this.

After a pointless day of sitting in meetings that result in nothing, a 5 min FaceTime or Snapchat convo goofing off with your sister will change your life. The world exists around you like it always did and will, and listening to someone else share their life and support you in yours will be the most valuable blessing.

What’s Next?

Well, year two! We are working on a new website for the business. The team is rounding out nicely with some amazingly talented women. We’ve got our first new podcast episode rolling out in two weeks and the clients are getting bigger and better.

Save as much money as your can. Start your business. Meet lots of people. Ask for help. Stick to your gut. Take care of yourself. It will be the best ride of your life!

 

Image via Getty

 

Alethea Robinson

Founder & Blogger-in-Chief, See Girl Work

Alethea Robinson is the founder of See Girl Work. With over 10 years of marketing experience, she specializes in campaign execution, project management, team management and trade show planning and events. Alethea is also skilled at developing digital marketing content including blog posts, interviews, editorials and social media.

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