— February 15, 2018
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Most people when they start a business make a million and one mistakes before they get into their groove and find out what works well for them. So here’s the thing. You will never be 100% ready to start a business. But you can cover the basics so you don’t completely fall on your arse on day one.
However, if you fail to prepare then you should prepare to fail. And although you can’t prepare for everything that will come your way, there are some things that pretty much everyone who has gone into business has experienced, and you should be ready for. All that stuff aside, you also need to make sure you have a credible business idea and plan in the first place.
So what are these mystical things you should be ready for that will determine if you really are ready to start a business?
Ok, so I’m not saying that your super, duper business idea is going to fail. But there’s a high chance it might. That’s not to say it will. It just might. And if you’re going into this thinking this is your route to taking a seat at the rags to riches table of successful founders, then you may need to take off those rose-coloured glasses.
Thomas Edison made around 1000 attempts to invent the lightbulb that all failed.
The trick is to fail fast and forward if you’re going to fail that is. So long as you learn something from your failure and use it as a stepping stone on to the next step then it’s not really a failure. It’s just another step on the road to success.
If you’re the type of person who has been told yes a lot in your life, then starting a business might not be the right thing for you. Because a lot of people are going to say no to you at some point or another. You will pitch, make proposals, do the best sales talk of your life, and people will still say no.
Get used to hearing no and don’t take it personally. It’s just business.
BEING FLAT BROKE
When you work for someone else that pays you a set salary every month you can’t understand what it is like to rely on other people paying your invoices or making the choice to buy something from you. And then relying on them paying you on time. Which many don’t. You can’t begin to understand the financial pressure the small business owning, self-employed person can be pushed to. And the lack of understanding that goes with it from those that are paid a salary every month. Throughout your self-employed life, you will go through feast or famine when it comes to money. Someday it may stabilise, but chances are you will go through phases of being flat broke.
As much as I’d like to tell you there are simple solutions to this, many times there aren’t. You’ve just got to keep on having belief in yourself and what you do and hang on in there. And have a watch of my video about how to be a huge success.
On the bright side, there are some things you can do to make your transition from employed to self-employed as financially pain-free as possible. But at some point, I’d be pretty sure you will encounter some pain. Have a read of my post about how to go freelance without going broke for a few tips.
OH SO LONELY
Are you ok with your own company? Does not speaking to another human all day bother you? If you are planning to go it alone, then chances are you’re going to spend lots of time alone. If isolation and getting a bit lonely don’t sound appealing, then perhaps look at co-working spaces. But if you do have to work from home and grown-up conversation is in short supply then make sure you block out time to get out of the house and talk to other humans face to face. Arrange coffee dates (without them being a distraction from the work you’re supposed to be doing), go for a walk, get a dog to take for a walk. Just get out of the house.
Staring at the same four walls day in day out will drive you bonkers and will just be another thing to procrastinate over (see my video about stopping procrastination here).
NOT EVERYONE WILL SHARE YOUR PASSION
When you’re starting out your new business is your absolute passion and it’s just like your newborn baby. If I was creating a checklist of all the things you need to start a business then having passion would be up there in the top 5 things you need an abundance of. Passion for your business and what you want to achieve will keep you going when you feel absolutely exhausted. When you can’t pay the bills and the cupboards are starting to look bare. Having passion and belief are the things you should never ever let go of.
But unfortunately, not everyone will share your passion. Some people will even try and pour cold water on it with the endless negativity. Some people don’t want you to succeed. And I know that sounds harsh. But it’s not about you, it’s them and their hang-ups about never having tried anything in their lives and probably really hating the fact that you are trying and they work for some awful person, 9-5 Monday to Friday.
This one will take superhuman levels of strength but rise above it. Acknowledge that they don’t want to admit to being a sore ass sorry loser that hasn’t done anything with their lives except pay their gas bills on time, and accept that you (thankfully) are not them and therefore you have no concerns over their sorry, boring lives. You are in control of your life.
BE A MAN/WOMAN WITH A PLAN
As I said, you may fail. This is where you’ll need a plan, b, c, and maybe even d. You should have started your business with some form of plan. A sort of roadmap that’s not set in stone, but certainly some form of guidance system that will keep you kind of on track. But that plan should never be a hard and fast plan. It should be fluid. As you grown and learn more about the industry you are in and the world of business you will start to look at certain things a bit differently. You’ll want to change the plan. And that’s good. Never stick to a plan that either isn’t working or isn’t going to get you to your goal. Constantly evaluate your plans and change them to fit the direction you want to go in (which too will change a lot as you grow).
You are going to need the strength and courage of a lion. A really big lion. One that isn’t afraid of anything else in the jungle. You are going to take risks that don’t always pay off. And you are going to have to make tough decisions. You are going to have to look failure square in the eye and not be phased by it. Starting a business is an emotional rollercoaster, but you can’t give in. Well unless you really, really have to. But you won’t come to that. You, my friend, are going to build and grow the best business ever. And now you’re even more prepared to face every challenge that meets you along the way. Just don’t give up. Ever!