For years I dreamed of starting my own business and being the boss. I always believed that I didn’t have the right skills to ever really be successful until I woke up one day and just said, “why not!?” Now, fully jumping in like I did has meant that I had some huge learning curves and I wanted to write this article so that hopefully people wanting to do the same thing can learn from my mistakes!
Paperwork is important
Even when doing business with friends or “larger businesses,” it’s important that you have contracts and a paper trail. You would hope that everyone you know can be trusted, but it’s incredibly upsetting and emotionally draining when that doesn’t happen. To avoid going into the week-long slump I went into, make contracts, get deposits, and have things in order! As a warning, depending on the business you have, creating these contracts can take a few weeks, so make sure to plan accordingly. It’s also important to know that creating an LLC or registering your business doesn’t just happen overnight. It actually will take a few weeks for your business to be official, and even in the short time I had people messaging me whether or not I was a “real business”. So if you don’t want to deal with that, start the process early!
Set your hours
It’s so easy, especially when working from home, to feel like you don’t want to work or to just never stop working! Neither of these options is healthy. Set hours and do your best to stick with your schedule. In my business, there can be times that I work “after hours” so, on those days, I end my day early so I make sure to get some quality family time. Even on days where you might not think you have “actual work” to do, there are plenty of things within a business that need to be done. There is always paperwork, marketing your skills, and running your social media pages, to name a few.
Daycare is still important
While I love that having my own business has given me a lot more time with my kids, it’s still been important that my kids go somewhere for a few hours each week to give me a chunk of time that I can 100% focus my efforts on the business. While I don’t want them going to daycare full-time right now, I do have my youngest go to pre-school 2 days a week for a half-day. My older kids can usually entertain themselves so I can keep them home with me. I think sometimes people believe that working from home means you can watch your kids like a regular stay at home parent, but I have found that not only is that crazy stressful, something is always going to take priority. If you want your business to be successful, you need for it to be the priority sometimes. For the sake of your sanity, I highly recommend finding at least some kind of part-time daycare situation
You are probably not going to make money at first
This is probably the hardest part of starting a business and not something that people from the outside are going to completely understand. While I have been incredibly blessed that since starting my company, I have had a steady stream of income and jobs. But that doesn’t mean that I am actually making money right now! You have to put a big chunk of what you make into savings for taxes at the end of the year, and then there are always investments that you need to make. That might mean investing in new equipment or investing in marketing your business! Plan for a year or more of not taking a paycheck and have money in savings if you don’t have outside help to support you while you get started. Since I didn’t really plan ANYTHING, I am lucky enough that my husband has a great paying job and supports my crazy. I have no doubt that if things continue as they are, my business will truly “make money” but right now it’s been smart for me to take all I make and invest it for the future.
There are probably hundreds of pieces of advice that I could offer to someone thinking of getting started in owning their own business, but these are some major things I have learned in a short amount of time.