One of the questions I get repeatedly asked is "what's it like to start your own business?" and I can see the clarity the women writing to me are seeking behind that question. I can feel that they're at a point in their life where they're ready to come out of the shell and make an impact in the world with their gifts.
I have to say there are a lot of lessons I've learned over the years but here are the 8 things that I think will help you the most right now.
1. It's harder than you can imagine
I don't mean to start this with a negative but this is more of a reality-check. We tend to fall in love with the idea of building a business but when things get hard, we fall out of love with the process. Business is a test to your commitment, perseverance and it's going to push you to dig deeper to yourself to face your own fears and insecurities so you can bring out the best in you for your business.
I don't like the word failure but in reality, some of your ideas or efforts will fail. That's inevitable. The key here is to be ok with failing, to fail again and again, and fail better next time.
The key here is to be ok with failing, to fail again and again, and fail better next time.
2. Invest in yourself and your business
I see many start-up entrepreneurs, in my case women, who are starting spiritual and heart-centered businesses not valuing in the investment for themselves or their business. The first question I ask is "If you're not willing to pay for yourself or your business, how can you expect others to pay you for your services?"
Starting a solo business can be a lonely journey. Many women tend to believe they can do it themselves (They can, don't get me wrong. It just takes a long time) and six months down the line, they find themselves still struggling and spinning the wheels, not getting anywhere with their business. They are needing clarity and a way to break down their big idea into smaller chunks and step-by-step approach to get to where they want to be.
Get a mentor; someone who's a few steps ahead of you to show you the way to collapse the timelines. Set aside money to put back into your business.
3. Be authentic
Authenticity is about being real -- not having variations in the way we act, talk and behave depending on who we are with. It's about doing what we say we would, being humble and staying aligned to our core values. It's about being vulnerable and staying truthful without any pretense.
People can sense inauthenticity from a mile away. They might not necessarily be able to pin-point what is 'off' about a person but when a person is being inauthentic, people don't trust them. When you're authentic, it automatically builds trust and trust is everything in a business.
4. People around you won't understand
If you're the only one who's starting a business, most people around you won't understand why you're spending so much time learning, building your business, on the phone or your computer. They won't understand why you're willing to do whatever it takes to make this happen.
It's ok. It's part of the balance. Sometimes we need them around us so they can be a reminder for us not to get burn-out. We also need naysayers around us too so they give us a little motivation to prove them wrong.
5. Quitting isn't an option
There'll be many times things get so hard that we want to take the easy way out. These are the moments that we're being tested how committed we are with our vision. This is the time we're reminded that failing isn't failure, quitting is.
6. Be patient
Rome wasn't built in a day. It started brick by brick. It's about celebrating little achievements you get along the way and being present where you are. Every small step you take is going to be the foundation you need in your business.
7. Follow your intuition
Intuition is a big thing for me because for me it's all about following my heart and listening to my gut. I wrote a blog post about intuition and you can read it here.
8. You can't please everyone
The truth is, you can't please everyone. Everyone has their own opinions and demands. If you are going to fulfill other people's demands, you are cheating on yourself. When you're living up to someone else's expectations, you're failing to live yours. When you're done pleasing others, you'll find yourself resenting your decisions and your business because you didn't get to create what's aligned to your own values.
Business is one of the best self-development tools. It pushes us to our limits, test our patience, perseverance and commitment. Business isn't for everyone but if it is for you, don't wait till the stars are aligned.
Start before you're ready. Tweak as you go.
If you're thinking of starting a business as a solopreneur or in the startup phase trying to figure things out on your own and needing the step by step guide, I've written a book called Little Business Book: Insider guide to starting a passionate business from scratch. It is a concise guide to help you from starting with the Why to Sales, Marketing and Social Media. You can click here to download for free.