Some people choose to start a small business to fulfill their passions, some just can't do the 9-5 for one more day and others may even contemplate the idea out of necessity because they’ve gotta do something to make extra money to help the family. Then there are the ones who want to do more than just make their own money. They are the ones we call entrepreneurs, and those ones are driven by a special internal desire to build a legacy. Entrepreneurs focus on building processes, procedures and automation.
Whatever your reasons are, it is important to take a good hard look at the realities and what it REALLY means to start a business and to run a business. There is a very ugly side to business and you'll most likely age a bit over your first 5 years. Yikes!(TIP: Sileca Gel, Trust me!)
Those same people who want to "Be My Own Boss" and buy cups and binders with "GirlBoss" or “Entrepreneur Life” written all over them (you know those ones, the passion-driven, freedom-seeking ones that started their journey filled with courage and optimism) often become some of the most rushed, busy, stressed and financially burdened people out there.
Yes you get to create your own wealth, and yes many days you have some flexibility with your schedule, but the other side is that you are also solely responsible for creating your own wealth, and flexibly in schedule can often sound like this --"Yes I can work from 6:00am to 1:00pm, get in my car and pick up our sick kid from school, make them some soup and put them to bed for the afternoon, but then I'm back at work from 3:00 pm to 12:00 am...only to start all over the very next morning. Did I eat today, I can't remember".
The self-employed and especially the entrepreneurs out there, live for the flexibility and forfeit the entitled scheduled breaks and 2 weeks vacation each year.
(Chew on that for a minute).
That’s right. With flexibility comes great responsibility...and longer hours, and everyone else thinking you are available at the drop of a hat, etc etc. You just gave up working 37.5 hours for someone else, to work 80 hours for yourself (and all with very little regard from others who just don't get it).
While you are starting a small business you may feel as though you are hitting roadblock after roadblock. Your mind and your time will be occupied with things like: taxes and regulations, employee hiring and firing, labour board compliance and many other human resource items, often little or no working capital, permits, city and province/state regulations, bookkeeping, inventory issues, low revenues, increases in the cost of living, etc. When people say to you, just do this on your “free time” or why not over “the weekend?", you may look at them as though they have two heads. "I don't have free time" you may just yell out one day. And the term "weekend" will no longer apply.
And with all this going on, you must find it in yourself to ensure your cash-flow is being managed and your customers are being given the golden treatment. You may find yourself becoming, as Tony Soprano puts it, "The sad clown". Laughing on the outside, but crying on the inside.
Oh ya, then there is the emotional turmoil that comes with modern day extortion and the many poorly regulated "review" platforms. Oh my.
So by this point you are saying, "Wow thanks Cris for all the doom and gloom, why on earth would I want to start my own business now?"
Just remember, I said to you it is important to take a good hard look at the realities and what it REALLY means to start a business and to run a business. This is just an exercise, not a scare tactic. This exercise is laying out all types of problems, stresses and challenges so you can prepare and make a strategic plan to conquer and win! When you know what challenges lay before you, you can prepare yourself and succeed.
Can you imagine if the first time Tom Brady played as a quarterback, he dropped the ball and ran off the field because a linebacker was making their way for him. Sounds absolutely ridiculous right? Because it is. Yes a linebacker is big and strong, and if he hits Brady, he could really cause some damage. But Brady knows this. He has planned for this. He gets out there on the field and executes his mission. Has he had some bruises? Did he blow out his left knee in the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs? He sure did. But overall, he has been an NFL Ironman because he works with his team and strategies the heck out of their games. Now you may not always agree with his "alleged strategies" but that’s a topic for another time. The point here is Plan, Protect and Play!
There is no need to reinvent the wheel, so talk to local business owners. Reach out to some within similar industries on social media. Read. Read. Then read some more. Draw out your playing field and strategize how you will prepare for and deal with the inevitable things that regularly happen in business. Because once you do, all you have to worry about is playing the game. And playing this game is so much fun, not to mention it can come with all kinds of rewards for both you and your family.
Cris Mac is an entrepreneur through and through. She refers to her businesses as "projects" and is constantly working on something new, helping others along the way.