When I became an entrepreneur, I distinctly remember thinking, “I had no idea I would be writing this much. My main job function is writing.” I was in the thick of creating Chic CEO, a website designed to give women the resources they needed to start a business. But what I was actually doing, was writing. A LOT. Anyone who has started a business can attest to the fact that there are a lot of things they do daily that have nothing to do with their core competency.
Here are a few things that no one told me when I became an entrepreneur. 1. You’ll work longer hours, not fewer
The dream of being an entrepreneur is usually the freedom. The time to make your own decisions and make your own schedule. A lot of digital nomads out there purport the idea that they just run their businesses from a beach in Bali and make a billion dollars. Not so, my friend. Behind all of the success is always hard work. If you see an entrepreneur who is sitting on the beach, it’s because they hustled - or they are taking a quick break to snap a shot before they go running back to their computer.When you work for yourself, most everything is done by you. No one is there to tell you to start or stop working, and if you love what you do - you’ll do it non-stop. Then, when you get clients, they will be demanding of your time as well. Rarely is there 8-5 hours for any entrepreneur in the beginning.
Entrepreneurship isn’t a break from work, it’s work you create for yourself.2. It’ll take a lot longer to make money than you expected
Making money with your business will take longer than you will expect. Most times it’s because there are so many little expenses that add up in the beginning that you may have not planned for and recouping those costs delays your efforts. Anything from website hosting to business card printing to inventory - startup costs are always more than what we estimate and securing profit always takes longer than expected.
Getting up and running to a place where you feel comfortable selling services and on boarding clients can take longer as well. It’s always best to plan for this.3. You will say yes to everything, until you say no
My previous partner, Jody, and I always said yes to every opportunity that came along. It was fun, it definitely drove traction and attention - but we were pooped. We weren’t all that strategic about it, we just knew we wanted to be seen and to grow. Eventually though, we were so strapped down with everything we had committed to, that we never felt like we were doing anything really well anymore. This is when we realized we had to start saying no.
When you start to see some success, opportunities will start flying your way. Some are very exciting, some are ridiculous - either way, you must know what to say yes to and what to say no to.4. You will fight your big ideas
This is a version of the issue above, except it’s what you do to yourself. When you get going, you’ll start to notice that great big, amazing ideas flood your brain. It’s really hard not to move forward on them all. Some will be worth pursuing, most will not. Like above, you must know what to say yes to and what to say no to. Especially to yourself.5. Your ego will be rocked
Nothing makes you feel more inadequate than starting a business! What a humbling experience. There is a lot of rejection that can come with starting a business, and we need to check our ego at the door in order to make it work. Rarely do our businesses work out as planned and that can shatter the confidence we do have. If we can try to control what we can, and be curious about what we can’t - we are able to keep a better grasp on what’s going on as well as stay open to new opportunities for growth.
Stephanie Burns writes about female entrepreneurship and unreasonable requests. www.stephanie-burns.com