How hard is it to start a business? According to the SBA, there are 27.9 million small businesses, 18,500 firms with 500 employees or more and over 60,000 new businesses formed every year. People love the idea to own their own business. From the glamour of calling yourself the CEO to the interesting challenges a small business creates. There are tons of reasons to start your business today!
Starting Your Own Business Is Hard Work
Before you jump in head first, I want to share some of my experiences starting and managing a small business marketing consultant. I also want to tell you why starting your own business is so hard, but also so rewarding.
Business never sleeps. Right now it is 5:30 am on a Saturday morning and I am writing a blog post (blogging for your business is so important, and making time becomes a priority). I had plans of sleeping in this morning, but the business needed my attention in other areas this week, so before I head out to a wedding this afternoon, I need to get caught up. There are certain tasks that I feel are more important than sleep.
Your business is moving at all times, it never sleeps, it never takes a break. You have to adjust your schedule to meet the needs of the business. No more 9-5 bankers hours. You are going to be attending events, dinners, and networking events at all hours of the day or night.
You are now your business and working 24/7 is now a necessity.
When I was in corporate America, I thought to go on vacation was impossible. While you are gone your “backup” did nothing. You come back to days worth of emails, paperwork, meetings, and the one thing your “backup” actually did, now has to be redone because they messed it up. I know the glamorous corporate gig.
Now that I own a business it has become even harder. I recently celebrated my 10 year wedding anniversary to my amazing wife (we got married at 22 if you are trying to figure out how old I am). We decided to go to Las Vegas. I know what you are thinking, gambling, drinks, and shows for a couple of days. Not so fast, we, or I, decided on Vegas because there was a conference that I wanted to make an appearance at (my poor wife, and this is why she is amazing). Don’t get me wrong, we went to a couple shows, had some great food, and enjoyed our time, but the business dictated when and where we went.
If you are used to the normal summer vacation, well you might have to put that off for a couple years or at least until you can start to “crush it”.
Lack Of Income
You just started your business and the money is going to start rolling in. You are going to meet the CEO of Coca-Cola and sign a huge deal, right? I wish that were the case. There are going to be businesses that generate profit overnight and become the instant billionaires you read about or see on the Today show. It does happen, but I will tell you that it does not work that way for the majority.
In the very beginning of my first business, my business partner and I scraped by. Working out of my garage, eating Ramen noodles, and living like college kids again (hard to do with 3 & 4 kids). Any additional income went back to the business, trying to get it to grow. If we were lucky the mortgage got paid, food bought, utilities and internet checks written. Now, what do we have left over to advertise and keep the business running? I have talked to many business owners from all over that have sold their homes and moved back to their parents home to save cash. Definitely, something you hope not to happen.
If you think that starting your business is going to generate tons of cash right off the bat, you’re crazy and probably starting your business for the wrong reason. “You have to live like most won’t, in order to live like most can’t”. Profit is a long-term goal, but the profit can be tremendous and make all the hard work worth it.
Prospecting New Business
This is one of the things that I dread about owning a business (to this day). I am not a sales person, I know that and if you are, good for you. It is a great skill to have. I have had to learn how to network and ask for sales. I have learned along the way, but it makes me more nervous than public speaking.
When you first start out there are never long lines of new prospects waiting for you. You have to earn them. This is one of the reasons why I blog so much. I hope that by reading the 0530 blog, you will see that we are the expert in the field and when your company needs marketing help, we are the first person you contact (in advance, I appreciate your business).
You have to find creative ways to generate new business and it can be hard at times. You are going to have to get out of your comfort zone and do things you are not used to doing. For me, this meant cold calling prospects. Practice makes better (I don’t believe in perfect, you can always improve).
Wearing Green, Red, Blue, and Even Pink Hats
As a dude, are you ready to put on your pink bedazzled hat (I have two small girls and I have no problem anymore)? Well, you better get ready to wear every color of the rainbow. As you start your business you are doing everything. You are the accountant, the salesperson, the janitor, the cook, the event planner, or whatever is needed at any moment.
There is no cleaning crew that comes in after the office is closed to throw your wastebasket and cleans your bathroom. There is no maintenance crew that comes to move your desk higher or lower because your back hurts. It is you.
If you can afford to get help, great, but most small business owners are wearing multiple hats and those hats are changing color daily, hourly, or even by the minute. So get ready, your pink hat is in the mail.
Why The Hard Work Is Worth It
Starting your own business is hard work, but there are so many reasons why it is worth all the long hours and hard work.
As a business owner, I have never had more work-life balance in my life. This is the one thing that I enjoy the very most about owning a business. I am able to wake up early or work late into the night and be there for my family and friends on their schedule, not the schedule my boss says I need to keep. I have been able to make every soccer practice, gymnastics practice, and volunteer at my church. However, if you want to succeed you have to alter your schedule to get things done if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. There have been days that I wake up at 4:30 am and stop working at midnight, but I control it.
Set The Company Culture
As a small business owner, you are able to dictate the culture of the company. I am not a huge suit and tie guy, but I will throw one on when needed. I have set the company up to be as casual as you want. Sandals in the summer (we live in Arizona, so they are a must), shorts in December, I don’t care as long as you are getting your work done and producing at a high level. In fact, we also give all employees a pair of converse when they start, this helps jump-start the laid-back atmosphere. Have fun while you work and you will work harder and longer.
Get Things Done
Do you have a 6-month turn around for any marketing activity? My last corporate job did. You want an email to help jump-start sales, “well we can get that out in 6 months”. The problem is sales are down now. Owning and operating a small business gives you the ability to get things done and get them done fast. That same email to jump-start sales can now be planned, designed, and sent in less than a day. You need a new landing page for a client, let’s knock it out. The lack of getting things done and out the door is what drove me out of the door of corporate America.
You Choose Your Co-Workers and Customers
Starting your own business gives you the opportunity to pick and choose who you work with. I am not just talking about hiring new employees. I am talking about your customer or clients. One of the best feelings is being able to work with clients that you get along with and have a strong relationship with. This helps business on both sides.
It’s only happened once. But I recently had to terminate a contract with a client because they were continually late on getting us needed information and then would blame us for not meeting the deadlines. “Do you have the creative for the email?” The day it was supposed to hit the market we would receive the creative and have to work the night or miss the deadline. This creates an unhealthy relationship and I finally had enough. My employees are more important than you, mister client. See you, here is a list of other agencies that might be able to help you.
Being able to like the people you work with and work for makes coming to work enjoyable. I do not mind putting in extra hours if my co-workers need help or my clients need something, as long as they are able to return the favor and appreciate the hard work we put in. At the end of the day, we see this as a partnership, not just the buying or selling of services.
The Harder You Work, The Bigger The Payoff
The harder I work the more money I am able to make. One of my biggest complaints in the corporate world was the fact that if I came in early or stayed late, my pay stayed the same. So what’s the point? Now I can control how much or how little I make each year. I am in control of my salary, not some HR rep that says the local pay grade is $xx,xxx, or we offer competitive salaries.
So, How Hard is it to Start a Business?
We know that starting your own business is hard work, but totally worth it. It is also not for everyone. If it was not worth it, we would give up. But we are entrepreneurs, we are the people that drive the economy, and I applaud you and anyone thinking about starting your own business. Get out there are show the world who you are. Your time is now!
Your Time Is Now!
So, is it hard to start a business? We know that starting your own business is hard work, but totally worth it. It is also not for everyone. If it was not worth it, we would all give up. But we are entrepreneurs, we are the people that drive the economy, and I applaud you and anyone thinking about starting your own business. Get out there are show the world who you are. Your time is now!