Starting a new business isn’t easy. There are many things to consider when you’re first starting out, from how you’re going to drum up new clients to marketing yourself to what you’re going to call your new venture. Being an entrepreneur for the past 10 years, I’ve learned a few things that can help budding business owners get things off on the right foot without causing too many sleepless nights.
Get a Side Gig
Unless you have someone bankrolling you, things might be a little lean when you’re first starting out. It can take a while to build a client base that produces steady revenue (read: years). While you’re building your business, you may want to take on a side gig to help you make ends meet. I worked full time for the first 3 years of building my business. It was hard, meant long hours, but it was critical. Eventually I was able to break free of full time work and just work part time. Then eventually I was able to give that up too. I still work part time as a college professor, partly because I enjoy it, and partly because it’s nice to have a little extra cash in the bank for months when client work takes a decline (yep, that still happens sometimes!)
When we were first starting out, my partner and I did EVERYTHING for the business. We wrote, shot, and edited video. We designed and developed web sites. We managed social media. AND we worked on developing the business, AND all of the administrative work that goes along with running a business. It quickly got to be too much for us, and as soon as we could afford it, we started hiring people to help us. We got a web designer on the team, and a video expert. We outsourced technical stuff like managing web servers. Your time is very valuable. Figure out how much it costs for you to do something, then figure out if you can hire someone to do it cheaper. If you can, then delegate the work. Trust me, you’ll be a lot saner as a result.
Get a Partner
A business is a 24/7 commitment. When you go it alone, it’s all you, all the time. That means you’re not going to have a lot of time to think, let alone have much of a social life. You will be dedicating a lot to the business, especially at first. For me, having a business partner was essential. This needs to be someone you trust immensely, and someone you can be completely honest with. It also needs to be someone you are okay with spending a LOT of time with – more time than you spend with your spouse or kids. Having a partner has its challenges sometimes, but in all it’s a great thing. You can bounce ideas off each other, make decisions together and share the responsibility of the business together. It really helps to have someone else there especially when things get stressful (and they will). But it’s equally great to have someone there to celebrate successes with! Partners are wonderful things.
If you’re a new entrepreneur, know that you’re going to have to work really, really hard to make your business a success. But it doesn’t have to be SO stressful. Keep these things in mind and you’ll be well on your way to a less-stressed business life!