The life of an entrepreneur is not for everyone. Whilst the benefits (autonomy/working with clients you are passionate about/independence) may make it seem like an easy choice, there are many challenges which will pepper your road to success. Here, we look at some of the most common stresses involved in running your own business and make a few suggestions to ease the worst of them.FinancesYour number one worry is likely to be related to money; namely, the amount coming in and going out. If
The life of an entrepreneur is not for everyone. Whilst the benefits (autonomy/working with clients you are passionate about/independence) may make it seem like an easy choice, there are many challenges which will pepper your road to success. Here, we look at some of the most common stresses involved in running your own business and make a few suggestions to ease the worst of them.
Your number one worry is likely to be related to money; namely, the amount coming in and going out. If you’ve come from full-time employment, it’s going to be a shock managing your own tax, budget, insurance and so on. And HMRC doesn’t always make it completely clear what you should be doing, how and when. To avoid a huge end-of-year tax bill or other nasty monetary surprise, we highly recommend finding yourself an accountant as soon as possible. Ask other business owners who they use – a personal recommendation of trust is far better than whoever comes up first on Google.
And find a decent online accounting package too: we hear great things about Quick Books
Finding clients and customers
If you come from any kind of agency background, it’s possible you may have been involved in pitching to new clients yourself. However, that’s when you (probably) had the budget of a larger company to initiate all your wonderful ideas.
The thought of seeking out new clients who fit with your ideals, love your work and trust your brand new business over a longer-term competitor is daunting to say the least. Not forgetting that your strength may well lie in customer service and putting ideas into action, but not in the pitch itself.
That feeling of presenting to the class which we hated in school returns, filling your head with doubt and feelings of unworthiness. We can’t promise that this feeling will (ever) go away, but we can give you some tips to get out there and get pitching.
Practice, practice, practice.
Write your pitch presentation and notes and then read it out loud to yourself, a trusted friend or your dog. Get used to hearing those words coming from your mouth until you believe them. Listen out for words which don’t sound convincing: no ‘I think I can do this for you’, but ‘I can do this for you.’ If you believe in your passion, so will your potential client.
Be realistic. It’s unlikely your dream client or customer will fall into your lap to begin with. They will want to see evidence of your capability, so start smaller and build your results. Contact warm leads – people you have already spoken to about your new venture. Offer a first free/discounted package to build reviews and results. It sounds a bit silly, but if one of your worries is based around some kind of guilt about charging ‘a lot’ for your service, this is a way to see how much value your business can bring to someone’s life. Once you realise you have every right to charge XX amount, your confidence will increase in approaching that dream client.
Remember the pitch is only a small part of what you are offering. It’s a way to open up the conversation about how you can potentially work together – the bigger part of the job is on the other side of the presentation/conversation. Yes, you will get knocked-back when you first get a ‘no’, but at least you’ve got a polished presentation ready to go next time around.
We’ve already covered this in part, but a huge concern of setting up on your own is likely to be ‘Am I good enough?’. You will question everything: ‘Am I charging to much/too little?’, ‘Do I really think I am the best person my client could have hired?’, ‘Is my branding reflective of my business or not?’, ‘Should I use social media more?’…and the list goes on. Over time, these worries will fade as you gain more experience and satisfied clients and customers who sing your praises. But the first few years are likely to be tough – one step forward, two steps back, even. To deal with this self-doubt, make sure you have a strong and varied network around you. Not just family and friends but other entrepreneurs, both those starting out and seasoned, who can reassure you, offer advice and can listen and share the highs and the lows.
This is especially a problem if you are now a one person show. Without the comfort of a manager to report to, it can be difficult to find the get up and go you may previously have had at work. After all, one of the reasons you chose the life of a business owner was to be in charge of your own time and workload. The brutal truth is in order to get your business off the ground, it’s likely you will need to work harder than you’ve ever worked before. Join an online or in person business networking group and seek out someone to make yourself accountable to – perhaps another new business owner who will benefit from you giving them a kick when needed too? Remind yourself every day why you’re choosing entrepreneurship and if you find that procrastination is a problem, click here for some tips on overcoming it.
If you’re used to being surrounded by other energetic colleagues, it’s going to be a change working alone, quite likely from your own home. For some introverts this can be a dream come true, but most people need some kind of social interaction every day or two to keep them sane and stop you from engaging the postman in long discussions. Again, this is where online or in-person networking or support groups can be a godsend. Post in a local Facebook group that you’re looking to meet another entrepreneur in your area for a coffee. Chances are, you’ll get lots of responses. Additionally, many cities and small towns have clocked onto the rise in flexible working and there are many co-working spaces you can join. We Work
offer desks and rooms to rent by the month in locations worldwide (including 18 in London alone). If you’re based in Brighton, check out One Girl Band
for monthly creatives’ meet ups and a co-working space.
So, do any of these start-up stresses sound familiar? What else has been on your mind since deciding to set-up on your own? If the stresses have been getting a little too much and you’d love to chat to a qualified career coach to manage this big change, why not chat to Laura?
No more ifs or buts.