4 things they don't tell you about starting your own business

The things they don’t tell you when you start your own business
Starting a business is like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. The entrepreneur begins building a parachute and hopes it opens before hitting the ground.
— Robert Kiyosaki

For as long as I can remember I told my parents I was going to be rich one day. There was never a doubt in my mind (there still isn’t) that one day I would be a financial high-flyer. When I was starting university, my mom gave me Rich Dad, Poor Dad and that’s when I decided I would start my own business to generate my fortune. Nine years later I actually started my business, in a direction I would have never even been able to dream up at the tender age of 18 and whilst I am still in awe everyday at this life I created, I have not yet quite mastered my abundant wealth and the reality of trying to be a self-starter and full-time hustler has certainly knocked me down a peg or two.

 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, trying to run a very small (just me), very new business can be incredibly overwhelming, especially when you have NO IDEA WHAT THE EFF YOU’RE DOING and whilst I was lucky to have more training than most in the business side of things thanks to my incredible yoga teacher training, there are some things you just can never really be prepared for.

 

1.      Work is your life now. Evenings, weekends, bank holidays, any spare second you will likely be planning your work, thinking about your work or doing your work. Especially if you are still carrying out employed work part- or full-time, you will be fitting this in wherever you can. But even though your friends and family may get bored of hearing you say “I have to work”, you know you are creating a life you love around the thing(s) you love, so you are happy to knuckle down and hustle hard.

2.      Building an audience takes time. I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you are not going to be a social media influencer off the bat. You are not going to sell-out classes and workshops and have tons of traffic to your website immediately. Your delusion of grandeur will be shattered when you realise you are spending all of your time creating content for nobody to see and you’ve planned an awesome workshop that nobody will sign up to. But even though you feel like the only person commenting on your posts is your mom, you are learning about consistency, content creation, growing a community and serving others through a creative outlet which you love, so you are happy to write your blogs, take a gazillion photos on timer and spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to edit them and add amazing captions which will “speak to people on a soul level”.

3.      You will have basically no idea how to do anything you try to do. Everything will take a long time, especially in the beginning. You have these amazing dreams to lead workshops, but you realise to do that you need a method of taking payment, so you better build a website, so you better buy a domain, and also you’ll need lots of photos for pretty much anything you want to do, so you should probably learn how to edit them, and videos whilst you’re at it, and if you’re taking payments you need T&C’s and a privacy policy, and you need to make sure you’re GDPR-compliant, you should probably also know how to pitch companies for a swag bag so you can actually sell tickets to your workshop, and also include calls to action in your blog, speaking of your blog are you optimising it for SEO? And you had better make sure you track every single thing you do for when it’s time to do your taxes. You will spend most of your time just googling how to do these things. I understand now why people pay other people to do this. In the beginning though, it’s just you. But even though you feel like it takes you a day just to figure out how to add a drop-down menu to your website, you are learning a lot of useful skills very quickly, you are learning how to get things done and you will feel so proud of every little thing you achieve, so you’re happy to spend most of your waking hours on Squarespace help.

4.      You will be overwhelmed by everything you should be doing. Instagram is essential to your business, so you should be posting consistently, preferably daily. You also want to post to your stories regularly and encourage people to engage through asking questions and polls so you can get to know your audience. But don’t forget Facebook for those people not on IG and Pinterest is a goldmine for generating traffic so you will want to be pinning daily too. Make sure you always have a stockpile of photos, because anything in life you want to do, be it promote a workshop, post to social, write a blog, you will need visual content. Oh yes, your blog, post at least once a week. Make sure you create other content though, like tutorials to help your readers, and you also need to make sure you have posts where you’re “being real” so people can relate to you. It’s important you don’t just post though, you need to engage with other social media accounts, and blogs, and local businesses. And did I mention social media marketing is changing daily so make sure you’re up to speed with the latest trends, tips and best practice, whilst making sure you are also keeping up your own continuing professional development through trainings. Oh. My. Days. But even though you don’t see how your life could possibly be interesting enough to generate content for one million platforms and you’re just trying to keep your head above water whilst people around you think you just teach a class a couple times a week, all it takes is that one comment from that one person you helped to make it all worth it.

 

Starting a business is not for the faint-hearted. I used to be desperate to work for myself so I could “do what I want” but the truth is I now work harder than I ever had in my life. On top of all of the business work, I have to work extra hard to set boundaries, I have to work extra hard to be present and not live my whole life through the lens of my phone camera, I have to work extra hard not to let my relationships fall to the wayside and I have to work extra hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle, not just in body but in mind. Is it really worth it?

 

Every day I wake up filled with joy and gratitude for my life. This life I created from the ground up. I’ve taken risks, I’ve made mistakes, I’ve learned so very much and I’ve grown so very much. I’ve unleashed creativity I didn’t even know was dormant inside of me and I’ve met amazing people and mentors who help me along the way. I took a situation I didn’t like and I turned it around, I made things happen, I found my purpose, I found how I can help people, and every day I’m finding out new things about myself. Every day I get to look at my life and think “I did that, I made that”. I am capable of creating a life that I love and that I’m proud of. And so are you. No, it will not be easy. But it will absolutely be worth it.

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