The Ugly Truths About Starting Your Own (Online) Business
As I write this, it’s the end of the week; actually more like a Saturday morning, and I am seeking refuge on the couch. For one day I am hiding from the world and choosing this: coffee, pyjamas, french toast (my favourite brekkie cooked by the hubs…thanks babes) and repeat episodes of “The Voice”.
Leave me the hell alone everyone, I am invisible. This is my bliss…at least for now.
I have run my own businesses (largely as a “Solopreneur”) for a good 6 years this June, and it is absolutely the very best decision I have ever made! As a creative thinker, with big ideas and an unconventional, non-traditional approach to business, marketing and people management; I always felt stifled by the structure and the proverbial “red tape” that so often defines the corporate business world.
Whilst it had served me well for a good many years, there came a time where it was necessary for me (for so many reasons which I hope to share in coming articles) to step out of the cookie cutter way of business, trust my intuition, and define a business and career that served not only my ambitions, but that truly SERVED and offered sincere VALUE to my customers.
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Leaving the corporate world and doing business on my terms, has given me the freedom to express myself and engage in business more creatively. I have learned bucket loads more about building a successful business and brand, and even more about myself, that I would not exchange for anything in the world!
Being an entrepreneur is an epic adventure that I am by no means ready to step away from; HOWEVER my friend, a good Cinderella story certainly doesn’t come without it’s ugly sisters!
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If you told me you were going to start a business, I would be holding your hands and jumping up and down like a crazy person, so excited for you! Gushing…brimming with stories, suggestions and tips to help you make it the most epic, amazingly successful business ever…seriously, like EVER EVER!
BUT all that freedom and goodness certainly does not come without it’s challenges. When you look around at some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, they all seem to have all their shit together and things just flow for them.
Well, based on my personal experience and bucket loads of research I’ve done in this space; I can tell you confidently that even Richard Branson and Oprah will agree: starting and running your own business most definitely does have it’s sucky moments! It’s these sucky-ass moments, that nobody talks about that will often knock entrepreneurs totally off course if they don’t have a strategy in place to combat those “ugly sisters”.
UGLY TRUTH #1 : DISTRACTIONS & DISCIPLINE
Distractions are friggin everywhere! Owning and running a freedom based business (i.e. being able to work from any where, any time), doesn’t come without it’s fair share of distraction. Especially if you work from a home based office (like me).
With all the best intentions, without the right measure of discipline, the day will ooze by you silently; and before you know it, it’s lunch time and you’ve not done a stitch of work!
Instead, you’ve done that extra load of laundry…
popped out to run some errands (all morning)…
cooked dinner (then done the crap load of dishes you used)…
watched that show you recorded from last night…
spent the entire day looking for that perfect stock photo for your next Facebook/blog post…
the kids have come home from school, and you literally just got done with chores. Now its homework time!…
or you’ve trawled social media aimlessly and found yourself lost in the You Tube abyss!
Can I get an “amen” from the procrastinator here too? (myself included)
UGLY TRUTH #2 : IT’S LONELY
My career has been nothing short of diverse in terms of the working environments I have found myself successfully working in. A private office, a shared office, an entirely open plan office, and then for the most part last 6 years, it’s been just me…and I LOVE it!
You may not know this about me, but I am actually an introvert by nature…..gasp! I know, it’s true! For this reason; I really, really enjoy working on my own. Plus, I get to manage my work around my life (and not the other way around), and always on MY terms. Of course the added bonus is that I also get to work in a space where I can listen to music as loud as I want to; in my pyjamas…or my gym clothes, or….without pants (trousers my UK peeps) if I am so inclined!
Now despite all these things, I am still human (of course), and a common drawback for many online business owners or solopreneurs, is that in those days or weeks where you aren’t seeing clients, the most company you have is your iTunes playlist. There’s no one to bounce ideas off of, share a joke or a rant with. It can get quite lonely and you start to feel as though you’re in it alone and isolated.
UGLY TRUTH #3 : OVERWHELM
There’s a common misconception that running your own business is the “easy way out”…hell no! It’s bloody hard! Money doesn’t come unless you do the work. You will often find that people who have never run their own businesses, will (for the most part) never truly understand the stresses, anxieties and responsibilities involved in the juggling act. Running your own business with limited resources, means that you are the business “Everything”. You are the marketing manager, sales expert, administrator, accountant, customer services co-ordinator, creative director, website and social media manager etc etc etc. And that’s just work, you still have a life to live too!
It’s a steep learning curve: learning new software, business processes, establishing a brand, website design, business development, sales, billing systems, reporting, research and a whole lot more.
Striking a balance between work and life becomes increasingly difficult when you know you need to pay your bills each month and switching off can sometimes be so difficult to do. Especially for the creative business mind. I find often myself dreaming about work ideas while I’m cooking, doing laundry or in the shower…often also lying awake at night buzzing with ideas, but not able to “unplug”. Before you know it, overwhelm sneaks in and that little gremlin ensures that you start questioning EVERYTHING!
So on that Saturday morning a couple of weeks back, I claimed the day for myself. This Solopreneur had reached saturation point…behold, information overload! I needed a flat out break from it all to breathe, to not think, to literally sit on the couch and just BE. I had no desire to be anywhere else, or be doing anything else. No commitments to a gym schedule, work schedule, social engagements, family or friends. Bliss!
Never let anyone tell you that starting a business is a breeze, or be faked out by those that look like they always have their ducks perfectly in a row. The shitty days will be there (I promise), and they are pretty shitty. But, from one business owner to another; I can confidently say that the good days are euphoric and so worth it!
SPOILER ALERT: In my next blog post, I will be sharing some practical steps on how to remedy these 3 ugly truths, including a couple of my favourite apps and online resources.
Hello! I'm Ashley
Just your average glitter loving, solar powered, sushi craving, boho dreaming, bullet journalling, mamma-to-Pea, with an insatiable love for people connecting, planning, business mentorship, & helping you grow your audience, income & business online!
(Oh, and pretty much coffee obsessed!)
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