11 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Business
A very interesting article found on Facebook/Medium. Worth a read for those of us who've decided to do the unthinkable and follow our passions (Note: it wouldn't be so unthinkable if it was as easy as it sounds). Enjoy.
A lot of people like to fool you and say that you’re not smart if you never went to college, but common sense rules over everything. That’s what I learned from selling crack. -Snoop Dogg
My name is Stephanie St.Claire, and I am an unfunded entrepreneur. I’ve been in business for 3 years, after engaging in my own personal and tenuous renaissance (uh…divorce) and rediscovering my Divine Core Purpose. In other words, I grew a pair of ladyballs and started living the life I always wanted to while making money doing it.
But there was a LOT to learn, and some of those things weren’t covered in Who Moved My Cheese.
Throw these 4 rockstars into a blender, and you’ll have a composite sketch of me in the first three months of my business:
Glitter was literally shooting out of my eye sockets as I quit my PR firm job and started my own business. Full of optimism, living in New York City, and surrounded by a tribe of friends who were also launching businesses, art, and gigs, I felt it was the perfect time to make the bold move to entrepreneurship. I was now officially Living My Dream and Working For Myself which meant that I was In Charge of My Financial Destiny and Captain of My Promising Future.
Luckily my initial hyper-optimism buoyed me whilst, oscillating between euphoria and despair, I was slowly but systematically forced off The Magic School Bus and onto the S.S. Battleship Long Haul.
I was a quick and eager learner, but despite the hours of webinar watching, countless Friday nights pumping out site copy, and teaching myself everything I could about HTML, there were just some things I didn’t get. I had to fall on my ass to procure the “masters degree in life survival” every entrepreneur has to earn on their “journey.”
Yes, those were wildly gesticulated air quotes.
Here are 11 things I wish I knew when I started my business. I hope they will save you some time, but at the very least, some anguish because — experience is a good teacher here — the sodium from your tears acts as a corrosive melting agent on all brands of premium ice cream, but otherwise, makes a superb saline for your dirty martini. Cry over a cup, oh fathomless bird of preneurial gumption!
Running the business is your first priority. Your success (and financial stability) will come from expertly running your business — not teaching yoga, life coaching, writing copy, or making jewelry. In other words, you will spend 15% of the time doing what you love (your gift..in my case coaching and writing) and 85% of the time marketing, administrating, selling, strategizing your business, and answering a shitload of email. Survival will totally hinge on how quickly you adopt this role of Business Owner first, creator of pretty things, second.
This sucked for me because I wanted nothing to do with running a business. I just wanted to be a writer and a life coach who wrote and coached all day. I didn’t get it.
Ready to meet your soul mate? It’s you. Entrepreneurship is the most life changing relationship (like marriage or parenthood) that a person can have. You will be confronted overandoverandover with your fears, your insecurities, your crappy excuses, your limitations, your justifications, your shitty integrity, and your inefficient time management. The standard you held yourself to in the work-a-day world was good enough then, but it won’t be good enough to run your own business. And you will learn to accept yourself through all this because in order to get up every day and create, you have to. Somehow through that process of acceptance, while you’re busy putting yourself out there in spite of your flaws, your weaknesses will transform and you will fall in love with yourself. Not in the over-hyped “SELF LOVE 2012” way, but in a quiet way that sneaks up on you after witnessing a thousand splinter-sized moments of transcending the baser aspects of yourself.
Your trajectory for success will take as long as everyone else’s, even though you’re special and brilliant. I heard the “two-year rule” when I started my biz, but I was confident I could do it in 6 months. I believed with every fiber of my glittery, go-gettin’ heart that my work ethic (15-hour days/7 days a week), along with my talent, skills, and personal magic, I could rip a path to accelerated success because also, this was A Leap of Faith and I was Living in My Divine Authenticity and that was worth some express lane juju points from Heaven.
Jesus had other plans.
Running out of money is a common part of the journey. You won’t expect it, because you prepared for the long haul. You secured a business loan, or got some investors, or sold your house (cough, cough), or have one year’s worth of savings and you have planned accordingly.
But then all of the sudden, midst the puffy clouds and blue skies, your little twin engine Entreprenairplane will sputter, the needle on the gas gauge unexpectedly plummeting to zero, and you will have only one choice… land your plane on the wild, abandoned air strip called Bank Balance: Fourteen Dollars. And this will be the LAST PLACE you ever thought you’d crash land, cuz didn’t you pass this test on No More Sephora Island?
The good news is this is a rite of passage that will launch you into the League of Business Badassery in which, once you are out of the money hellhole, you will be unstoppable. You’ve been to the baddest prison there is, you looked down the barrel of your worst fear, and you stood your ground. You didn’t quit. You got up the next day, and you wrote your next post, created your next offering, and answered the email with zero dollars in your bank account.
There is nothing more beautiful than running out of money and realizing that you are doing your work because you’ve got the guts tostand in the face of no agreement and push through when there is no evidence of security. You really, truly love what you do, and you’d do it for free if you had to.
Irony is a sassy bitch, isn’t she?
Build a hybrid stream of income. Take a second job if it will give you peace of mind. Please don’t be a jackass like I was and make it mean that you’re failing at your business. I was so resistant to “dividing my focus” or taking any action which I interpreted as undermining my commitment to being a successful writer and coach. Do you see the hellish mousetrap that was? I really thought that by making a Plan B I was telling the Universe I wasn’t 100% serious about my success. Don’t even get me started with my crazy aversion to Plan B’s. I created a worse problem by allowing financial stress to gut me of my sanity.
If having a steady stream of part-time income would be in service to your peace of mind, DO IT.
I finally came to terms with the fact that I was being obnoxiously naïve about how money, peace, survival, and timing all work together and I got a second job. By doing this, I supernaturalized my own path to freedom and self-sustainability. And since I wasn’t freaking out about money anymore, I liberated more creative real estate in my brain to apply toward my business.
Click here for numbers Six to Eleven - c'mon, we can't just copy the whole thing ;) And sign up to Medium if you can. There are amazing people on there!