When executed properly, turning your passion project into your full time job can be an amazing feeling! While being your own boss can be thrilling, it can also be stressful and can sometimes sour you on what you once loved. As a Corporate Exit Strategist for female business owners, nothing is tougher than talking with someone who was once passionate and is now discouraged and floundering. Before deciding to go full throttle and turn what you love into what you do, take a deep breath and take the time to do it right. This is the key to ensuring that your experience is as stress free as possible so that your business has the best shot at success!
Do Your Homework
If you have no idea who your ideal clients are, aren’t sure what to charge, haven’t quite decided what your process will be, are completely clueless about marketing… you have a lot to learn before you declare yourself a business owner. So often I talk to women who have a story like this: I wanted to do what I loved, so I started a business, but now I’m working my tail off, making no money, and I feel like I’m just taking shots in the dark and nothing I try is working. Talk about stressful! This is not why we become entrepreneurs. Quite the opposite, actually. Running a business is a science. It takes strategic planning and is usually 80% business and 20% of what you actually love!
Similarly, take the time to learn how to set up your business properly when it comes to the legal aspect. Speak with an accountant to be sure you’re handling your finances properly.
Find out how much your business will cost! Even when you have an online business, your business will have some sort of overhead! Plus, your time is worth something. Figure out what it would cost you to operate your business on a month to month basis. Not sure what you’ll need on the business end? Talk to other business owners in your industry. You may be surprised how many people are happy to help!
Be Clear on Your Why
Everyone has their own reasons for starting their own business. But sometimes these reasons aren’t necessarily the right reasons.
Running a business is EASY (although most people will tell you it’s HARD). What’s hard for most people is that it takes commitment, consistency, and a lot of work.
Being a successful business owner has a lot to do with your story, so if your why isn’t properly aligned, it can be hard to sustain growth. Even worse, some business owners find themselves feeling like what once was their passion is now their chore, and what they once loved now provides little joy.
If you’re not passionate, it will likely shine through in your products, or your services, and in your customer service. Dig deep and be sure your heart and your head are both all in!
Have a Plan, Plus Reserves
If you’re struggling to put dinner on the table, deciding to throw caution to the wind and becoming a business owner can be VERY stressful. Sometimes, the hardest conversations I have with potential clients are ones that revolve around them needing to stabilize their finances so that they can comfortably go after their dreams.
It’s not always what people want to hear. But the truth is, a business isn’t necessarily profitable overnight, especially if you’re not an expert when it comes to the business end. While being your own boss can be amazingly fulfilling, there also is something to be said for earning a steady paycheck.
When the stress of running a business is compounded with thoughts of: “Oh my gosh! I can’t pay my bills!” And you’re constantly giving discounts left and right in a desperate attempt to attract new clients (hint - those won’t be the RIGHT clients!), life won’t be very joyful. Sometimes following your passion means being patient. If your finances are strapped as is, consider beginning to build your business on the side until you’ve built enough traction to feel secure leaving your current position. Sure, that might mean late nights, early mornings, and working weekends to balance both gigs. But the peace of mind you’ll have can far outweigh working 24/7 on your business, wondering how on earth you’re going to pay your bills!
Check Your Pulse
Does the idea of starting your own business strike a balance between thrilling and terrifying? If not, you might have a rough road ahead of you.
In order to run a successful business, the ability to change, grow, and look at your business with an objective eye is key. If you’re not at all afraid, and you feel 100% I’ve SO got this, easy! you may be setting yourself up for failure.
Yes, it’s great to be confident. But, being cocky can prohibit your ability to see the real picture. You need to be willing to adapt to changes in your industry if you want the best shot at success!
A healthy dose of fear can be an amazing motivator because it pushes you to keep going when you’re tired and encourages you to be on your toes, always ready to pivot if you need to, so that you’re not knocked off your game. A lot of drive, mixed with a touch of fear, can be powerful!
Find a Tribe
Sometimes being a business owner can be lonely. When you work for yourself, the social aspect of an out of the home “day job” is often removed, and the stress is often magnified.
Unfortunately, you may find that venturing into business ownership results in a barrier of sorts between yourself and the people you love. It’s hard for people who are not business owners to understand the stress, commitment, and dedication that it takes to be in charge of your own show!
Before you decide to make the switch, consider if your friends and family will support you in the way you need. Is there anyone who will understand, be willing to lend an ear when you need one, and give you feedback when necessary? If you don’t have anyone in your life who has owned a business, consider taking to the internet (or looking for some local networking groups!) to find a tribe of people who understand your journey. Having supportive people in your corner can be extremely helpful when things get tough!
Having little to no support can greatly affect your business, so when it comes to building a tribe of people who GET it, the more the merrier! Often, the best way to learn about starting a business is by talking to business owners about what they wish they knew before they took the plunge!