Becoming an entrepreneur and the three surprising things I wasn’t expecting.
Becoming an entrepreneur was one of the biggest changes I made in my life. There’s a lot of information out there for anyone looking to start an online business, whether it’s a blog or an online website. Some of it’s useful, a lot of it’s not. But you can’t always read between the lines when you don’t know what you are looking for.
I did a lot of reading when I first started out with online businesses. I read other peoples blogs to see what they were writing about, and how they started out. And I looked into dozens of start-up companies to see how they handled their first year and the things they had learnt along the way. I hoped to get a head start by learning from their mistakes. A number of times I read that if they knew how many hours would go into launching their business, they would probably not have ever started! Hmmm… not a lesson I really wanted to learn – just don’t start?
Becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business is hard. It is challenging, and it can be overwhelming at times. But there were some things that surprised me.
All is not what it seems…
Hours and hours of work!
The first thing that really struck me was when I stopped to reflect on my first year. After spending months and months setting up my first online shop, I paused and looked back. (You can read my story about setting up my first shop Manifest Your Vibes here). I had heard (so many times!) about how the first few years of starting out can be a really hard road. Hours and hours a day, no more time for t.v.-watching or internet-surfing and no more fun 🙁
Well, yes and no. It’s true that you do spend hours to put a business together ready for launch. But it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s a creative process, with learning curves and small successes along the way and a huge amount of pride at all you’ve achieved. I spent a whole lot more time than I needed to, because I really wanted to nurture this idea and make sure it reflected me as a person. And I was enjoying it!
I used to spend my downtime flicking through fairly boring (to be fair!) news and entertainment websites to give myself a break from whatever else I was doing. But now I spent that time drafting a new design, or building my profile on Pinterest. It’s not like it’s back-breaking work. It is, in fact, far more creative, collaborative and rewarding!
Leaving the daily office grind behind.
The second thing I discovered is that once I had established a successful side hustle, I didn’t feel quite so trapped in my day job.
For more than ten years now I’ve been dreaming of leaving office work behind and pursuing a creative outlet. I resented hours spent in front of the computer instead of happily coffee’ing with friends or spring cleaning my house. Even when I became a mum and my hours dropped down to 25-30 hours a week, I still wanted out. I couldn’t wait until I could start my own business and getting out of my pajamas in the morning was a want rather than a need.
Once I started indulging my creative side and making some money on the side, I felt much more balanced. Yes I was working more, but I was enjoying the balance and variety of work. The bits of my office work that I did like I started to focus on more and enjoy. And the bits I didn’t like (like having to be there at set hours) didn’t matter so much because I now had options. I wasn’t trapped. I wasn’t desperate. If I decided “enough was enough” I could quit and blog full-time.
The challenges don’t get harder.
And the third thing I discovered along the way, that I truly wasn’t expecting, was that the challenges and obstacles didn’t really get harder. Or, at least, it didn’t feel like they were. Maybe I was getting better. 🙂
In the beginning, everything seems overwhelming and when you come up against the first obstacle you think “I don’t know anything about this!”. But then you google it. And maybe you read a blog post about it, or check out a help center. And you figure it out!
Now it’s all very well saying that you just take things one step at a time, but at the start of anything big all you’re not looking at one thing. You’re looking at a a mountain of things you need to figure out. And it’s easy to lose perspective and think this is one heck of a mountain that I just can’t climb. But the same skills that let you find a good local plumber, set up your facebook account or choice a school for your kid will serve you here. Google it, ask people what they use, and make a decision. It really is that easy. Tick it off and move to the next thing.
It does take a little perseverance to keep throwing yourself at problems. But the more you get under your belt, the less daunting it will be. And the more comfortable you will become with being a little uncomfortable. You’ll know you figured out what self-hosting meant, or which platform to use for your online shop (things I certainly had no idea about when I started!). And then you start to realise you can do this!