When I worked for someone else, all I desperately wanted was to have my own business. I wanted total control over my life, my earning potential and my schedule. I figured I was a smart person, I had a great education and supportive family and friends. Certainly I could run my own business.
When I started my first business four years ago, I was still working full time and had a full time lawyer salary to fall back on. Many times it’s advantageous to start a business while employed full time, especially if capital is scarce. However, I found that I tended to not stress about certain things as much as I should have because I had my salary safety net. Now that I no longer have that safety net (and haven’t had one for several years), I realize how totally naive I was about what it took to not just start, but to keep a business going and make it profitable. In some ways I think you have to be naive because maybe if you knew what was ahead you’d never open a business. That would be a shame because I think starting and running a business is one of the most humbling and personally transformative experiences one can have aside from having children. So, what’s my point? Lately I’ve been thinking about how naive I was four years ago compared to what I know now. What are the top things that I’ve learned, my top 10 OMG Small Business Moments:
- You will be fired by a client.
- You will have to fire clients.
- That vacation costs twice as much when you need to pay someone to work while you’re away.
- Don’t give clients your personal cell phone number (get a business cell if necessary).
- Prospective clients hate voice mail.
- If you don’t call or email someone back the same day-sometimes in the same hour, they’ll find someone else to help them.
- 98% of your time is spent getting new business (aka: marketing).
- There’s no one to double check your work.
- You can’t just call the IT department when you have tech issues.
- Working for someone else is much, much easier. And cheaper.