8 Lessons From a New Small Business Owner

It’s been a little over a month since I quit my job and set off on my own to start my own business. As such, I’ve let this blog fall by the wayside a little bit. (I’m sorry.)

Since becoming my own boss I’ve learned some invaluable lessons about humanity and business operations. If you’ve ever considered running away from your cubicle in pursuit of your dreams, I completely support you. There’s something to be said for hanging your own shingle and making your own way. I’ve never been happier– or more stressed!

If you’re considering a big change similar to the one I made, I have some advice for you:

  1. Have a nest egg. My savings literally kept me above water before my business received its first checks. Don’t quit without something to fall back on– and credit cards don’t count. Many companies are cash poor these days. Don’t expect to be paid the moment you e-mail or mail a client an invoice. Most will wait until the last moment to pay you, not because they’re mean spirited but because they are probably waiting to be paid too.
  2. Have faith. My motto these days is, “Leap and the net will appear.” Once I left my previous job, work poured in. When you clear space in your life of the things that don’t fulfill you, you’re making room for people, places, things and new employment that you do enjoy. 
  3. Be like Peter Pan; think happy thoughts. Not to get all Elle Woods on you, but happy people tend to be, well, happier. Not because they naturally are predisposed to a cheerful outlook but because they choose to look on the bright side. Working at a job that wasn’t fulfilling to me turned me bitchy. Once I realized how negative my thoughts were I set to work thinking only the best about myself. As kooky as it sounds, I often talk out loud about the successes I expect to experience, many of which have come true.
  4. Prepare yourself for long hours of hard work. You’re not only paying yourself, you’re paying the government. There’s a reason why it’s often said that death and taxes are the only two certainties in life– Uncle Sam always gets what he’s owed. The good news is that you can work longer hours than most and, since the business is yours and you probably love what you’re doing, it doesn’t feel like work.
  5. Take breaks! If you’re like me and your brain is your most precious asset, treat it with kindness. Take mental health days, frequent breaks, stay away from television, EXERCISE, get outside and make sure to have a life. Trust me, having a life will inspire your work better than never leaving your desk. Do not tell yourself that when you’re not doing work you’re losing money. If your inbox is empty you’re doing something wrong. There will always be more work, but there won’t always be more time.
  6. Learn the art of acceptance. I’m a fighter but I’ve learned the importance of acceptance. Did you know that when people are in pain that accepting that they feel pain helps assuage discomfort? Instead of dispensing energy on pretending that you’re not in pain, physically or emotionally, accept your current status. Accepting circumstances is not admitting defeat; it opens you up to opportunities and possible solutions. 
  7. Turn away work. I was tempted to accept all work thrown my way when I first started my own business. Who wants to pass up a paycheck or a new client? Sometimes saying “no” isn’t a bad thing, it’s exactly what you should do to avoid taking on too much work, working with someone who doesn’t share your vision or, frankly, biting off more than you can chew.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?

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5 thoughts on “8 Lessons From a New Small Business Owner

  1. Thanks for this. Relevant even to those of us who kind of like our day jobs working for “the man.” One day I hope/expect to join the ranks of the day-job-quitters and strike out on my own, but it’s not today or soon. Still, your lessons are both practical and inspiring.

    I found your blog during a “pure barre” google search (I love pure barre now, by the way) and I love your candidness and your optimism! I am also a believer in positivity and self-care. Young women need to support each other and spread these messages, so thanks!

    1. Genevieve, thank you for reading! Love the support. You’re so right, women need to uplift one another. I am glad you see that’s exactly what I’m trying to do!

      1. I found your blog during a PB search too! And am stoked to see that you share my city 🙂 Thank you for this particular post. I’m currently stuck in a job that is so unfulfilling and I’m plotting my “escape” into entrepreneurship!

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