Owning your own business is hard work at every stage. You need determination and a desire to achieve. You can’t ever be content. That’s what makes it appealing, right?
For me, owning my own business is about creating the lifestyle I want and feeding my inner need for ongoing satisfaction. I made countless mistakes when I started, but I learned a lot! Here are the five things I learned when I started my business.
To give yourself the best opportunity at success, you must plan ahead and make the transition as smooth as possible.
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I started my first business in 2011. It was a boot camp that I was running on the oval of the school where I was teaching. I started with just two people, who were the owner and manager of The Athlete’s Foot, where I used to work and who I asked to display flyers.
The numbers in my boot camp steadily grew, but I was always scared of making the leap from permanent employment with the department of education, to being full-time self-employed. I lacked a plan and feared the unknown.
By mid 2014, I’d built enough pain from lack of action (the type of pain that so often drives change), that I resigned from full-time teaching to work for myself full-time. While I continued with my boot camps, which had grown by now, a undertook a new venture in online coaching. The transition was drastic and happened quickly. I was far from prepared and the immediate road ahead was turbulent and tough.
Looking back on that time now, there are many things I would do differently. I don’t regret the experience because I learned some extremely valuable lessons. The overarching theme was transition.
To give yourself the best opportunity at success, you must plan ahead and make the transition as smooth as possible. I hope my experiences will save you time, money and a whole heap of stress.
The 5 Things I Learned About Starting a New Business:
- Understand your expenses.
Work out how much money you need to cover ALL of your expenses. You need to earn enough from your business AFTER paying all your bills. There are probably more than you think. This is quite daunting but don’t let it hold you back. Be realistic and conservative so you don’t transition too quickly.
- Create a safety net.
As part of your transition plan, start saving. Aim to save enough money to cover all of your expenses for six months. This will help you get by when you’ve transitioned completely. You want to spend more time on your business and less time worrying about paying your bills.
- Wind back your hours gradually.
Transitioning from full-time employment to full-time self-employment in one go was the biggest mistake I made. If you can, reduce your hours from full-time, to 0.75, then 0.5, and then 0.25, over six month intervals. This will give you eighteen months to ensure you can pay your expenses, create a safety net of funds, and build your business in a sustainable way.
- Set a date.
Actually write the date down that you plan to have transitioned completely. Ideally, this is between eighteen and twenty-four months, but certainly after you’ve achieved your savings plan. Write down the dates that you’ll proceed through the various stages of part-time employment as well.
- Give yourself 2 years.
Business takes time to establish. Don’t be hard on yourself. Give yourself two years from when you’ve transitioned completely. Note that that’s about four years from the very beginning.
Best of luck and I hope to hear from you as a successful business owner in the next few years.
When you decide you’re going to be self-employed full-time, you must plan ahead. Make your transition from being employed to being self-employed as seamless as possible. Pay particular attention to planning ahead in the areas of finances, career, family, education, and health.
If you’re a business owner, what lessons have you learned? If you’re thinking about starting a new business, what would you like to know?
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