Launching and growing a business is an incredible adventure. There are euphoric highs, but also crippling lows.
I’ve always wanted to run my own business. It’s always been a goal of mine. Leaving school, I didn’t want to take the normal route of University and so instead I moved to Manchester to study at the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy. The whole mantra of the academy is ‘Entrepreneurs aren’t born; they’re made’. I was thinking about this recently and I couldn’t help but think when people talk about business people and ‘entrepreneurs’, the image conjured up is often something like this:
And despite that being the goal of many business owners, the reality is, they’re going to have to go through years of hardship to get to that point. Being an ‘entrepreneur’ and running a business can be so unbelievably hard. It’s certainly not all about the flash cars and big houses in the early stages! This meme sums it up:
Although we mostly hear the positives of running a business (work when you want etc.) I think it’s important to highlight the negatives too. I’m sure if you’re in business you’ll be able to relate to some if not all of these common emotions.
Anxiety is an emotion I think a lot of business owners will feel from time to time. The uncertainty of running your own business can be quite overwhelming sometimes: is this invoice going to be paid? How am I going to win this new business? Are my clients satisfied with the work I’m doing? There are so many different things you have to juggle, it can be really hard to manage.
Guilt is another one. When I launched the business, I had a girlfriend and pets I had to look after. All I wanted was to be with them, doing the things you see other ‘happy’ couples doing. But when you’re launching a business, it consumes everything you do. From the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep, it’s on your mind. This is obviously going to put a strain on things and will ultimately leave you feeling pretty damn guilty.
The loneliness of it all has been the hardest thing for me. Being an ‘internet’ business, I’ve been able to run my business from my bedroom. I could literally roll out of bed and get on with a good days work in my PJ’s. Now that might sound like the dream to some people and I did enjoy it at first, but when you’re on your own, in your bedroom, all day, every day, it gets pretty boring.
Now, I used to go and work from coffee shops (and still do) which is great, but you still miss that human interaction. Being a business owner or ‘entrepreneur’ can be painfully lonely, so it’s hugely important to try and get out there and meet people as much as possible. Luckily for us we’ve moved into a coworking space!
Yep, you’re gonna be tired. I don’t really subscribe to the idea that you need to work 18 hours a day to launch a business. But in the early days, you’re going to have to put a lot of hours in. I used to work full-time, at the same time as launching my business. This meant getting up at 7 am. Working on the business till 4 pm. Then going to ‘work’ from 5-9pm. At the weekends, I would work from 10-7pm. And I had to do this for months. Working every. single. day.
I was exhausted. But I had to do it. It was the only way I could pay my bills!
To sum up
I don’t want to put people off launching their own business, and I don’t want to make it sound all doom and gloom because it’s not. I’ve had an incredible journey and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just thought it was important to highlight the harsh realities of how it can be to run a business.
Have you felt the same? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Either leave a comment or drop me an email.