Owning your own business is definitely not all rainbows and unicorns. (Truly, nothing in life really is.) But even though there are ups and downs in this entrepreneurial world, I firmly believe that the upside will always outweigh the downside, especially for me.
Here’s what I’ve learned about being a business owner—both the good and the bad. But we’ll start with the bad so I can end on a high note!
Constantly in Sales Mode
The biggest stressor I’ve had in my business since Day One is having to constantly be in “sell” mode. I worked in retail back in high school and college, always having to “upsell” customers to get them to buy multiple items. It wasn’t my thing. I hated feeling like I was pushing something on people that they didn’t really need.
As a business owner, I always have to keep sales in the back of my mind. Without the sales, I can’t make the mortgage payment. And while it’s been a while since I’ve really stressed about money, that nagging worry is always there.
But I don’t believe in selling something to a client that she doesn’t want. And I don’t believe in pushing someone to buy something that isn’t in their best interest, or that they can’t afford. I hate being sold to, so I find “selling” a challenge.
[bctt tweet=”Sales is a struggle for me because I hate when someone tries to sell to me.” username=””]
Owning your own business means that you can take time off whenever you want and take naps every day, right? While I might be known for my mid-day naps, I certainly don’t get to take them every day.
Running a business is hard and it takes time. I spend more time in front of my computer than I care to admit, and my derriere certainly shows it these days.
Between client work, dealing with administrative tasks, growing my resources bank, developing new programs and keeping my marketing and communication up-to-date, I spend more time working than I should. And honestly, I’m totally okay with that in this season of life. But there are days I lose motivation and wonder what would happen if I just went back to bed.
Lack of Interaction
I’ve talked about it before, but when I left teaching to grow my at-home business, I experienced culture shock. I’m an introvert, so I was overwhelmed with stimulation nearly every day I was teaching. When I stopped, I soaked in the quiet. Until I found myself finding ways to get around leaving the house at all. And then feeling completely depressed and cut off from the world (by my own hand).
Working from home is wonderful and terrible at the same time. I’ve gone out of my way to find ways to interact with other business owners, but it’s not always easy. In-person networking is not really for me, which is why virtual coffee chats are so wonderful! And that connection is a necessary part of growing a business (and being human).
[bctt tweet=”Virtual chats are my favorite way to network as an introvert.” username=””]
Being in Control of Your Destiny
My paycheck shrunk every year for the last five years I taught. Between the ever-increasing state retirement contributions and the cost of health insurance, paired with a pay freeze, there was nothing I could do to make more money. Except tutor, “volunteer” for every opportunity to earn an additional stipend or get a second job. I had no control over how much I could make (never enough) or even what grade level I taught from year to year.
As a business owner, I have absolute control. That doesn’t mean I can decide tomorrow I’m going to have a seven-figure year (something I don’t aspire to do). But it does mean that I can decide how I want to grow my business, what I want to offer my clients and how I price those services.
[bctt tweet=”As a small biz owner, I have control over my own destiny.” username=””]
Making Your Own Schedule
Who doesn’t like to sleep until noon and work the midnight oil all night? Oh, yeah. Me. I’m a very early riser and thrive on being creative when the mood strikes. Which is to say, in the morning. I love that I can now work whenever I want—cramming in extra hours when my daughter is at her dad’s house and taking an afternoon off when she gets out of school early. I actually enjoy sitting down at my computer on weekend mornings to get some content written without my email interrupting me.
Being able to work when I want is a huge perk to running my own business. And huge bonus points because I can now also go to the bathroom whenever the urge strikes—something I couldn’t do as a teacher!
Working With the People You Love to Work With
Aside from being able to wear my pajamas every day, my favorite thing in my business is working one-on-one with my clients. I love getting to know my clients and building relationships that continue beyond the single project we work on together. And I love that I can work with people who get me excited, who are enthusiastic about investing in and growing their businesses and who share some of the same beliefs I do. I’m totally not sappy, but sometimes, just sometimes, I’m all sappy with gratitude!
I have to say: Business ownership is not for everyone. I never thought in a million years that it would be for me. But through sheer grit and determination (and, yes, talent), I’ve made it work. And I can’t wait to see where my business takes me in the next 10 years!
Have you experienced similar ups and downs in your small business? Share them—it helps to know you’re not alone!