Confucius says…

Choose a job that you like, and you will never have to work a day in your life. 

I haven’t met an entrepreneur yet who hesitates answering the question, What do you love about what you do? Things like…

  • Finding my own way
  • Learning so much about myself and the people I serve
  • Flexibility, creative elements, knowing the work I do is significant and important
  • Not working for someone else
  • Being able to travel, never having to work for someone else or ask for permission to take time off
  • Paying myself
  • Seeing the relief, happiness and gratefulness from clients

Yet, nearly 100% of the entrepreneurs talked about the hours of work involved, perhaps a labor of love; nonetheless, a lot of work.

In this article…

I’ll share 8 things entrepreneurs who have from 2.5 -26 years as business owners wish they had known when they were starting out.

I wish I had known…

1—It’s a lot of work.

This is a comment I heard from the newest entrepreneur to one of the 26-year entrepreneur veterans who didn’t mince words and said…It’s 5 million times harder than I ever imagined.

Another, with 10 years’ experience, commented that while she has a core group of clients, finding new business is always an issue and one that keeps her up at night.

Tip: Running your business must become your priority and it requires consistency and perseverance. A conversation with spouses, partners, kids and family about the needed space and time you need helps. Get their cooperation by letting them know what to expect. Schedule weekly conversations to talk about what is going well and what needs attention.

2—Not only is running your own business a lot of work, but it’s hard on family and social life.

You’re not going to work? is a sample of comments that come from concerned, yet loving family members who can’t imagine why you’re leaving a job where you were paid well to start your own company and struggle. The support isn’t necessarily there immediately. One entrepreneur was able to say her father eventually saw her perseverance and is now a partner.

Family life is taking a hit as you must skip out early from your son’s soccer game or miss it altogether to make an evening networking meeting.

For family businesses, work is everywhere and often the only thing talked about. It’s in the home office, the kitchen, the TV room, and even the bedroom. Without limit setting, or a work free zone, it’s hard to get away from the work mindset.

Tip: Consistently check-in with your family, acknowledge their sacrifice too. Observe the work free zone areas, schedule time with family and circle it in red. No exceptions.

3—Money is less rather than more in the beginning and sometimes a lot less. Be ready to supplement.

Realizing you are not able to spend money like your peers or family members because you’ve invested everything in your business separates you from the others. You remind yourself that it’s a choice, yet it’s hard.

Tip: Be prepared to supplement your dream business by adding another job. For some, it’s possible to stay employed and gradually build the business. For others, the cliché, necessity is the mother of invention spurs needed action and focus.

4—At times it’s not so rewarding and I must adapt… take things less personally.

I had always been a loving, tender-hearted person, generous and kind commented one entrepreneur. When I learned that I had been stolen from by my own employees, I changed. I had to get a lot tougher. I miss that part of me. After all these years, it’s still feels like a hard reality.

I had to learn that if the client didn’t come back, it was wrong to take it personally and worry that my skill lacked. Instead, I learned that not everyone I work with is a good fit. That’s okay.

Tip: Personal insecurities, limitations, fears, inefficient time management, poor judgement, avoidant-conflict style, lousy excuses will show up. People you hire aren’t like you and certainly don’t have the same loyalty. Face the reality, be open to being wrong and learn new approaches. Get some help with perspective. This is required.

5—How important it is to get out there and meet people…thinking and reading isn’t enough.

I’m glad I spent time building my website, my brand, etc. The thought I put into it and the reading I’ve done has been important. Yet, I was avoiding getting out there and meeting others. I should have been doing that all along and not wait.

Tip: Explore networking. Decide to join a Facebook group. The key is participating regularly.

6—And then there’s marketing, something I needed to learn.

Marketing is an unknown to many new entrepreneurs ready to provide services. The proverbial open for business sign is flashing, yet the clients don’t come. No clients, no money.

Have a marketing system that encourages clients to want to talk with you. That always involves offering value to the prospective client. And what is more valuable than solving a problem and/or addressing a client’s pain?

Tip: Use email, LinkedIn, Facebook or your website and offer a valuable resource. Go to deanjacksonemail.com and discover the simple 9-word formula to use in an email and offer a solution. For example, a health coach could send an email with the subject, Nutritious Holiday Eating. The body: Looking for nutritious holiday tips? It’s yours by replying yes.

7—How to get out there and make a lot of mistakes sooner rather than later.

I worried about being right and knowing enough vs. testing things out and learning from experience.

Tip: Set a timer for 25 minutes and get out there whether it’s making phone calls to set up a coffee meeting, following up on scheduling a talk, writing a blog, commenting in the Facebook groups you have joined or updating your LinkedIn profile. Take a break. Do it again. And what day and time have you scheduled to participate in the networking lunch meeting?

8—Hire a coach.

A mentor or coach could have helped me find resources sooner or spend less time procrastinating by helping me identify action steps and being accountable.

Tip: Find a good coach by looking at International Coaching Federation (ICF) registry of coaches or simply search on the internet. Read their blogs, attend webinars, take advantage of their complimentary sessions or free e-books.

The takeaway is…

Learn from those entrepreneurs who have gone before you and plan accordingly. Perhaps your business efforts will be filled with greater ease. You’re not alone or the first person to struggle, fail and get back into the groove, the better for it.

I’d love to learn, what bit of advice would you offer a new entrepreneur?


Interested in taking more steps towards succeeding as an entrepreneur? Contact me, let’s arrange a complimentary session just for you.