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20 Things People Won’t Tell You about Starting a Business

 

As the entrepreneur of my own stained glass business, I am always studying and researching ways to improve not only my business, but myself as well. I have just read an article, 20 Things People Won’t Tell You About Starting a Business. Here are some of the highlights I gained from this piece that may bring some insight to other new entrepreneurs.
People often say that if you make it five years in business, you’ve beaten the odds. What they don’t often share with you are the things that happen in those first five years that contribute to the high number of people whose businesses don’t make it. I’m here to tell you about the personal hardships you’re likely to face in the early stage of business ownership. [I started my business full-time just over three years ago. I had read elsewhere that if I don’t make it in the first three years, to give it up. I’m glad I’m not giving up as things get better, not easier, as I progress. Yeah! this article gives me two more years!]
It’s lonely. Whether or not you have a partner, it can be lonely starting a business. Your hours will become nontraditional, you may be working out of your home or in a small office, and you will focus your attention on work. [I’ve never worked traditional hours being a grocery checker in a 24-hour grocery chain, nor have I ever been a “traditional” person. So this works great for me, especially at my “later in life” phase with the kids gone and on their own. And there is no place I rather be than in my home studio working on what gives me joy and peace. This is my happy place. This is where I thrive!]
Business partnerships are hard. Just because you are “best friends” or have “opposite skill sets” doesn’t mean you’ll make ideal business partners. At the end of the day, treat a business partnership with the respect you’d give a romantic partnership. [I don’t have a business partner, but I am so grateful to have a husband who takes care of my bookkeeping. He keeps me on a straight path financially, gives me lots of constructive criticism, advice, and business savvy. At first I took it personally and copped a pretty poor attitude. But when I turn it into a positive, everything is perfect! Today I value everything he shares.]
You will be poor for a while. In the long run, this will help you make savvy financial decisions. But while you’re in it, it won’t be easy. Hopefully you’ll remember these tough times and be careful with your earnings. [I don’t remember ever having the luxury of not counting pennies. However, I do not have that weekly paycheck any longer so being financially mindful is vital. I’ve adjusted my lifestyle to live more simply, but enjoy living my passion!]
It’s way less sexy than you think it is. We see a lot of images of cool entrepreneurs who made it big. Most of these business celebrities went through hard times but don’t get the opportunity to talk about them in the media. [Sexy is not my game at age 61. Happiness and purpose is my game!]
You will doubt your abilities. Your business will challenge you. You’ll face forks in the road you could have never predicted. Ultimately, you need to be your biggest cheerleader. You will think you are the only person who has gone through this. Let me be the first to assure you, many have been through this before. Many have failed. Hopefully they got back up and tried again with something new. Many have succeeded, too. None of it matters if you don’t work hard for it, so keep moving forward and find someone who’s more seasoned in business to mentor you. [This one I can really relate to. That self-doubt. It’s ugly. It’s harmful. But I’ve never given up. I’ve had to step back awhile, rethink and recenter. But then move back into my heart and remember my purpose…to share hope that at this moment, everything is perfect. To remind ourselves to get back to what is in front of us right now and be grateful for what we’ve been through and who we have become.]
You will cry. People often compare their business to children. When your baby has a good day or a bad day, you might find yourself crying.  It’s OK. Feel it and move on. You will never know what to expect. Address the issues, make a plan and execute. Don’t be afraid to take that next step. Mistakes are inevitable. If you fear mistakes, you’ll never make progress. Do your best to trust your instincts, ask for guidance from trusted sources when you need it, and keep moving. Don’t make the mistake of inactivity. [Again, the ugly face of self-doubt rears its self-destructive presence. I love in Don Miguel’s book, The Four Agreements, not to take things personally. Some will; some won’t; move on and forward. I also have on my Vision Board a quote from Steve Jobs that keeps me centered, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be fully satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it”.]
Don’t compare yourself. It’s natural to want to benchmark your success against peer businesses. Be wary of doing this. Regardless of how successful they are or are not, be the best you can be and don’t waste energy comparing. [I have learned on my journey through life as a recovering alcoholic and active member in A.A. that I cannot do this alone. I have a fellowship of peers who genuinely want the best for me, and me for them. I treat fellow artists in the same way. We are all trying to live our passions for art and earn a simple living. We support each other and share our experiences, strengths and hopes, just like in A.A. We can’t do this alone…and why would we?]
It may not work at all. There is a strong possibility that your business may fail. This is simply a statistical reality. If you’re not afraid of failing, then keep going. If you are, you may want to reconsider being self-employed. [I have reconsidered being self-employed, but not today. Today I still believe in my dream. It may not be with stained glass. There might be another avenue for me that holds that same passion of giving hope and living a positive and loving life. But I know in my heart that when one door closes, another opens, and that’s pretty darned exciting!]
You have to have a marketing plan in place. Execute it daily to be sure customers are finding you. [I have created a marketing plan and this publication has reminded me that the bedroom wall is not the place to have it displayed. I’m moving it out to my studio space today so that I can be reminded of where I’m going and what got me here.]
You can’t have black without white. Without bad, it’s tough to appreciate good. Take the hard moments and remember them in the good moments. It helps to give you perspective and be grateful for successes, big and small. [Yes! Yes! Yes! This is me! This is my brand! This is my purpose! I still and always will attend regular A.A. meetings to remind myself of where I came from and who I am today. I will share my gratitude, my experience, strength and hope with whoever needs a smile today or words of encouragement.]
If this doesn’t scare you, congratulations: You’re likely meant to be an entrepreneur. Just remember to pay it forward to other entrepreneurs and share your stories with them, too. [Know you are not alone and that you are right where you need to be right now. Don’t give up on your dreams!]
20 Things People Won’t Tell You About Starting a Business Written By Darrah Brustein | Young Entrepreneurs – Mon, Feb 3, 2014