10 Tips for Starting Your Own Business
Someone I know is thinking of leaving the corporate world and starting her own consulting business. She asked me to tell her about the journey of starting your own business.
I asked her what exactly she wanted to know. She paused for a moment and asked, “what does starting your own business feel like?”
I was taken aback by this question. I often have a curated answer to questions about my experiences, but this is a question I had never even considered.
What did it feel like to start and grow my business, Trusted Divorce Services?
After some thought, I told her. It feels like a love story.
Can’t Help Falling in Love
I think about my business all the time. I care deeply for it. I replay things that happened between us and to us constantly. I want to know how it’s doing. I mean, how it’s really doing. Most people would associate these feelings with a boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, or spouse.
My love story with my business is not a balanced one, however. My business is demanding. It often takes more than it gives. It isn’t stable. It changes its mood often. Sometimes it’s mad but doesn’t say why. It requires a lot of nurture, attention, and, well, love.
While in my personal, romantic relationship, I expect open communication, reciprocity, and affection. I cannot say the same about my relationship with my business. In other words, I can expect it, but I know I ain’t getting it.
Just like a romance, running my business is exhilarating. It’s full of unknowns but equally beautiful and addictive.
A Divorce Expert’s Perspective
My relationship with my business is fascinating to me because I’m in the business of relationships. More specifically, in the business of helping people end relationships.
I can hear you asking me the same question I ask people who describe a seemingly dysfunctional relationship, why are you still in it?!
Because this relationship is based on a long-term commitment, we’re in this together for the long haul. It may not be perfect, but we are meant for one another. We complete one another, and neither of us can nor want to survive without the other. We both understand that it’s not easy, but it’s doable. We know that the value we are providing families and the world is too important to be shaken by day-to-day “inconveniences.”
For those of you who have a new year’s resolution that involves quitting your job and starting your own business, here’s what I know. (Some points may seem harsh, but welcome to the world of business ownership)
- Being naïve at the start of building your business is good! If you knew all the things you don’t know right now, you might change your mind. I’m not telling you this to scare you. It’s good that you don’t know.
- Jump in and start swimming. There’s no other way to your dream business except through it.
- Don’t wait for things to be perfect. If you do, you will move very slowly. You will risk losing momentum before you even get going.
- No one cares about your business except you. Don’t bother sharing your ideas, plans, and dreams with others, except your business coach.
- Slow and steady is the way to go. Yes, you need to jump in and push forward, but you also need to take things a step at a time when you’re first starting up.
- Patience and optimism are lifesavers, especially in the first three years.
- Apply the concept of what I call “compounding” right off the bat. Figure out what you’re really good at, and do it regularly and consistently. You will find after a while that you have a wealth of that one thing, and that thing may be what catapults your business forward in year four or even beyond. For me, this was blogging.
- Feel the feelings when you’re feeling down or stuck. Literally, sit down and feel the emotions you’re experiencing. Concentrate on being angry, disappointed, sad, frustrated, or whatever other feeling that your business is imposing on you. Feel it in your body, process it through your internal system, journal, and you will find that it will dissipate, and you will be able to get back on track fairly quickly.
- Read a lot of books. I did not have enough money to hire a coach until year four. For the first years, I simply read books on marketing, sales, and mindset. If you’re pressed for time, you can listen to audiobooks while working out, cleaning or commuting.
- Enjoy the successes. They come less often than failure, but they feel so joyous because they came because of your hard work.
Well, my friends, I hope you enjoyed reading about my love story. For anyone who plans to embark on a similar relationship this year, I hope that reading this gives you an authentic and raw introduction to what’s coming. I also hope that if you have been waiting for a “sign” to jump, that you find it in what you’ve just read.
The decision to separate from your partner is not an easy one. The un-coupling of your relationship comes with all sorts of uncomfortable, and bitter feelings. In addition to the emotions, you must deal with the logistics of separation, such as dividing your assets and liabilities, finding a new home, and negotiating a parenting plan if you share children.