The first few years are the test…
Statistics generally indicate the first four to five years are the “survival years”. Let’s be honest. Survival must also take into consideration the amount of intelligent effort put in, not to mention incredible lesson learning setbacks. Efforts and failures aside, I can honesty attest to feeling like my business wasn’t making a recurring impact until year #3.
By recurring impact I mean that delicious feeling of being headhunted for your unique skills, referred by a customer who gave you a glowing testimonial, and these things happening more frequently. You’ve stopped freaking out at all the numerous and sometimes cumbersome tasks associated with running your own business, and started to reap those wonderful rewards.
Survival issues can and do arise at any time during a business’ lifecycle, but it’s those first one to two years where everything is new and sometimes it feels like you are the water being sucked down the plug hole. There is simply so much to learn about business ownership. Tasks such as filing the first tax return, engaging employees or contractors, securing premises unless you are a home-based consultant, and much more. When these creases have been ironed or experiences experienced they are far less daunting the next time around, and that’s when you can really focus “on” your business.
Some pointers to watch for when making the switch:
- Absolutely trust your instinct.
- Self-motivation is the only motivation unless you draw on the support of networking groups or like-minded entrepreneurs.
- Know your industry so well and carve it up like a world class skier.
- Outsource what is not your forte. Don’t waste billable time and business growth activity time on mediocre tasks, provided it’s cost-effective to do so.
- Have a financial plan to cover family living expenses. It takes time to develop and concentrate on marketing initiatives that produce business.
- Remember to learn to sell. It’s also easier to entice those who love you to repeatedly work with you than those you’ve never met.