Starting A Small Business: What No One Ever Tells You
Starting a small business can be one of the most rewarding undertakings you will ever take…
This is how I see most articles offering advice to anyone thinking of creating their own small business start out. While this is true, setting out on the path to becoming a small business owner is also one of the most masochistic and fatalistic undertakings imaginable. Just in case my simple unwarranted assertions aren’t enough to convince you, here are 5 things no one ever tells you about starting your own small business:
The pay is lousy. Sure there are those one out of a million stories of the guy who started with nothing and within 2 months became an internet bazillionare, but the average person probably has a better chance of winning the lottery than having this be them. As far as the average small business owner, well I hope you like volunteer work buddy because I see a lot of work that you won’t get paid a dime for in your future.
2.) Un-billable Hours
The hours suck. Lots of articles will try to point to one of the benefits of small business ownership as being able to set your own hours. As a small business owner myself, I partially agree with this, I do get to set my own hours. Those hours just happen to be from about the time I wake up in the morning until about the time I go to bed at night, seven days a week.
I do get unlimited bathroom breaks though which is a nice perk I guess…
3.) You are the HR, Complaints, PR, and Production departments all rolled into one… Yay?
You will have more bosses than ever. Another one of the dirty lies some articles may try to tell you is that one of the many joys of small business ownership is that you get to be your own boss. Again this is true in the sense that this is something that I COULD do, but I started my small business to actually make money, and in that sense this is the worst advice ever. There will be several times that you will be forced to bend over backwards for people that will make you grind your teeth throughout the whole process and your reward after it’s all said and done will be to take a loss on the project because of all the free additional work you had to do to appease a customer.
Hooray for being your own boss!
4.) You are your Brand Ambassador and Everybody Everywhere is looking at you!
You will feel like you’re being monitored 24/7. As a small business owner I am a constant brand ambassador for my company and as such any public interaction I have, whatsoever, is not just a reflection of myself but also my brand. When I go out in public, I often feel that I have to be constantly watching over my shoulder and be on my best behavior at all times. Lest I do something to turn off a potential client who would recognize me if they later came into my office. Although the chances are somewhat slim it is entirely possible to pick up a potential client at the grocery store and this means that you get the wonderful benefit of living in a near constant state of paranoia that the simple act of produce shopping will become a product meeting.
5.) Remember when you used to feel good about being a small business owner without reservation? Yeah, those were good days…
Your self-esteem will plummet, it just will. I like to compare starting your own business to being in an abusive relationship. In the beginning your business is like the most amazing person ever, glancing towards the future you see nothing but fairy tales and rainbows and you wonder how such a wonderful person hasn’t been already taken. You might see a few small troubling signs in the beginning, but you often push these aside as if they were nothing. Yet before you know it, you start to become dependent on the feelings you get while being around your business. You also start to realize that your business has this funny tendency of repeatedly putting you down then trying to swoop in and comfort you afterwards. After a while you begin to recognize these abusive tendencies, but by this point it’s too late, you’ve invested too much and now you no longer know what the world is like outside of the relationship you have with your business.
Congratulations and welcome to the world of small business ownership!
I hope this article has been informative and helpful in steering you in the right direction and away from the path of small business ownership. If you have more tips for future misguided souls on how to deter them from falling down the path of small business ownership be sure to leave a comment.
Now if you’ll excuse me…
I’m off to convert all my assets into lottery tickets.