The Challenges of Owning a Business
Ask any small business owner, and they'll tell you it's no walk in the park running a business! Hard work and perseverance are a must, and you may encounter a lot of obstacles on your way to success. Don't get me wrong, being boss is beyond rewarding! Today however we are going to focus on the obstacles so you are better prepared to handle the growing pains of running a business.
There are a few preliminary things to ponder if you are in the early stages.
Is there even a demand for what I create? Do you research! Are people buying this? It's also important to consider if you even want to make it over and over AND OVER to meet that demand.
Are you prepared for the long hours? Welcome to the world of deadlines friend! If you are adamant on clocking out at 5pm everyday, you're in for a rude awakening.
Nobody is going to want to pay for my stuff! Is this too expensive? Pricing is a tricky thing, and one you need to address early on. You don't want to discount your experience and time by underpricing. Looking at competition is a good starting point, but spend time tracking your own costs and tracking time spent creating. This is a subject we will go into length on in the months to come!
That said, let's dive into a few of the big challenges most of us face-from those who have only just settled on a business name, to those that have had a year or so under their belt.
NO ONLINE PRESENCE
We live in an internet age. So if you don't have a figurative foot in that door, you're already behind the competition. Customers will find you through social media, and then want to see a website to determine your legitimacy as a business. In other words, you should have a website! If you don't want to migrate your shop from Etsy or another online market, consider making a website that is linked through. On this website talk about your story, share a little of your work, sell yourself! (Don't worry next month, we are going to really get into web stuff and the way you present yourself.) You should also be active on social media and maintain a consistent presence. The point of your social media is to drive traffic to your site, which will grow your brand and create sales. And that brings me to one other big point, email! Use your website to collect emails so you can have effective marketing campaigns.
NO MARKETING EXPERIENCE
You probably started your business because you are passionate about creating something and want to put it though. Marketing yourself is tricky and foreign to many of us, for some it's even uncomfortable. There is a lot of information on the internet to navigate this world, which seems a daunting task when you are also trying to handle everything else. Find business blogs that are general and specific to your niche. Subscribe to them so the latest posts go directly to your inbox. This is a great way to pick up tips!
In June, as a community, we are going to spend the month focusing on marketing and writing campaigns.
NOT ACCEPTING HELP FROM OTHERS
Okay maybe step one is admitting needing help. You can't do it all alone. You can try for a while, but there will come a point where you breakdown from the workload. I'm getting to the point that I need to hire on help, but it's very hard to hand over the reigns and let someone else into what you have created.
If you are getting to the point that you need to bring on help, there a few things you should do to make that process something that works. Know what it takes to run your business, and build workflows. Write the tasks down and consider if it's something you can walk someone else through? Are there teachable action steps? Write a job description for the person you are hiring on! You don't want to be paying someone to help you, and then have no idea what to tell them to do. Also realize that not everyone is going to do it the exact same way as you, and perhaps they could teach you something as well.
Another thing you need to be able to do is accept advice from people. You have a built-in support system with this community that you should absolutely be utilizing. Someone else may have gone through the experience and could benefit your lack of experience in that area.
NOT ENOUGH TIME
This is one lesson that is unfortunately learned through trial and error. I could almost guarantee every business owner will experience burnout at some point. After going through this myself, I am now a firm believer in saying NO. Be realistic with yourself and your time. Don't feel pressured to accept work or projects. There will always be more projects and more work, but time is finite. Prioritize the different areas of your business, and make sure you are dedicating proper time to all of those areas. Don't get stuck in the trap of working around the clock to complete an overabundance of orders you took on to realize you neglected marketing and emails and need to sort that out.
You will face many more challenges than this. Keep in mind you are not alone. Someone else has gone through that exact thing. And you do have a community and support system who are happy to help you through things!
Speaking of, we will have a discussion today, February 10th, at 1pm PST in the Facebook group to talk about challenges we have faced or are facing. Hope to see you there! And this coming Monday we will have a post, along with worksheets, to really explore our personal reasons for starting a business.