Are you ready to be your own boss?
Working for yourself has both benefits and drawbacks, especially for new entrepreneurs. When I first set out on my entrepreneurial journey, it was easy to think of all the pros…but the cons were far from my mind.
To help you prepare, here are five things I wish I’d known before starting my journey.
You can set your own hours — but you’re still bound by other people’s schedules.
One of the things I love most about entrepreneurship is that I can set my own hours and optimize for my peak productivity times (6am to noon if you’re wondering). But even as a self-employed entrepreneur, my days are still sometimes bound by other people’s schedules — and yours probably will be, too.
If your clients are in traditional office environments, their hours are likely aligned with the usual 9-to-5 schedule. You’ll probably need to adjust some of your hours to overlap with “normal” working times.
Similarly, just because you have flexible hours doesn’t mean your social circle is equally available. Even setting my schedule, I still mostly see friends during traditional “off work” times like weekends.
The feast or famine cycle is real.
Entrepreneurs and business owners will talk about the feast or famine cycle — the feeling that there’s either so much work that we’re drowning, or such a small trickle that we’re worried about our future sustainability.
Let me confirm now — this cycle is no joke.
Especially at the beginning, I had slow months with plenty of time to focus on my own projects, immediately followed by months with so many demands that I was hard-pressed to cover them all.
Over the past years, I’ve learned to balance my calendar, and even say no to projects when my plate is full.
Speaking of which…
You will have to say no to projects.
If you had told me when I was a beginning web designer that one day I would turn down projects, I would’ve told you that that simply wasn’t possible.
As I started out, it seemed as though every project was important and I shouldn’t refuse a single client. But when my schedule filled up, it became important to protect my time and only take on projects that were a good fit.
Today, I’m not afraid to say no and wait for a better fit if a project isn’t right for my services or I sense red flags.
You’re never fully “done for the day.”
Or for the week.
Or for the month.
No joke, one of the biggest things that surprised me about entrepreneurship is that there’s no end to the working hours. There are always more projects to be done, whether that means updating my website SEO and resource library, or researching new marketing and outreach channels.
At the end of a traditional workday, I may still have several hours of work that needs to happen – and until I hire employees, it’s up to me to finish everything.
Building community is harder, yet more important, than ever before.
Several months after founding Studio Anansi, I was surprised to discover that being an entrepreneur can be…well…lonely.
You’re not working in an office with coworkers. There’s no workplace banter or friendships. Client communication only lasts as long as their project’s allotted weeks or months.
As someone who loves spending time with others, it was hard to adjust at first. Since then, I’ve learned to seek out community through coworker spaces and connecting with other business owners in my area.
It can be hard to foster community as a remote entrepreneur — but I’ve found that it’s absolutely worth the effort to seek out and nurture connections.
How about you? Have you been thinking about entrepreneurship and wondering if you’re ready?
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