Getting ready to get your new business off the ground is an exciting time. You see the opportunity to make more money, create a long-term direction in your life and get control of your future. In the words of a recent businesses founder, I spoke with:
“It’s my piece of the American dream.”
That excitement is essential in converting your idea into action, but preparing yourself for the challenges of being self-employed will help you stay in the fight when the bumps come. I want to share some of the experiences that are common to every type of business founder.
Working from home can drain you.
Being at home is fun, at first. After one or two months, the fun can start to wear off. If you worked in an office with people you like, it is easy to feel isolated at your home office. A great way to solve this challenge is by going to local business events and meet-ups. It is a double win, giving you a social circle and building your network.
Distractions are everywhere at home. Cleaning the house, helping with the kids, getting sucked into a movie. No matter how focused you are, this will be a struggle.
I like to counteract distractions by using a work timer.
I start a timer and focus for 50 minutes. I take a 15-minute “space out” break where I go for a walk, stretch, grab some water and get refocused. Then I start the process over again. Create your routine and stick with it to help you stay on task.
You may find yourself looking for your “fat pants”.
Putting on weight, feeling stiff and losing strength is familiar to business starters. At home, you battle the urge to snack. Add that to more stress and workload, and you have a formula for putting on weight. Most people will gain weight in the first few years of a new business. Making a successful company requires you to play a long-game. It will take dedication over many months and years, and you have to be healthy and happy to keep going. Put your health first. Take pauses throughout the day. Go for a walk, hit the gym and increase your awareness of what you eat.
You will feel exposed.
Bottom line, you are doing something most people never will. That makes you an outsider, and people you know will be looking at you. The stress can be intense. Once you put yourself out there and tell people about your goal, you may find a new sense of discomfort as your friends, family and professional associates look to see how you do. You will make mistakes, and unless you are unusually fortunate, you will struggle as you get things going. Make sure you mentally prepare yourself for the experience and create activities that will boost your mind and spirit when you feel less optimistic.
You will need to develop better time management.
When no one holds you accountable, you are the only person making sure to get stuff done. It can be scary and easy to get distracted. Even worse, you will always have more things on your list than you can take on. A great tip is to make time blocks where you focus on specific tasks for a set amount of time. When that time block expires, switch to your next job, no matter if it is complete.
Winning at business is about pacing yourself.
As long as you move the needle on your most important tasks every day, you will get where you need to go. To give yourself a boost of accountability, try creating artificial deadlines that encourage you to remain focused. At first, the timeframes may be unrealistic. Do your best to hit your deadlines. Over time you will get better at estimating how much time tasks will take. Your goal should be to create a timetable for an objective and then hold yourself accountable for hitting it.
There are dozens of other challenges you might realise once you dig in. The most important thing is being mindful of how you are feeling. Little things often add up which can make the difference between success and failure. Think through what challenges you may run into and have a plan in place ahead of time.