Owning a small business is a lot of things at the same time. It’s both exciting and scary, challenging and exhausting, freeing and demanding. Read on to learn a few of the things I’ve learned so far on my journey.
Lessons Learned from Owning a Small Business
I know I haven’t owned my business for very long, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned a lot within the first year and a half or so. Here are the three things owning a small business has taught me so far. (I’m sure there will be plenty more lessons in the future.)
1. I’m Not for Everyone, and That’s Ok
This was a hard lesson to learn because I try so hard to produce quality work and provide an excellent experience for all of my clients. But sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. The first couple of times a client ended my services, it was hard to take. Even when I agreed that the chemistry simply wasn’t there, it was hard to let go for two reasons.
First, I don’t like to fail, and losing a client feels like failing. But the truth is you can do everything right, and the business relationship still does not work out. In a service-based industry, good chemistry is essential for a smooth, enjoyable working relationship. At first, I would hold tightly to clients even though I knew it wasn’t working well because of the second reason it’s hard to let clients go: the money.
It’s hard to lose a client when they sign a large package, and losing them means losing a significant chunk of income. In fact, that’s probably one of the scariest parts about owning a small business: the money isn’t guaranteed. Unless your clients sign months-long contracts, they can stop utilizing your services at any time. Because of this, I held on to clients much longer than I should have. Sometimes, the partnership just isn’t right, and that’s ok.
Now, I still don’t like losing clients, but I understand sometimes I need to let them go for the better. And what I’ve realized is that once I do, it opens up room for a client who is the right fit, which is the best kind of client there is.
2. Hard Work Does Pay Off
Owning a small business is no joke. I’ve never worked so hard in my life. Although I promote myself as a content marketer who writes blogs, emails, and website copy for other small businesses, I wear so many more hats than that. I’m not just the founder and CEO. I’m also the writer, the editor, the bookkeeper, the social media manager, the strategist, the recruiter, the office manager, the salesperson, the admin. It’s A LOT. I’ve worked harder and longer than I ever have before in my life, but the hard work does pay off.
Even on days when I’m super exhausted or unmotivated, I remind myself of all of the wonderful things I have because I took the leap and started a company. I get to work from home (or anywhere I want). I am my own boss, so nobody tells me what to do or where to be, what time I’m allowed to eat or how long my breaks can be. I get to set my hours and work with clients I choose.
For example, just yesterday, my Grandma asked if I’d come to Ohio to visit her. And without having to consult anyone or check if I have enough PTO, I booked my ticket that night and will see her in two and half weeks. It’s wonderful, and I’m so grateful. Owning a small business is a lot of hard work, but the hard work pays off immensely.
Owning a small business is wonderful, but not all of the time. And that’s ok.
3. Owning a Small Business is Not Always Glamorous
As you can imagine, all that hard work isn’t always rainbows and butterflies and big paydays and vacations whenever I want. That’s how many people on social media sites like Instagram portray owning your own business. And maybe it’s like that for them, but from personal experience, I would assume it isn’t. Yes, many benefits come with it, but it’s not always glamorous. As crazy as it might sound, there are some days I think going back to my 9-5 office job would be better. (Of course, I know that isn’t true, but on hard, exhausting days, it feels like it.)
Some days, I simply do not want to write, which is literally what my entire business is based on: me writing. It’s a lot of pressure to have the success of something on your shoulders. If I don’t work, the money doesn’t come in. And if I don’t get my clients’ projects completed, I’ll lose their business. And if I fall behind, it’s on me to work on the weekends, so I don’t miss a deadline. If there’s a tricky conversion to have with a client, I’m the one who has to make the call.
Now, I’m not complaining because the good times are worth the hard ones. But if you’re interested in starting a small business, I want you to know it is wonderful, but not all of the time. And that’s ok. It’s good to challenge yourself, and I’m learning that too. I’ve become more comfortable making tough decisions and have more confidence as a business owner in just the short amount of time I’ve been at it. And I have no intentions of stopping anytime soon.
Do You Own a Small Business?
One thing that makes owning a small business even better is connecting with other small business owners who understand what you’re going through. I’ve had the opportunity to chat on Instagram with a few gals in my industry. Still, I’ve dreamed of creating a space and community of business owners for support and encouragement. So, if that’s you (or you’re thinking about starting a business), please reach out to me! I’d love to connect and learn more about you, your small business, and how we can champion each other through it.