Being your own boss is never easy. There have been many times when I have looked at myself in the mirror and said “what in the world are you doing?”. But after having those mini-breakdowns I can honestly say that I love being my own boss. If for no other reason than I love having the freedom to work how I want and how I know I need to work for my clients and myself. With that being said, it is not for everyone. Some people are so driven and entrepreneurial (I include myself in this category) that being their own boss is no problem what so ever – yes you will have those days where you question everything but that’s a given. However, to those who are their own boss and are floundering and not sure what to do I have a few pieces of advice for you:
Delegate. I once heard that Sara Blakely, the Founder of Spanx, said that when she first started her business one of the first things she did was hire a CEO. She did this because she hated the idea of running the business side of the business, she wanted to be an ideas person. Luckily for her it all worked out. She was driven enough to see that she had a great product but smart enough to realize that she needed help. We should all keep this in mind when venturing out on a new business. If you hate numbers and telling people (like yourself) what to do, hire or partner with someone who does, that way you can do what you love – focus on the product.
Find Your Calling. Some people start a business because they don’t know what else to do after being let go from their 9-5 job; and when that happens they usually start a business that was similar to what they did in their job. For some this is good – for instance I can truly say that I love doing what I do. It was something I did in my 9-5 and I knew I was good at it and I like playing the Government game (most of the time anyway). So when the opportunity presented itself for my to start my own business I knew exactly what I wanted to do. For others, this is not a good idea. If you don’t love what you do you won’t be good at it and really give it your all. However, and I know we have all heard this, if this is your case, reevaluate and take a look at what you love to do. If it’s Stamp Collecting, see how you can turn that into a business. Take a hobbey and see how you can make money from it.
Get Support. Whether it’s your mom or your dog everyone has a support system. If you don’t have one that you can lean on, to listen to your rants about how business is not how you would like it to be, or how expensive marketing can be, get one. A cheap free one is the always classic, Journal/Diary. Writing down your feelings is a great way to vent if you don’t feel comfortable doing it with other people. And it’s a lot cheaper than therapy – which is also a good support system. So find a friend who doesn’t mind listening to you rant at 2am and will drink a glass of wine with you when the day has not gone as well as you would have liked.
I hope these few tips help those who are looking to start their own business or already have their business and are wondering what in the world they are doing.
Samantha Nelson, founder of Sam I Am Consulting, LLC, has several years of experience working in Business Development and Marketing for a small, woman-owned, 8(a) IT Federal Government Contractor in the Washington D.C. metro area. Her company provides new and small businesses with Government and Non-Government Targeted Marketing and Turn-Key Business Development services and she helps her clients expand their government and non-government business. For more information, visit www.samiamconsulting.com.