The Five Myths About Starting Your Own Business
It's no secret that entrepreneurship and starting your own business can get a bit over-glamorized in the media. Take one look at Instagram accounts geared towards female business owners for example, and chances are your feed will be flooded with beautiful desks and endless matcha lattes leaving you to think that entrepreneurship *must* look that pretty every day. And while, yes, owning a business can be an amazing way to do what you love, have a flexible schedule and a lifestyle that allows you to travel and have a beautiful home office, it also presents an entire new set of challenges and responsibilities that don’t necessarily exist when you work for someone else.
On the flip side of looking at entrepreneurship with rose-colored glasses is a struggle that every business owner will face at some point: overwhelm. All too many entrepreneurs experience this a few months into starting their business. Besides figuring out all of the logistics (i.e. taxes, invoicing, etc.) there are many moving pieces and it can be a challenge to find your rhythm and flow. Starting a business definitely involves a lot of trial and error which means: (good news) you don't have to have all the answers. It's ok to mess up. It's how you learn. Here, the 6 myths that it's time to stop believing so you can keep moving forward with your business.
Keep reading to find out the five myths people believe about starting their own business.
1. You have to have a full business plan and stick to it
One common idea that a ton of new business owners believe is that you have to have a full formal business plan to start. And then once you have that plan you can't change it or you have to follow it no matter what. First off, having a plan is a good idea. But make it general. Give yourself some space to figure out your business as you go, what your day-to-day will actually look like, and what ultimately feels good and works for you. Chances are, it will end up being different than you thought. And that's ok. It's all part of the process which is why it's important to be open to pivoting your business plan and goals based on what your customers want and need.
2. You won't make money at first
While it's true that it may take some time to generate real income for your business, don't think that you have to rack up debt or empty your savings account to get started. It's actually better if you don't risk everything because that can create unnecessary pressure on you and your creative process.
There are ways to start your business that don't involve a huge chunk of money, such as starting your business as a side hustle at first before diving in 100%. Once you establish a base of clients and generate some income you'll know when it's time to transition from your 9-5 because you will be at a place where you have more clients coming in than you can manage on the side and will have confidence about being able to generate full-time income. Also, remember that a service-based business may not necessarily require all that much overhead or investment in order to make money! The best thing to do is put numbers down on paper - what do you specifically need to start your business and exactly how much will it cost you? You might be surprised by how reasonable and doable it ends up being. If you go with a lean startup model and get clients before you start doing the work, you won’t need as much to open shop as you think you might!
3. You have to take a huge risk
Some people thrive off of taking risks, while others are terrified at the idea. Either way, starting a business always involves some sort of risk, but it doesn't mean you have to put everything on the line when you're starting out. You have to be able to recognize what you have to gain and weigh it against what you have to lose. While having a sense of stability and security is extremely important, don't think that just because you don't put 100% of your life/time/money/etc. on the line means you're not 100% committed. It's just not true. You can prepare for the transition by having your business support you in several different ways, including saving up a nest egg, getting a part-time job on the side, or freelancing to fill in the gaps.
4. You have to work 24/7
Yes, starting a business is hard work and can feel like a 24/7 hustle. But the truth is, the best part of being an entrepreneur is having control over your schedule. Find out when, how, and where you work best and prioritize your time like your life depends on it. So create a schedule for success and let yourself have some down time. Working around the clock will put you on the fast-track to burnout which is the last thing you need as a new business owner.
5. You need to be an expert
This is when imposter phenomenon can really take over and do some damage. Don't think that just because you're not the "top expert" in your field or know everything about your industry, that you aren't qualified to help people. The truth is, you have something to offer people that they need and will be happy to pay you for. Don't be afraid of not knowing. You can always learn new things or hire people to help you. It's amazing how many services people would gladly outsource because it's out of their skillset, or they don't like doing it, but it's something that comes naturally to you (like organizing, designing, or writing for example).
At the end of the day, being a business owner can look totally different from one person to the next since everyone has their own unique journey. So don't let something you've heard from someone else's experience keep you from moving forward with your business and your goals. Success comes in a lot of different ways, and you get to decide what that means for you.
At Mavenly + Co., we focus on helping women work for themselves. From free resources and podcasts to private coaching and events, our team is here to help you take your career + business to the next level. Whether you are a freelancer, side hustler, or full-time business owner, we want to help you succeed in your work. Want to learn more? Click here!