If only our future selves could give our present selves some advice. We’d avoid so many mistakes in life and in our business if this were a possibility. Unfortunately, starting a business is a blind jump, so here are the lessons I wish I knew before I started my first business and the lessons I’ve learned since then.
1. Be Prepared for a Ton of Work
I think some people get the idea that starting a business is a bit like a hobby project. They’ll work on it in their spare time and drop it when things get busy. But a business is like a baby, and we all know you can’t abandon a baby. Be ready for the hard work, sweat, and exhaustion. It will pay off, I promise.
2. You Need Help
Even if you can’t afford to hire even part-time help, you need to plan to get that help as soon as you can. You can only do so much as the business owner, and you won’t be good at everything. Hire freelancers, interns, and other staff to fill in the gaps and you’ll see your business grow faster.
3. Don’t Overlook the Importance of Marketing
Marketing is not an area to skimp on. I’d put it at the top of our list of priority expenses, but marketing does not have to be expensive. Using social media and blogging (free services) can net you a wider audience online.
4. You’ll Make Mistakes; Learn from Them and Move on
I agonized over every mistake I made early on. Now I use them as learning tools, digest what I need to get out of the situation, and move forward as a smarter entrepreneur. Accept that you will make errors. You are, after all, human. It’s what you do with those errors that chart your course as a business owner.
4. Choose a business structure
By default, your business will be a sole proprietorship. And while that’s fine for some small businesses, you should also consider the LLC and Corporation. Both protect your personal assets and keep you separate from the business, as well as offer tax benefits and other financial benefits.
I wish you nothing but success in your entrepreneurial endeavor. And I hope in a few years, you can write a post like this and share your wisdom with others.