It doesn’t matter how motivated and prepared you are: taking the leap into entrepreneurship is always going to be at least slightly terrifying. It’s always a risk, and it can be particularly overwhelming if you are coming off the back of a comfortable, stable career.
However, like many terrifying things, taking that step can be incredibly rewarding (both personally and financially). So, from someone who has done it before, here is some advice to help you make the transition as smoothly as possible.
You Don’t Have to Do Everything
When you start out and have little money, it’s easy to feel like you have to do every single task in the business. While this is possible in theory, it can be both draining and inefficient. So, set aside a small amount of money to outsource necessary but time-consuming tasks. If you hate spreadsheets with a passion but need to organize your data, or you need to transfer physical records to a digital database, hire a data entry specialist and focus on the important tasks.
Freedom Is Fun, But Routine Is Important
The freedom that comes with self-employment is exhilarating at first, but it can also make things more overwhelming. A routine will keep you grounded, but that doesn’t mean you have to schedule every moment of your day. In fact, setting up a good morning routine can boost productivity and set the right tone for the day. Set a consistent wake-up time, move your body, drink some water, eat a good breakfast, and take some time to get in the right headspace.
Your Health Comes First
Research has shown that entrepreneurs are particularly vulnerable to stress, poor mental health, and burnout. However, don’t let this happen to you; instead, commit to making your physical and mental health just as much of a priority as your business. After all, entrepreneurship isn’t sustainable if you don’t take care of yourself.
If You Don’t Have a Safety Net, Build One
The average home-based business costs $2,000 to $5,000 to start — a relatively modest start-up cost compared to a more traditional, brick-and-mortar enterprise. Once you have saved up that money, it’s tempting to jump right into things.
However, safety nets are incredibly important in entrepreneurship. As explained by the Guardian, a big, often unspoken, problem with entrepreneurship is that those with safety nets like large savings, valuable assets, or well-off families are at a natural advantage. This is an unfortunate reality, but the only way to prepare for it is to build your own safety net. You can do this by saving for longer, taking up a part-time job, or seeking external funding.
Put Some Thought Into Your Home Office
You probably have an idea of what the ideal home office looks like, but it helps to look beyond the stereotypes. Sure, there are some basics that make up an office, but even those can be questioned: If you mostly work digitally, you may not need a printer, a shredder, or file cabinet. Things you shouldn’t compromise on include a comfortable chair with good support, an organized desk space, and a reliable internet connection.
You Need Other People
If you are starting a business by yourself, don’t underestimate the importance of regular social interaction. Loneliness is a huge issue in self-employed circles, and you need to take active steps to fight it. Go to networking events, join a co-working space, or simply seek out an online community — just don’t hole yourself up at home for days on end.
You Don’t Have To Have Everything Figured Out
The “Lean Start-Up” methodology is the idea that businesses should start with a minimum viable product (MVP) and iterate. In other words, don’t spend months perfecting your product or service before launching. Make a minimum viable product and get started, using the feedback and knowledge you gain to shape your business.
Finally, the most important piece of advice you can hear as a budding entrepreneur is to not take others’ advice too seriously. Of course, the experiences of other entrepreneurs can guide you in the right direction, and their advice can help you avoid pitfalls. In the end, it’s your business, and you need to follow your gut and do what works best for you.
Written By: Chelsea Lamb