There Is Only One Certainty About Starting Your Own Business
There is really only one certainty about starting your own business: You really have no idea what it is going to be like.
The beginning of a business can be an exhilarating time. Those first assignments or initial customers affirm that you werenít imagining things when you decided to become independent. It is reassuring, even thrilling, to discover that what you are doing is real and useful, and that people are willing to pay for it. Thatís what you thought, or at least hoped. Still, itís wonderful to be proven right.
Itís also close to inevitable that you will be proven wrong. Some of your ideas will turn out to be too optimistic, a little naÔve, or completely erroneous. Many entrepreneurs try out a number of different business models before they hit on the one that works for them. Very few people will be able to get everything right from the outset. Finding out what you have to offer and what people will pay for can never be a one-time event. The world is changing and so are you. You need to be alert to clues about what you might do next.
Reality rarely, if ever, follows our plans. And although we might be tempted to see that as realityís problem, itís really ours. Entrepreneurs need to be agile, fast, wily. Indeed, thatís one of the most important advantages we have over large organizations. But because we sometimes isolate ourselves with our own visions, we occasionally donít respond as quickly as we should to what the world is telling us.
Thatís what starting up is all about. You have to pay attention to what youíre doing and learn fast. Some day, you might look back at your mistakes as a beginner and be able to laugh about them. Right now, though, they feel serious, and you feel stupid. You will just have to work your way through them; you havenít any choice.
Starting out is also when you feel the full impact of what you have given up. You know that you will have to do without the security of a weekly salary. Itís a different thing to have bills coming in and know that you will have to scramble to pay them this month and every month from now on.
Something else you may not expect is how much you miss the identity your old job gave you. You may no longer have been satisfied with the role you were playing, but at least you had a role. Many of us, especially those who held prestigious positions, suddenly feel naked when we are out on our own.
Even more devastating is the subtle evidence of a loss of power. People used to go out of their way to say hello to you. Now they donít bother because you donít have the power you used to have. It can take a long time to learn to live without the place in the world that our old employers lent us.
Eventually, though, you will be able to deal with this. The point of the effort is to escape from assigned roles and shape a career that satisfies you. And you have to start somewhere.