Many people dream of owning their own business. Others never give it a thought, or actively fear the whole concept. But thousands of start-up companies appear every year and many become successful. There are good reasons to start your own business. But like all major life-shake-ups it takes a lot of thought, analysis and consideration before you can come to the right decision.
To get you started, here are some essential characteristics that every successful business owner needs:
- Enthusiasm for their idea
- Motivation and drive to achieve their goals
- Ability to ask questions and get help
- Ability to prioritize and manage time
- Ability to learn from mistakes and solve problems
- Understanding that things aren’t handed to you; you have to work for them
- Ability to work consistently over a long time (knowledge that nothing happens overnight)
- Understanding that their time is more valuable than money (willingness to outsource low priority work)
Sound familiar? They should – these are the characteristics of most parents. The right head space is absolutely essential for business success. You might have the best idea in the world but if you can’t control your thinking around time, money, priorities and failures, then your idea will be worthless. Fortunately for you, being a parent has already taught you how to think like a successful business owner.
Nonetheless, starting a business is a huge leap into the unknown. So here are five things to consider:
1. Job Satisfaction
Hate the grinding monotony of that admin job, which is all you can get now you’re a parent? Why go back, day after day, to a boring or unpleasant job? You only have one life. Personally, I’d rather spend mine doing something I enjoy. Sure, even if you manage to start up your dream business there will be boring bits or difficult bits. But if you are waking up each morning with no enthusiasm, energy or positivity, then it might be a sign that you need to make some changes.
2. Attitude – Yours and Others’
Starting a business is hard to understand for some, and you might find yourself defending the whole idea. “Oh, what a fun idea! And when you go back to work, you’ll have so much great experience!” Where to begin with this one? Then there are the doom-and-gloom mongers: “Really? You know, most small businesses fail within the first year.” Yes, people will actually say these things. They may think they are looking out for your best interests but they are not doing you any favours by telling you what you already know. Try to avoid too much interaction with these people and cultivate the ones who give you well-considered opinions and advice instead. They might not be naturally enthusiastic but at least you can learn from them and they won’t tear your down.
Your own attitude is crucial in those early years and months. You will be tired and anxious. You will have negative thoughts. It is important for you to find ways of emphasizing the positives, focusing on your goals and turning negative energy into productivity. Take up meditation or yoga, indulge in a massage, join groups where you can vent all day long, have a worry diary by your bed. Above all, celebrate every single tiny little achievement like you won the lottery and drag your friends and family kicking and screaming with you.
A business is like a baby. For a long time – six months to two years on average – you will eat, sleep and think business in order to get it up and running and profitable. You will struggle to get everything done and still have time for your family and yourself. Things will have to be prioritized. Always be realistic about deadlines and time-frames and outsource when you can. You might want it all to happen NOW, but kids do get sick, you do need sleep, and sometimes your business will have to take a back seat. It might not be the best idea to start up a business whilst pregnant or with an infant. But there’s nothing stopping you from studying up on everything about business and marketing and perfecting a business plan in this time.
Running a business means you never again have to clock on and off to someone else’s timeline. You can work when, where, with whom and how you want. You choose your targets, how you will achieve them, how long and hard you will work and, to a large extent, how much money you will make.
Control of this magnitude might sound scary, especially when we constantly hear messages from society that we can’t do this and shouldn’t do that. You will have to fight the negative thoughts you carry around with you and replace them firmly with positives. Retrain your thinking and reap the rewards.
5. Learning Curve
Building a business is hard work. You will make many mistakes. As you learn more, you may find that your original idea just won’t work and you have to rethink or rebrand. It can be exhausting and disheartening to be a complete novice again but stick with it. Every day you are learning more and every failure is an opportunity. Experts and support groups such as this website will build you back up when you need it so don’t isolate yourself. Learn from those who are doing it too and let them learn from you.
If you want control over your money and time; if you are a positive, determined person; if you have an idea or concept that fills you with enthusiasm; if you are not afraid of hard work and mistakes and if you have enough time to dedicate at least ten hours a week to your, then it might be worth taking the first steps. You lose nothing by investigating further and the more you learn, the more you may come to realize that it is possible after all.
This is the first article in the “Start Up Business Basics” series by Emily M Morgan. Look out for next month’s article “Identify Your Value: Recognise the Knowledge and Skills You Have to Offer”