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5 things you only learn when you go it alone in business

5 things you only learn when you go it alone in business

Posted 19th November, 2019 by Sarah

6 minute read

Whether you’re planning on launching your own start-up straight from school or college, or you’ve decided to leave your nine to five in order to try and make a livelihood out of your side hustle, setting up a business on your own can be daunting.

At tsoHost, we get a lot of customers coming to us at the start of their business journeys, looking for domains, start-up-suitable hosting, and security, and we know that each and every one of these entrepreneurs would like to have a crystal ball in order to look into the future to reassure themselves that there will be success there.

In the absence of a bona fide fortune teller, however, tsoHost has rounded up the following advice on what to expect when you go it alone so that there will be fewer unknowns associated with the process.

1. Some days you’ll be your own worst critic

There will be many days as a business owner when you feel like you’re in reach of the stars. You’re landing leads, sealing deals, and getting great feedback.

However, there will be other days when self-doubt creeps in. It may not even be linked to any physical event such as a bad pitch, a poor meeting or a potential client changing their mind for no apparent reason. Self-doubt can be caught like a short but exhausting cold.

How to handle it

Psychologists advise using the SCAT method for getting over self-doubt. In a nutshell, this detailed method encourages anyone with uncertainty in their lives to view themselves as not just oneself, but multiple selves.

For example, you might be a CEO, but you could also be a web design specialist and a son/daughter and a partner at home.

The SCAT method recognises that, at times of self-doubt, people focus too intently on the weakest version of themselves rather than all their strengths and successes. Then it offers practical advice on how to alter this negative way of thinking.

2. It can get lonely

When you start a business, especially if you start out as a one-person band and/or you begin by working from home, it can sometimes feel like you’re the only person in the world.

If you’re putting your blood, sweat and tears into your business, you might also find yourself working evenings, weekends, bank holidays and at times of the morning when only the birds are awake.

How to handle it

First things first, don’t try to find company through social media. Research has found that people can feel lonelier and experience drops in self-esteem after using sites such as Facebook.

Secondly, remember the stats. It’s thought that 100 million new businesses start-up every year globally. That’s at least 100 million people going through the same sleepless nights as you.

Thirdly, schedule in time for warm body contact. This has been key to the success of some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.

In his blog Richard Branson once wrote: “I like to wake up early; usually around 5 am. I get out of bed and do some exercise – play a game of tennis, go for a walk or a run, jump on my bike, or if there’s enough wind, go for a kitesurf. Then I eat breakfast and spend time with my family. Exercise and family time put me in a great mind frame before getting down to business.”

3. Clients can and will change their minds

If you set up shop in a creative industry such as graphic design or photography you run the risk of working with a client who tells you they know exactly what they want and then, when you produce it, they change their minds.

How to handle it

Ensure you have a client briefing process that is watertight. Take some time when you are establishing your company to create a comprehensive job briefing form.

Once the client has filled in the briefing form, hold a meeting to discuss it in more detail and iron out any areas where misunderstandings might arise.

Then, once you start out working on the brief, ensure you are in regular touch with the client, updating them on progress, but also ensuring you’re on the same page.

It can also help to have a proviso in your contracts that you will only make a certain amount of revisions to projects before you charge an extra fee.

4. You’ll be tempted to undervalue your work

When you start out in business, you’ll want to fill up your client roster as quickly as possible. In order to do this, many new business owners under-price their work.

How to handle it

Remember that if a product or service is too cheap, people will instinctively think there must be something wrong with it and will often pass it up for the second least expensive option.

This is because many ultra-value products aren’t of the best quality.

So, here’s a little trick. Next time you go to the supermarket, buy two packets of toilet tissue – the economy option and the middle of the road choice. Pop them both in your bathroom side by side. Whenever you pass up the value option in favour of the slightly more expensive one, it should remind you of the semantic meaning of cut-price products.

5. You’ll worry about taking a break

When time equals money, you will feel reluctant to take time out from running your business. However, research suggests that the more hours people put into work in one go, the less productive they become.

Taking a short break or a holiday will reduce your stress levels, give you time to clear your head, and can lead to better performance when you get back to work.

How to handle it

If you employ other people in your business, ensure they are skilled up and well informed enough to be able to take over your tasks when you are away. If you’re a one-person team, then plan your holidays well in advance and organise yourself around the dates, keeping clients fully in the loop.

Remember, if you’re not a surgeon or a fireperson or someone whose job makes a difference between life and death, a one-week holiday is not going to kill anyone.

Categories: Small Businesses

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