Start a business they said. You will make millions they said. Go to the back of the room, and sign up to this course, and I too will teach you how to make a million in 6 months or less…. they said.
Well, I did not run to the back of the room. But in all honesty, I did not think that running a business would be so stretching either. Most business owners are too busy building shiny, polished brands to tell the truth. As a PR, I can tell you for a fact that journalists are interested in hearing about the challenges you’ve faced, as well as the successes. Does it mean you’ve failed? No. It means you are human.
Facebook adverts show images of shiny people, living shiny lifestyles, and webinars, courses and other materials sometimes make it seem all too easy. We need business owners who are not afraid to show the realities.
People identify with real. This article started as a Facebook post, and I was shocked at the likes and comments. It was like we were secretly all breathing a sigh of relief, and having a group therapy session.
Here are 15 things that “Guru’s won’t tell you about running a business”:
- It’s takes years to get your systems, processes and business running right.
- Very few people talking about the “4-hour week” actually live that reality.
- Cash flow can make or break your business. If you have £15k a month coming in on the 15th of each month, and you have expenses of £14k all coming out on the 10th each month, but you have no reserves, you have an issue.
- You will have days when you want to weep, and hide under the covers all day.
- Passion and creativity are not enough to sustain your business. You need to be good with numbers and know them inside out.
- You might sacrifice parts of your social life to begin with, because not everyone will understand that you need to keep anti-social hours.
- When you are the boss, it can be very isolating.
- You don’t need to act like you have it together all of the time. Trying to maintain your “business front” all of the time could lead to dis-honesty. It’s ok to not know everything. A lot of those “shiny” Facebook ads are not real.
- There are going to be tasks in your business that you don’t like doing, but you will have to do them. Deal with it, and stop moaning. It’s not all sweetness and light.
- It’s ok to let go of clients. Oooh, really? Yep. If a client is being totally unreasonable, refusing to respect your boundaries, calling you at all hours, and basically taking up more of your time than you would like, then it’s ok to let them go. Obviously, do your best to try and resolve the situation, but if you can’t, say “ta ta.” You will feel better mentally and your business will be healthier. If you have 10 hours a week per client, and someone is taking up 20 hours of your time through excessive demands, you are losing money. Let them go.
- Take time for you. It’s ok to switch off. Entrepreneurs are often seen as being on the go all the time. I was one of them. I am learning the art of not taking calls after a certain time, and looking after myself by going for walks, and dare I say, watching movies. You own a business. Your business does not own you. Relax a bit.
- Don’t run to every training seminar. Oooh, I can see the Guru getting mad right now. You don’t need to run to every big training seminar. You only need to attend the seminars that are right for your business. Don’t be gripped by the shiny object.
- Build slowly. I hate to break it to you, but you are not going to make 6 figures in 30 days. In fact, I applaud anyone who has built a 6 figure business, ethically. (Yes, ethically. There is a difference. Drug dealers can make 6 figures too.) Anything built too fast can crash. Build your business at your own pace. Set realistic targets, build and grow.
- Don’t pay too much attention to the competition. It’s good to know who your competitors are but it’s unhealthy to obsess over them. Be more concerned about building the best brand that you can, rather than focusing on what everyone else is doing.
- You don’t need to do everything. Guru’s will convince you that you need to take every course and get every certification. You don’t. Do what you do best in your business. Focus on 1–2 things and outsource the rest. It does not mean that you don’t need to have a handle on things. As the business owner, you should know what is going on in your business. You just don’t need to be the one doing it all.
Haddy Folivi is a PR expert who has been working in the media for 18 years. She has secured features in Forbes (5 times), and in over 46 countries worldwide. She is a strategist and a realist. You can find out more about what she does here: www.claritymediacomms.com