The Ups and Downs Of Running Your Own Business

By Shelly Horton (Mentor on MentorSelector)

Working for yourself is one of the best, and hardest, things you’ll ever do.  I started my video production company, ShellShocked Media, one year ago and this is what I’ve learned.  Some of it is not pretty.

  1. You’ll feel invincible

I look back at my journalism career and realise most of my clashes at work came from the fact that I have a real problem with authority and I’d argue with my bosses all the time.  So I figured the best way to solve that problem was to BECOME the boss.  I LOVE it!  Being in charge of your own destiny and charting your own course is thrilling.  Sometimes I feel like wearing a superhero cape to work.

  1. You’ll feel vulnerable

However it’s not all roses!  I like being my own boss but that also means the buck stops with me.  It’s a lot of pressure.  If you don’t win a client it’s really hard to not take that rejection personally because your business is you.  You have to hustle for work and that means putting yourself out there for judgment.  There have been plenty of times I’ve been curled up in a ball, crying on the couch.  If you’re passionate about what you do it is hard to take knock backs.  But I say feeling vulnerable means you care.

  1. You’ll panic about income

After two decades of being an employee it’s been hard for me to let go of that regular guaranteed income.  In fact it’s terrifying.  Most people who run their own business laugh and nod saying that panic doesn’t leave for a few years.  In the past year my income has been up and down like a bride’s nightie.  This is where you need to have a long-term view. Do a business plan and some income projections that will make you feel a bit calmer.

  1. You need a good mentor

You can’t be an expert at everything.  Do a small business course.  Learn some new skills.  Then get a great mentor to help guide you for the first year or so.  In her small business book Counting Potatoes, Trudi Yip says, “If you own a business you’ll know the rollercoaster-ride feeling it gives you – the trilling ups and terrifying downs.  A mentor can help guide you through the various aspects in business because it’s not always all about your numbers.  Mentors understand people get into business because they are passionate and talented and they want to help.  So don’t be afraid to put your hand up for some help in the areas that worry you.  That way all bases are covered.”

  1. You’ll be so proud of yourself

It’s a struggle and it’s hard but it’s YOURS.  Running your own business is incredibly satisfying.  Running my own business is not easy but it feels like a huge achievement.  Plenty of people talk about launching out on their own but not many people actually do it.  I say buy a ticket for the roller-coaster ride!


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