People have respect for people who start a business. And deservedly so. It marks a person who is not afraid to kiss goodbye a comfortable but often stifling ordinary life and take on the world. It is also the first step for most people who end up making serious money.
And most of the time, people are glad to cheer on the future business owner and tell them why it is a great idea and a brave life path. Unfortunately for a number of new business owners, they are not told some other aspects of running a business. These may be on the cautious side and they might dissuade some prospective business owners, but they still deserve to hear them.
If nothing else, hearing about these less spectacular sides of starting a business can prepare them for the bumps in the road they will inevitably run into.
1. Your Private Life Will Really Suffer
Starting a business is more than having a regular job. It is more than having a regular job that lasts 14 hours every day. Starting your own business is a 24/7 prospect, at least for the first year, year and a half. Every moment that you spend awake will be taking you back to your newly opened business, thinking of ways to handle this or that. Even when you just leave the office and come home, the first thing that will pop in your mind will be your new business venture.
As a result of this, your private life will become all but non-existent. For people who have built a family life for themselves or who value their free time, this can be extremely taxing and it can even lead to depression and anxiety.
It is not something you should ignore, that is for sure.
2. You Will Go Crazy From Paperwork
Sure, everyone knows that starting and running a business entails paperwork. You might even think you are prepared for it. Then, before you even start contemplating where your new business will be located, you get hit with a couple dozen papers on incorporation, legally registering your company and everything else. And this is before you even start thinking about actually making your company a reality.
Soon enough we are talking local laws and regulations, commercial space rental paperwork, learning about surety bonds, employing people, taking care of their benefits, etc.
After a while, you start feeling like you got a job in some Kafkaesque nightmare where you sign papers and fill in little boxes all day. You forget what your new business venture is all about.
And then a new batch of papers rolls in.
3. Everyone Is Against You
Business is a competition. It is just the way things are. You compete with other companies that do the same as you and you can rest assured that they are literally against you. You will be competing for the same customer and you will try to get better people working for you than your competitor. The goal of your marketing will be to overtake your competitor and grow faster than them.
Unfortunately, some competitors are sometimes too big and circumstances can sometimes be out of your control. In such situations, you will get the feeling that the entire world is against you and that even your customers are just waiting for the moment when they will turn on you too, just for the fun of it.
The important thing is to stay cool and to choose your battles wisely. Sometimes it is okay if you are second, or third. Sometimes doing the best you can has to be enough.
4. The Economy Is Fickle
This one is best illustrated by a story.
Let’s imagine that in 2007 you opened a small business somewhere in Florida, doing people’s pools. People are purchasing properties left and right, you cannot answer the phones. You are doing a great job. You are expanding. You are hiring new, great people. Everyone is pulling their weight. You have bested your competition. You make a huge new investment.
And then, out of nowhere, everything stops and disappears.
People start defaulting on their homes and stop installing new pools. Your existing customers are not paying you because they have no money.
It’s a disaster.
Things like this happen. Okay, catastrophic events like the 2008 Financial Crisis happen only once or twice in a century, but all decades are with their highs and lows. Sooner or later, your business will get burned.
Instead of a Closing Word
Do not give up because of these. Be aware of them. See them coming.