For some odd reason, some people believe that starting your own business is the path to every lasting happiness and untold riches. I have absolutely no idea why anyone would think that let alone believe it to be true. Starting a new business, and I don’t mean like a huge big business with millions of pounds’ worth of investment, I mean the little businesses. The lifeblood of the economy. The little guys like you and me. Freelancers, side hustlers, one man bands. The ones praying they make enough to pay the mortgage this month let alone next month. Those every day people that decide they want to go it alone in search of a better life away from being someone else’s wage slave. This is what it’s really like to be on the emotional rollercoaster of starting your own business.
I’VE GOT THE BEST BUSINESS IDEA EVER!!!
You’ve had that moment of genius. It’s filled you with the passion and desire to start your own business. Your idea is the best one ever. Nobody has ever had an idea like this before in the history of great ideas. You are going to set the world on fire and be a millionaire by Christmas. Maybe New Year at a push.
THIS IS GOING TO BE GREAT!
You’ve told your nearest and dearest about your idea. Your Mum doesn’t quite get it but she thinks you’ll do great and can’t wait to see you collecting your OBE at the palace for services to business. But you’re filled with positivity about what lies ahead.
THIS IS HARDER THAN I FIRST THOUGHT
You’ve started to do your research and discovered that your great idea has already been done. Done to death! It feels like every man and his dog has had the same idea as you. Then you start to do the whole process of setting yourself up to get working. Who knew it took so much time to set up so many little things? Who knew there were actual legal things you need to do before you go into business? Why does HMRC need to know so much stuff? Man, this is hard work and that’s before you’ve even started to sell anything. But hey, sleeps overrated anyway.
Why is nobody buying my shit? It’s all displayed so nicely on my lovely website I paid over the odds for because I wanted it done quickly to stop others using my ideas and knew there was a huge demand for my stuff. Why has not one single person bought anything from me?
SOMEONE BOUGHT SOMETHING!
I made £1. But that doesn’t matter. Somebody bought something. Someone, some glorious wonderful person bought something from me and paid me one life-changing pound for it. We’re back on track to be millionaires by Christmas! That one person will tell everyone they know and everyone will want to buy my shit. Literally everyone!
NOBODY IS BUYING MY STUFF
I made one sale but since then it’s been crickets and tumbleweed. Nobody responds to my tweets. Nobody likes my Facebook posts with huge incentives to buy from me. My videos aren’t going viral. Why is nobody buying my shit?!?!
THIS SELF-EMPLOYED LIFE IS SHIT!
Start a business they said. It will be great they said. You will be great they said. Everyone will buy from you. We will tell everyone we know. Yet my phone hasn’t rung for 3 days. Well, apart from the ten times I rang it to check it was working. Checked my emails too, about twenty times just to make sure there wasn’t an issue there. Nobody is buying my shit! This life is shit!
We had beans on toast for dinner last night and I’ve not heard from my friends in a while. This working for yourself lark is no fun at all! Why does anyone do it? Why would any normal sane person put themselves through this? If the council tax bill lands soon we are doomed!
OMG, I MADE A SALE!
Someone, actually, two people bought from me today. Two of the most wonderful people in the whole wide world bought from me. We can pay the phone bill! Things are on the up!
Not only did they buy from me but they left me a glowingly cool review! They said nice things about me. That’s it now, the hardship is over. We’re on our way. I love that person so much for giving me a great review. I may offer them my firstborn child.
NOBODY IS BUYING MY SHIT (AGAIN)!
Perhaps that little burst of optimistic euphoria was a bit premature. It’s been a week and nobody has bought anything, again! Send food parcels!
OK, THE SHIP IS STEADY, FOR NOW
After that last little panic, a few more sales came in. A steady stream of sales. Not great money and we’ve had to ask the bank nicely to extend the overdraft but its sales and that’s what matters.
DISASTER! THERE’S A HOLE IN MY BUCKET!
Encountered something I did not expect. It’s going to cost to get it fixed and we can’t progress without it. How much will I get for a kidney on Ebay?
I’LL FIX THE BUCKET MYSELF!
I can’t afford to pay someone to fix the bucket but it’s ok. But, I found a how-to video on YouTube and by following the instructions of a 14-year old I can fix this bucket myself. I even went to bed before 3am last night.
FEELING MORE CONFIDENT
We’ve gotten through the recent problems and unexpected issues but the sales are continuing now so I’m feeling more confident. This will work!
Attended my first business networking event and spoke to loads of people. They were all so positive and asked for my business card. They must be interested in buying from me. This is going to be great! Loads of new business heading my way.
I gave out so many business cards last week at the networking event but none of them has called to buy from me. But I’ve had loads of emails from others trying to sell me what they do and I’ve been added to loads of email lists. I’m sure that’s not what I signed up for. Perhaps I should do the same? And those damn tweets I keep on getting in my DM’s! Why do so many people send you a DM as soon as you follow them asking you to buy from them? Is this the new way of direct selling? I’m sure I read somewhere that auto DM’s are the work of the devil. Man, I’m confused by all this stuff!
I GOT HELP!
So I’ve finally stopped thinking I know all this stuff and don’t need the help of others. I reached out to those that have offered help and read up on some stuff that was confusing me from people that actually know what they are on about. It was all well and good listening to the bloke down the pub that said I should send out a few sales related tweets each day and that would bring loads of business in. The reality is it didn’t but now I see I need to engage with others and not try selling my soul at every opportunity, people seem more ok with buying from me. They seem to know more about me, trust me and even like me!
I PAID MY CREDIT CARD BILL!
This may seem like a minor achievement to some but for the hard-working, cash-strapped self-employed individual that’s had to often take a chance and stick it on the credit card, paying the bill is like winning the lottery. I made that money myself. With my own fair hands and now I’m using it to pay for things. Actual things.
I’M NOT WORKING FOR ANYONE ELSE EVER AGAIN!
After all the trials and tribulations. The being rock bottom and wanting to give up. The taking a sneaky peek at the recruitment adverts when all you could serve up for dinner was beans on toast. To waking up one morning and realising it’s all been worth it. To have money in your bank account that you earned. Every single last penny is down to your hard work. You are nobodies wage slave. No longer will you sit in traffic to go to the office you hate to line the pockets of the boss you hate doing a job you hate. No longer will you do the boring 9-5. Oh no, you’ll be doing to 24/7 of never really switching off. Never being able to put your phone down. Having to say no to the nights out because that damn client paid you late. But you are your own boss and that makes it all worthwhile. Anybody that tells you starting your own business is easy is lying to you. It takes blood, sweat and tears and not always in that order. And even when you get to the point of thinking things are going ok something will come along to make you feel like you’re back to square one. But personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
For those of you that have rocked up here thinking I only write about football related stuff or are waiting for the follow-up to my post about football marketing (click the link if you somehow managed to miss it), part two will be out very soon. And by very soon I mean hopefully by this weekend. Stay tuned as there are updates!