By Anna Boroshok
Did you know that 85% of women are not happy at their corporate jobs? Seems like we have a strong call for having more businesses based on what we-women like and enjoy doing. But wait, should we really drop those corporate jobs and shift to our businesses? Before you do it, please read this:
Even though the idea of having your own business is very seductive, please don’t be fooled by glitterous images of social networks promising freedom in three months with a laptop on a beach and a million bucks on your account. Unfortunately, our understanding of how businesses are built is very much distorted by what we see online.
It has been more than two years since I have started the Fearless Female Founders community for women-entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs-to-be. During those two years I have heard and seen a lot of business stories ranging from soft-skills to high tech businesses. All those stories made me take off the pink glasses I was wearing for a while. My main learning was that business-building takes time. For most businesses, it takes from three to seven years to get to break-even not talking about revenue.
There are a lot of women contacting me and saying that they have this great business idea and they are ready to quit their corporate job to pursue their dream. They ask me what I would recommend them as new-preneurs. My message is crystal clear: whatever financial pillow you have created for your “break even” phase, multiply it by 10. It goes the same way for the amount of resources and time you will need before you start generating income. You might want to start developing your business parallelly to your corporate job and slowly build your revenue stream.
When your business will start bringing income, you can gradually cut your corporate job working hours and shift them into your entrepreneurial side. You will be surprised that some companies will be happy to have you for 2-3 days a week instead of the usual 5.
Below I have collected the best insights and tips for beginner entrepreneurs not to get into “the trap of pink glasses”:
- Figure out business registration and taxation
Every country holds its own kinder surprises for business bureaucracy. Don’t learn it the hard way by getting huge fines. I’ve been there, know that. Do find a proper accountant to learn all the nits and grits instead of going around collecting random gossip. Get serious about money management, no one is going to look after your finances like it was at a corporate job.
- Friends and family are not going to be there to like your posts.
That’s right, you have heard me. No matter how well-loved you are, if you are not in the business together, after two weeks of congratulations on your new ambitions and 3 likes for your new adventure post, you will be there on your own with your day-to-day routine. Embrace it, and go to point 3.
- Because your old environment will most predictably not support you, you will need to find a new tribe.
It should be a tribe where people are way more experienced than you are. This is very important for your growth and evolution. We operate on knowledge that is available to us in our current realities, to break the glass ceiling, you need to find people who have knowledge and experience that you don’t even know exists.
- Learn to tap yourself on a shoulder for baby steps you make as your big results will take time to happen.
Since we are kids, we are taught to focus on bad things: like low grades at school. When we build our businesses, we project that old behaviour on our “poor” progress in business building becoming our worst enemies. You will need to learn to be kind to yourself and celebrate every small win. Settle down with slow progress and stop burning yourself out. The slower you go, the further you will get.
“Consistency is harder when no one is clapping for you. You have to clap for yourself during those times. You should always be your biggest fan”.
- Focus on your audience. They are the heros in your business, not you.
One of the biggest mistakes I was making when I was starting to build my business was focusing too much on myself both in my business and emotionally speaking. I see this mistake done by many entrepreneurs. The more we focus on ourselves, the more we suffer. All the content you create should be focused on making your customer feel like a hero, not you. Spend time connecting with your audience one-to one, writing answers to their comments. You will see how it will pay back.
- While building your business, don’t forget about all other areas of your life.
They can be summed up in 8 major areas: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, occupational, financial, environmental, social. If one of those areas will start lagging behind, it will have an inevitable impact on all the other areas of your life dragging you down.
- Take a productivity course
As much as I don’t want to go into a gender bias, we-women tend to overthink and overcomplicate things. Self-doubt is another “Mont Blanc” that prevents us from living at full potential. Learning how to plan, strategize and execute will help you to slice that mountain of doubt and confusion. There are a lot of programs and tools out there, find yours, and sort out your productivity skills.
- Outsource, outsource, outsource
Unlike men, women tend to start their businesses solo. This puts a lot of pressure on our shoulders both financially and physically speaking. The workload burns us out over and over again pushing us back into employment.
- Automate, automate, automate
If you don’t have a team which builds and implements marketing strategies for you, it will be hard to do it all by yourself. One way to solve it is to automate maximum of your processes. In the beginning it will be hard because you will need to generate a lot of content which will be used for automation but it will be easier later. Take time to learn what post click marketing is, identify the right tools for automation, strategise, find a relevant freelancer, execute.
- Focus on massive targeted visibility and clients acquisition. They should be your main priority.
If you have no clients, there will be no money and, therefore, no business. It’s as simple as that. What brings clients? Massive visibility, sales skills, strong branding, marketing. Of course, it is challenging to reach massive visibility when you don’t have enough financial means but you can do it organically by picking up the right spaces and showing up there consistently. Explore remarketing to learn how to reach people who have already been on your digital channels.
Before I let you go, I want to encourage you to always be your biggest fan, particularly in times of lack of support from your friends, family, and audience. Online spaces are overcrowded. It will take time, a lot of time to make your voice heard. Don’t be discouraged by that, keep on going, keep on showing up consistently, and eventually you will win.
“When pursuing your dream, there will come a point where it gets incredibly difficult.That’s not a landmark that says “stop”, that’s a call for persistence”.