After running my own business for many years, I have heard many people say, “oh running your own business is a piece of cake.” Or they say, “working from home is what I dream of doing.” They make it sound easy and sometimes I feel that my accomplishments are a bit undermined.
I have done both the 9-5 with the long 2 hours each way commute and worked in a packed office with hundreds of people, but now I am a freelancer with my own Virtual Assistant business and after working hard I have managed to retain regular clients and I‘ve built up my confidence in winning new clients through believing in putting my clients first and foremost.
To begin with, I thought commuting and having my day structured was hard and yes, I did think that working for myself was the answer to addressing the work-life balance, but when I started up I found out that it was hard work. I had a small amount of money to invest and learnt how to design a website, registered with all the relevant people and then the hard part was finding that initial client.
How I started out
I started out writing CV’s funnily enough for freelancers that wanted to go back to being employed. I remember asking them why they were looking for employed work and the same reasons were the response i.e. they were lonely and missed the company, working for themselves gave them no free time or they wanted a regular monthly income. As these were my first jobs as a freelancer it did make me a little despondent but it also gave me a good idea of what lay ahead of me.
You will find that I am a chatty person who likes to get to know people and I have learnt to try and tackle the loneliness by getting to know my clients on a business and personal level. It is good to get to know someone as a complete person, so learn about their business and take an interest in their personal lives like their families, hobbies and daily problems.
You will always have some people that you get on with better than others, but always be professional and communicate well and then you will go far.
What to expect
When you work for yourself you are reliant on you to make things a success. Only you can get up each day and make your business what it is. You need to constantly market your business via as many means as possible, find potential clients who require the service/product you provide, you also need to keep up to date with technology and stay in the loop within your industry. There is also the admin that you will have to deal with and written content that needs to be created regularly for those marketing campaigns.
Expect to work 7 days a week, especially in the beginning. It may not always be on your clients work but there is the paperwork and marketing that you will need to work on and the proposals to write or quotes to write up.
You may wonder why I have highlighted the difficult aspects of running your own business, well I believe if you are still reading this article and are still up for the challenge of running your own business then you are more likely to succeed and rock it as a freelancer.
I studied business and marketing and understood the theory of running a business, but I wish someone had told me the tougher aspects. I believe I would still be here today running my own business, but the learning curves may not have been quite so tough.
Always remember, even when you are having a tough day that running your own business is a life choice, but if you put in the hard work the dividends will pay out in the end and they will be extra sweet, as you have done it all by yourself.