I wish I had known these four things before starting my own business.

To put it mildly, starting a business is labor intensive. I’m here to share with you the four lessons that I wish someone had taught me before I went it alone.

Regardless of your talent or motivation, launching a business is difficult, demanding work. I ended my twenty-one-year job in finance in 2021 and went on to work as a leadership consultant, success coach, and author. Despite knowing that 90% of new businesses fail, I still believed that launching my own would be quite simple. I’ve learned the following four things since.

  1. You underestimate how difficult self-discipline is.

Being a business owner puts you in charge. There aren’t any deadlines or assignments to complete. Nobody composes your performance evaluation. I had to discover this unexpected lesson the hard way, but, since for some people, this can be really challenging.

I’ve always had a very regimented and ordered life. Everything I accomplished in the latter ten years of my work life was planned out and scheduled in advance. When I went it alone, things were not the same. There were significant gaps in my calendar because conference calls and meetings weren’t scheduled on a regular basis. It was difficult at first to get into a routine. I started to realize that I wasn’t making the most of my time. I was taking a nap. When I promised to check my email for ten minutes, it usually ended up taking an hour. It dawned on me that I was giving myself permission to get sidetracked during the day because there weren’t as many hard pauses as there had been in the past.

I start making a timetable for myself. Making time for writing was the only way I was able to finish two books in my first two years of writing. I list my weekly goals and the top priorities for each week at the beginning of the week. I make a list of the steps I need to do to accomplish those objectives. I mark them down on my calendar. I then adhere to it. It requires willpower, but you will be losing time if you don’t do this.

I establish objectives and KPIs for myself because I believe that what gets measured gets done. Since it’s simple to become demotivated when there’s no scoreboard to compare yourself to, I made my own.

I would establish weekly targets for the number of hours, pages, or words I would write. I made objectives for the number of people I would reply to and the number of potential calls I would make. After my books were published, I kept tabs on sales, earnings, and income. I have some KPIs for my engagement rates on social media sites. Choosing the metrics you will monitor is essential to success.

  1. Pick the right clients and partners

You won’t be a good fit for everyone’s needs, and not everyone will be a good fit for your services and goods. In my first year, I made the error of accepting clients or partners who were willing to work with me.

Since then, I’ve broken up with my business coach, two suppliers, and two customers. You shouldn’t schedule time with people who deplete your energy or take up your time with pointless activities.

My “fired” clients, on the other hand, rejected everything I said and showed little interest in following my counsel. After a while, I realized that neither of us was really benefiting from the partnership. Having a spot reserved on my calendar for people who share my goals and way of thinking feels fantastic. I was scared at first to part with the money because I was just beginning off. I was ready to accept money from anyone who was willing to pay me. That is no longer the case. Only outstanding clientele are employed by exceptional firms.

I now conduct my research before choosing a vendor. I recruited the first publishing team, coach, and web designer I could find early on. Those were not all wise choices. Since then, I’ve made the decision to widen my search for the ideal provider. I complete my homework and seek recommendations. Other than that, I prefer to see samples of previous work. I can tell I’m not working with the correct partner when vendors are unable to do that or get irritated that I’m even asking.

  1. You may feel lonely at times, so try to find opportunities to connect with people.

I’ve always worked in teams before going solo. At work, I dealt with a few hundred people for the majority of my tenure.

When I started working as a private coach and consultant, everything changed; all of a sudden, it was just me. Being an employee means that you are frequently in constant communication with other people. There were a few hours every day when I wasn’t when I became independent. I immediately experienced a tinge of loneliness. I didn’t have an inexhaustible supply of people to bounce ideas off of.

I now make it a point to organize lunches a few times a week with clients, potential clients, or coworkers. In addition, I get a lot of satisfaction from routinely interacting with like-minded people on a few social media sites and sending my network links to what I refer to as “Transformation Tuesday” films.

I get to talk with others about things that are important to me when I share leadership and attitude videos and articles. That gives me the strength to get over my loneliness. Find frequent opportunities to connect with people if you work alone most of the time at your job and you’re feeling a little lonely.

  1. Building a network of your peers is imperative

I was apprehensive to meet other trainers and authors at first. I considered them to be competitors to some extent. Since then, I’ve completely changed my mind. I met another coach last year who does precisely the same thing that I do. We had both just released our first books when we initially met.

We’ve since collaborated on each other’s second book forewords! Supporting one other in that way has been an honor and a delight. I would like to collaborate with a publisher on my third book. I just attended an event hosted by an organization of authors, agents, and publishers that I joined. The value and companionship I discovered there astounded me. I’ve met other writers who are dealing with the same issues I am, but they’re conquering them. I also met a ton of publishers and agents that could be of assistance to me. Numbers do have power. Together, we are more powerful. Developing a network of people who are proficient in the same field as you will only benefit you.

While I’m happy that I now know these four things, I still wish I had known them when I initially started my business. I promise that putting them into practice will only make you and your company stronger.


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