Recently, I have joined 2,066,523 small business owners (according to the ASBFEO) take the step from the comfort and security of paid employment to start my own business.
A significant percentage of members of Master Your Money Now are small business owners. It is a great privilege to help small business owners take control of their personal finances while they build their business.
Small business owners start their own businesses for many different reasons. Some business owners have a dream or idea which they feel will revolutionise the market.
Some business owners get frustrated with the inefficiencies, politics and red tape of big business and feel they would be more effective running a business themselves.
And some business owners just don’t like taking orders – they just want to give orders!
Everyone starts a small business full of passion, energy and enthusiasm. After all, you are not working if you are following your passion (supposedly).
When things go well in a small business, you are on top of the world. Clients walk through the door happy to pay for your services.
Delivering those services are easy because everything in the back office is running smoothly. Other businesses in your industry take notice as well – how come you are kicking goals when they are not?
But when small business goes bad, it can be a dark and lonely place.
The clients stop calling you (except those @$$holes who want everything for free) and you spend time wondering how you are keep a roof over your head and keep your kids in school.
Everything is a grind, everything is frustrating, everything is an emotional and financial drain.
Your dream is a nightmare. How did you get it so wrong?
Does your family and friends see you as a failure? They backed you emotionally, maybe even financially, in order for you to chase your dreams.
Maybe you told them once you got your dream, you will help them chase theirs. Now that your dream is over, what happens now?
I have worked with small business owners who are at both aspects of the spectrum. I have witnessed small business owners achieve amazing things and I feel privileged and excited to play a small part of the process.
But I have also advised clients where their small business is now a giant burden. They are in a dark place, both financially and emotionally.
For those clients who are in that place, I want to put finance and financial planning aside for a moment and say six simple words to encourage you and give you some perspective.
‘It is always darkest before dawn’
I have spoken to plenty of successful entrepreneurs about their journey to where they are now. It is rarely in a straight line.
Often their greatest breakthrough comes through when things are getting extremely desperate and the “pain threshold” is at its highest. They had to hit rock bottom before they could build wealth both financially and personally.
Some of you may not know this, but I actually got “made redundant” (i.e. I was so bad they paid me to quit) from my first job in financial planning. I was told that I did not have the social skills or ability to be successful in the industry.
In their defence, they were right based on the evidence that was presented to them. Throughout high school and university I could rely on my “book smarts” to get to the top of the class, get good results, look good on paper and in interviews.
It was only in the real world that I discovered that I did not have the “street smarts” one should have expected from someone my age.
I was a massive introvert. I didn’t drink or go to parties. I didn’t like crowds or loud music. I did not have a heart for people. I could not empathize or build relationships with other people.
None of this occurred to me until I was thrown into the real world (you know that world that the schooling system is meant to get you ready for).
At that point in time, I was a failure. I questioned whether financial planning was for me. I wanted to quit.
But it is always darkest before dawn.
I did stay in financial planning. I found another financial planning company that suited my style and built my confidence and skill set.
I made a conscious effort to invest in myself and learn how to connect with others. I read “How To Win Friends And Influence People” at least five times.
I invested in myself and as a result I was able to better connect with others. I even developed a taste for Canadian Clubs and Great Northerns!
I’m sharing this with you to let you know that dawn is coming.
You may have to press on with your small business.
You may get a breakthrough bigger than what you have imagined.
You may have to quit and go back to the nine to five.
I don’t know what your “dawn” will be, but it is coming.
You will get to a point where you look back on your darkness and be grateful for it.
Small business is hard. Only those in small business can understand how hard it is. Those who are in cushy jobs can criticize us all we like, but if small business was easy then they would do it too.
The burden of small business is significant.
I can’t help you decide whether you should keep going in your small business or let it go. I can only help with running “Business You”.
About the Author
Chris Carlin is the director and financial planner of Master Your Money Now. Chris is passionate about helping others achieve their financial goals and live out their dream lifestyle. Chris has been delivering advice for over seven years to Australians seeking to increase their income, understand super, protect their loved ones and plan for retirement. Chris is a regular commentator on blogs, LinkedIn and Instagram on finance-related topics.