10 Things No One Tells You About Running a Small Business

by Jemimah Ashleigh November 13, 2015

  1.  No one tells you what to do- but no ones telling you what do.

This is ultimately the goal of running you own business. You get to leave your 9-5 job and that you can turn an income on your passion. You get to be your own boss. However, this is a double edged sword. Because, you are now your own boss.

You  have to set the rules and meet your own deadlines. You need to manage your time efficiently and ensure that you are doing enough and equally as much note if you are doing too much.

So, the big cosmic joke is that while no one is telling you what to do- but no one tells you what to do.

  1. ‘Fail, fail, fail, fail, success.’

I’ve recently had the pleasure of meeting Toni-Maree Hannan from 2BAwesome and she beautifully summed up the trials and tribulations of running your own business in the simple statement ‘Fail, fail, fail, fail, success.’

I had initially thought that everything that I tried with my business would work. Naïve, I realise this. Things will go wrong, you will lose money, you will blow money, you will make mistakes but if you have the ability to stick with it despite the failures- it will lead to success. You will fail, then fail some more, fail some more, and then fail just a little bit more- but you will succeed if you stick with it.

And also, be sure to check out Toni-Maree here- https://www.facebook.com/2BAwesome/

  1. Competitors become friends.

Some of my tightest business contacts and new friends have businesses that sell jewellery. The kindness I have been shown entering the business world has been overwhelming and difficulties unexpected. I assumed that everyone who had similar businesses would be my competition, not my biggest allies.

I soon found that we are not there to make issues for each other. Being in business is hard and we need to support each other the best we can.

Also, I feel I should mention that there are also some competitors who actually will hate you regardless because you are doing something similar.  My advice is that you need to rise above that nonsense and just remember - your businesses are different and the marketplace can support you both.

  1. There is always something to do

So, here is the thing. The work never stops.

The emails, the production, the marketing, the blog posts, the phone calls, the ordering, the questions- it never actually stops. You don’t get the check out. And this is actually pretty hard. (I write this post and look at the clock and it’s 10.42PM on a Friday night.)

One of the hardest things you need to learn is that you need to take breaks. Work smarter with your time, not harder. You will always have something to do and sometimes that thing is to take care of yourself.

  1. You become an expert in thinks you never imaged.

When I started my small jewellery business, I thought I would become an expert in jewellery making, glass and silversmithing.

I did not expect to be an expert in Eway. Or Paypal. Shopify. Reading Media Kits. Facebook social media marketing. Australia Post weights and pricing for domestic and international packages. Xero accounting apps. Marketing. Social media link-ups.

  1. Your friends and family won’t really understand.

When you get have a small business, it can, and for the most part, will consume your entire life.  Your priorities change pretty quickly. It is exciting for you- but the people closest to you, as much as they will try, won’t understand. The blood, sweat and tears that go into your small business don’t mean the same to them- and nor should your business.

Some of these people- will expect that things will not change- that you will be as available as you previously have been and for the most part- you won’t be. And that’s ok.

Be gentle with your friends and family, while they won’t necessary understand- they still care and support you.

  1. You’ll work 80 hour weeks to avoid working 40 hour weeks.

Working from home seemed like the best thing in the world to me. I’d sleep in until my body woke me up, I would eat glorious fruit platter in the morning, do some yoga, take vitamins, work 6 hours and the world would be amazing. I would work 32 glorious hours a week and my business would be successful!

I write this with a smile on my face. How wrong I was.

Remember how I said there would always be things to do? There always is.  And you will chip away and the 1000 long deep to do list and you will love every second of it. My business will be successful but because I would 80 hour weeks.

  1. How do you eat an elephant?

Have you ever heard the old joke ‘How do you eat an elephant?’
Answer: One bite at a time.

Remember that 1000 long deep to do list I mentioned? While it may not be a 1000 items deep, but the list is unbelievably long and, like your business it will be constantly growing and changing.  That to-do list will feel overwhelming and will seem like too much. It may bring you to tears. It may bring you to wine. It will probably bring you to chocolate.

Chip away. Just remember, one bite at a time.

  1. It’s hard. It’s really hard.

Swallowing that elephant is hard. Sometimes you cannot see the succeeds from fail, fail, fail, fail, fail parade that it is in front of you. When the funds are low and the bills are high- it can just seem like too much.

I have shed a few tears and maybe had one or two meltdown quietly in the studio.

It is really difficult but here is the thing- 

     10. It’s so worth it.

It really, really is.

Jemimah Ashleigh
Jemimah Ashleigh


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