Deciding to start my own business and go out on my own was definitely the best decision I’ve ever made. It has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day, the lows are nowhere near the lows I felt while working a “cubicle” job.
Self-employment is very rewarding and has some incredible perks. For example, I’ve decided that I’m only going to work a few hours on Friday mornings in 2018, to make up for the craziness that the beginning of my week brings.
Which brings me to my point: While this adventure has been wonderful and exciting, I’ve made many mistakes along the way. Starting with time management – or lack thereof.
Somehow, when word got out about my services around my local community, things got crazy. That’s a good thing, and I appreciate every single referral that comes my way. But, as a new business owner, I wasn’t totally sure how to handle it.
I was spending so much time during my day in meetings and on phone calls that I never had a chance to do the work.
That left me feeling obligated to put hours in late at night, on weekends, and compromise some of the freedom that I longed when I was working for someone else.
My fix to this problem is still in the experimental stage. I’ve decided that I will only schedule meetings two days during the week, leaving the other two completely open for getting things done. That brings its share of issues as well, though. For example, today – a Monday – I have 8 meetings planned. EIGHT.
I’m using a weekly planner to help put my tasks and meetings in writing, too. That helps me have a clearer understanding of how many obligations I have.
My other mistakes thus far primarily deal with money…
I didn’t religiously track my business expenses in 2017.
When it came time to do my quarterly tax estimates in Q3, nothing was adding up. I spent hours trying to balance my books, and it just wasn’t working out right.
Let me be clear, though – My business has virtually zero overhead. I pay for a monthly membership to a small business co-working space, and I have some advertising costs associated with my clients. What really got me were the little purchases – the $5 coffees for client meetings and purchases of the like.
Here’s how I’m dealing with it (still): I hired a financial coach in October to not only help me get my books on track, but to help me figure out what my financial goals were and help me reach them. Geily, the owner of Cutting Edge Financial Solutions, is a total rockstar when it comes to this stuff. We have just under three months left working together, and in that time we’ll be setting 2018’s goals and more.
I didn’t pay myself properly.
I paid myself, that much is true. My dad’s first piece of advice when I started my business (as he had owned his own business my whole life), was “always pay yourself first.”
My problem was not that I wasn’t getting paid, but that there was no structure to my getting paid. I would wait for a few checks to come in, deposit them, and pay myself with them. And then a time came where my mail stopped being delivered, and 2 months later, I was still living off my savings.
This is another thing Geily was able to help me with – structuring the amount I’m getting paid and how often, so that my personal paycheck is never dependent on clients paying their bills on time.
When it comes down to it, the financial issues were easy to fix – especially with the help of Cutting Edge. Time management is still a work in progress, but it’s getting better – clearly, because I had a few minutes in my morning to write this blog.
If I could do it all again, these are the three things I would figure out before I started my business.
PS – I’m SUPER excited about the upcoming release of the Being Boss book. I’ve been a listener of this podcast for more than a year now, and it was really influential when starting my business. Feed my dog, and use this affiliate link to pre-order your copy: