Lets face it, we can no longer scroll through social media without seeing the hashtags: “#bossbabe”, “#ladyboss”, “#entrepreneur”. We are living in a world where self-made businesses are taking over and it seems everyone is jumping aboard this fast-moving train. If you are someone who desires this form of business, or perhaps someone who is unhappy with your current employment, it is easy to feel envious while scrolling through your news feed. Everyone’s life looks so glamorous. Working from home? Snuggling with their dog at 2pm on a Tuesday? Going to the gym in the middle of the day? Sign me up! What most of those pictures do not show is the insane amount of work and effort which goes into running your own business. Can it be glamorous? Yes. But there is more than meets the eye. So, in an effort to help you better understand the reality of running your own business, I am breaking down the 5 most common myths.
Myth #1: Running your own business means you have so much more free time!
HA! Ok, maybe in the beginning you have more free time if you left your 9-5 to start a business, cold turkey. But, if you are doing this whole business thing right, that will not last long. See, I too once thought I would have “so much free time” once I started my therapeutic private practice business. When I first started, I had a minimal number of clients since I was still trying to build my caseload up, so I was planning lunches, catching up on house projects, running errands during the week, and cooking actual meals for my husband. And to be perfectly honest, that small period of time was AMAZING.
However, it did not last long at all. Once my practice started to grow and gain success (which was obviously the goal), I actually ended up having LESS free time than I had when I worked at my 9-5 (side note, my 9-5 was an outpatient mental health clinic where I worked FT + unpaid overtime). Why you ask? Because I am ALWAYS working. At my 9-5, I clocked in and clocked out and when I really needed to, I could say to my boss, “I am not available today, you need to find me coverage”. But now, even when I am not in the physical office, I am still working. I am working from home. I am working from the car. I am working on weekends. I am consistently reading something related to my business, listening to podcasts, networking, being visible in Facebook groups, coming up with social media content, blogging, planning and/or working on upcoming projects, catching up on paperwork and administrative tasks (you know the fun stuff that comes with running your own business where you get to be not only the provider, but the accountant and administrative assistant too).
Now, you are probably thinking to yourself that I am working too much, and on some level that is correct. However, my business is JUST me. If I don’t work, I don’t make money. If I don’t do something, it doesn’t get done. If I go away, I have no “coverage”. If I do not come up with new goals and ideas, my business becomes stagnant. If I do not network and connect with other professionals, I become less visible within the community. Of course there needs to be a work/home-life balance, but that is a completely different post! This post is meant to show readers that while yes, the big goal one day is to work less and have more free time, this will not happen right away. This is something you need to work towards. Your business will not just run itself without you laying the foundation first.
Myth #2: Running your own business is so easy!
This one always makes me laugh. Again, I will be 100% honest and admit I thought it was would be easy(ish), too. Now, I wasn’t completely naive and understood it would have it’s challenges but I never thought it would be as hard as it is. I probably say on a daily basis that running my own business is the hardest thing I have ever done. Ever. And as a mental health professional, I have worked in very challenging settings with difficult situations before, but nothing compares to this. Running your own business is going to challenge you in ways you have never been challenged before. It is going to scare you, surprise you, overwhelm you, and stress you out. You are going to have times where you ask yourself “Is this really worth it?” ,“Did I make a mistake?”, or “what the hell did I get myself into?”. And that is OK. That is totally normal and part of the process. My point here is that it’s important to realize this before you decide to start your own business. Is the difficultly enough to never pursue your dream? Absolutely not. Nothing worth having ever comes easy and I will always encourage people to work towards their goals and dreams, but knowing that it will be just that: WORK.
Myth #3: Anyone can be their own boss!
So remember when I just said I will always encourage people to work towards their goals and dreams? I still stand by that, but I do not believe everyone is meant to be their own boss. Some people are truly just not cut out for entrepreneurship. Plain and simple. Now, this does not mean you should not follow your dreams and goals. This does not mean you will never be successful. This does not mean you are never going to amount to anything. This does not mean anything other than entrepreneurship involves specific personality traits as well as a specific skill set and it is important to recognize whether or not you posses those before you jump into opening your own business. To run your own business, ideally you should be responsible, have good time management skills, be organized, have good people skills, be able to manage crisis situations without falling apart, need to have a good work ethic, have good money management skills, and need to be able to push and motivate yourself when it’s hard to do so. Not everyone possess these qualities and THAT IS OK. You know why? Because not everyone is their own boss.
There are TONS of successful people who do what they love, make a good living, and enjoy their lives who work for other people. There is NOTHING wrong with that. Also, you need time. Not everyone can commit to the time demands which accompany running your own business. I have sacrificed a lot since starting my own business in regards to my time. Do not get caught up in the fantasy world of social media. Not everything is what is seems and people only post what they want you to see. So, it may seem like the “perfect life” to spend time with your pet and take cute selfies with them, but running your business is so much more than cute Instagram posts. Know yourself and if you do not know yourself well enough yet, start working on that FIRST. Also, be realistic about your life demands right now.
PS: I am in no way saying every single entrepreneur has every single one of those skills or traits. I understand that there may even be successful entrepreneurs who do not posses any of those skills or traits at all. I am simply highlighting things most do not think about before jumping into owning their own business. If you lack some of the skills and traits I listed, but have an insanely good work ethic and drive, then more power to you!
Myth #4: Being your own boss is the best!
Can being your own boss be the best? ABSOLUTELY! There is no greater accomplishment than working hard and seeing successful outcomes based on what YOU and you alone set out to accomplish. But, being your own boss can also be incredibly difficult because YOU ARE YOUR OWN BOSS. If you are not your own boss yet, think about your current boss. What is their role in your career? Typically, a boss is someone who runs the business, oversees the daily tasks/activities, ensures the employees are working effectively and appropriately based on their job descriptions, takes care of major issues or concerns when they arise, etc. Being your own boss means you are doing all of that other stuff PLUS being critical of yourself. To be perfectly honest, this is incredibly challenging. I no longer have the ability to go to “my boss” and ask for help or assistance. It’s all on me.
Also, we already have a tendency to be more critical of ourselves than others may be of us. So now imagine HAVING to be critical of yourself for your work, for your livelihood. As your own boss, you have to check-in with yourself. You have to be honest with yourself. You have to make changes to things which aren’t effective. You have to evaluate your performance. This becomes a very fine line between self-monitoring and straight up negative self-talk/destroying yourself-esteem. So while yes, being your own boss absolutely has it’s perks, it can be very difficult when you are always judging yourself and your abilities. Don’t be fooled by the grass is always greener thought process. I have been a meaner boss to myself than my previous bosses ever were to me and that’s the truth. And this is coming from someone who practices self-care and self-love regularly too, guys.
Myth #5: I will make so much money!
This is actually true. You really can make a lot of money being your own boss. The myth is that this will not happen overnight. In the beginning, you’ll actually see your bank accounts going down and credit card bills going up. You know the saying, “you have to spend money to make money” and this is true when you are starting your own business. This can also be very scary, especially when you have bills to pay. Then you get to the point where you are breaking even, which is better but still anxiety provoking. Again, you can absolutely make a lot of money running your own business but that is largely based on how bad you want it and how hard you work. Think of your business as a plant. Once you plant the seed, you do not just immediately see growth. You have to nourish it, tend to it, feed it, water it, get rid of the weeds around it impacting it’s growth, pick off the dead parts. It would be irrational to believe a seed can be planted without any attention and voila! A plant grows!
If you are thinking about starting your own business, you need to really sit down and evaluate your financial situation first and ask yourself if you are in a position to take the risk. If not, come up with a plan to be able to get to that point. Also, really think about why you want to be your own boss. Is it because you are miserable at your 9-5 and are looking for a change? Is it solely because you want to make more money? Do you have a passion which you’ve always wished to pursue? Remember, being unhappy at your 9-5 is not going to change by owning your own business if the reasons you start your business aren’t authentic and genuine. If you are only in it for the money but do not have any passion or drive for the work you are actually doing, you are going to find yourself unhappy again, it’ll just be a matter of time. And all that money you made won’t really matter at that point anyways.
So, do you still want to be your own boss? Remember, my job as a mental health provider is to help people reach their goals in healthy, attainable ways. Too often I find people are seduced by social media and strive for circumstances which are not appropriate for them simply because they are unhappy with who they are deep down and are searching for something to fulfill them. I am a firm believer in community over competition and I whole heartedly believe that there is room for all of us to grow and find success. I just wish that someone had been as candid about running your own business with me prior to my decision to start. Would it have changed the outcome? Absolutely not. Opening my own practice has been the hardest thing I have ever done, but also the best. But knowing the challenges I would have faced ahead of time likely would have made the journey a little less overwhelming as I would have properly managed my expectations.
Also, my other concern around the social media craze is that people are being sucked into these ideas which may not be the best fit for them and then gauge their success on how well they do and should they not do well, they feel badly about themselves. For some, it would be like gauging the success of a fish based on how well they climb a tree. It’s not realistic and you may be missing out on something so much better for you and your life. Bottom line, do some soul-searching before you take this next step and really evaluate whether it makes the most sense for YOU. Therapy and meditation are really great ways to start the soul-searching process and business coaching is another great way to start this journey of entrepreneurship in an appropriate and realistic way!
I would LOVE to know what spoke to you today and encourage you to comment below and share with me!
I am passionate about helping clinicians realize their potential and reach their dreams of owning their very own PRIVATE PRACTICE!! I would LOVE to support YOU on a deeper level in your business. Would 1:1 business support feel like something that would help you get to that next step a little easier? If so, I’d invite you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with what you’d like support around and I can send you some options of how I can support you in getting there.
ALSO!…Click HERE to learn more about my PRIVATE PRACTICE DIGITAL COURSE!! This course is broken into a series of 8 modules which cover ALL of the basics needed for you to begin this journey towards starting your own private practice. These modules include training videos and worksheets to personalize for YOUR practice! PLUS, I added some special bonuses for you!!!
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