What It's Really Like To Be A Business Owner

If you are thinking of starting a business and you’re not too sure what you’re getting yourself into then this article is for you. At the beginning, there’s a real mix of emotions, you’re feeling a little bit excited, you’re feeling a little bit scared. All of this being very normal. In this article I will share my experiences, my thoughts and give you a heads up as to what is actually like to be a business owner.

One of the most important things to remember is that the second you start your business you are on a new journey. Literally every day will be different. This can be a fabulous thing and also an overwhelming thing. I can guarantee you that there is no such thing as boring when you own your own business. This is because you no longer have a “normal” anything. You get to decide what it is that you do and when you do it.

Business Owner

If you are thinking of starting a business and you’re not too sure what you’re getting yourself into then this article is for you. At the beginning, there’s a real mix of emotions, you’re feeling a little bit excited, you’re feeling a little bit scared. All of this being very normal. In this article I will share my experiences, my thoughts and give you a heads up as to what is actually like to be a business owner.

One of the most important things to remember is that the second you start your business you are on a new journey. Literally every day will be different. This can be a fabulous thing and also an overwhelming thing. I can guarantee you that there is no such thing as boring when you own your own business. This is because you no longer have a “normal” anything. You get to decide what it is that you do and when you do it.

There’s a great sense of independence in this. That independence is something that you actually want. Personally, I hate being told what to do. So, for me, being independent and being able to make my own choices is very important to me. I thrive on it. That’s one of the freedoms you get when you start your own business.

Business Owner Freedom

You will take a little time to adjust to these new freedoms. That is also normal. One of the best places to start with this is to properly organise your day, your week, your month, your year. Frankly, your whole life now needs a little reorganisation. Doing this feels great. You could of course decide to sit on the couch and watch daytime TV. But what you will find is that you will not want to do this. 

In 15 years I have never done this. I have never done it because I have a purpose to what it is that I’m doing. I’m passionate about my business. I am doing what I love to do and that is much more interesting than sitting on the couch. You will have the motivation to get out there and complete all the items on your list. So organise yourself, give yourself deadlines, meet them.

Next you want to make sure that when you are at work, you are at work and when you are not at work that you leave work alone. Overworking is very common. It’s very important that you have that break. When you are rested, fresh and alert, you’re far more productive at work. Luckily, another bonus is that work will not feel like work. You’re just doing things in your day because it’s fun and because you’re following your passions.

Speaking of passions, it should go without saying that when you start your own business, you are going to do something you are passionate about. That being the case, you are excited and happy and you can’t wait to get up in the morning. There’s no such thing as the “Monday Morning Blues”. And because you are working towards a goal and towards a purpose, you also find that you are more resilient to any of the challenges that you face.

Another big factor of being a business owner is that you don’t have a boss anymore. Now this is an area where people can struggle. Suddenly they are responsible for absolutely everything. They have to make all the decisions. And whatever actions they take on the back of those decisions, they have to take responsibility for those. There is no longer a safety net of colleagues and you can no longer point the finger elsewhere. (Not that you would, right?!) This Lone Ranger scenario is something you will also adjust to. This is not something to worry about. I can tell you that when you are in the driver’s seat, you’re going to make much better decisions. You’re going to take responsibility and you’re actually going to find this quite easy to do. You know in your gut what the right decision is. Follow that instinct, that feeling, and you will be on the right track.

Be your own Boss

Another big factor of being a business owner is that you don’t have a boss anymore. Now this is an area where people can struggle. Suddenly they are responsible for absolutely everything. They have to make all the decisions. And whatever actions they take on the back of those decisions, they have to take responsibility for those. There is no longer a safety net of colleagues and you can no longer point the finger elsewhere. (Not that you would, right?!) This Lone Ranger scenario is something you will also adjust to. This is not something to worry about. I can tell you that when you are in the driver’s seat, you’re going to make much better decisions. You’re going to take responsibility and you’re actually going to find this quite easy to do. You know in your gut what the right decision is. Follow that instinct, that feeling, and you will be on the right track.

Another aspect of not having a boss; who has a boss; who has a boss; is that you can move things along much faster. You will start to move faster. You don’t have to wait for an executive board’s decision. You don’t have to wait for the marketing or accounts or project team to come back to you. You are in control of that. Very quickly you will adjust to not having a boss slowing you down. And very quickly, you will realise that you have been the boss in your life all along. You’ve always been responsible for yourself. Once you get through those first few weeks of doing everything yourself, you will get into a flow, you will organise your day around your life. You can even decide to live in a different country if you want. You have control over that, and you will absolutely love it.

Another fact about being a business owner is that you have a new sense of achievement. This gives you a drive, and it gives you energy. And that’s very important. You’ll find that your life flows a little bit easier, simply because you are happier.

Another thing this new lifestyle will do for you is, it’s really going to help you to focus. As a business owner, you must focus on the tasks at hand. At the start, you’re probably going to be doing most of the work on your own. And so you’ll need to be very productive with your time. This means that you will get very good at getting rid of the time wasting tasks and the time wasting people. You’ll find yourself just less tolerant to anything that steals your time. You’ll just get on with what is necessary. That is because of your motivation to achieve what you want to achieve. Your focus is driving you towards those goals at all time. And that means you’re going to want to cut out anything that sends you off on a tangent.

Business Owner Achievement

Another fact about being a business owner is that you have a new sense of achievement. This gives you a drive, and it gives you energy. And that’s very important. You’ll find that your life flows a little bit easier, simply because you are happier.

Another thing this new lifestyle will do for you is, it’s really going to help you to focus. As a business owner, you must focus on the tasks at hand. At the start, you’re probably going to be doing most of the work on your own. And so you’ll need to be very productive with your time. This means that you will get very good at getting rid of the time wasting tasks and the time wasting people. You’ll find yourself just less tolerant to anything that steals your time. You’ll just get on with what is necessary. That is because of your motivation to achieve what you want to achieve. Your focus is driving you towards those goals at all time. And that means you’re going to want to cut out anything that sends you off on a tangent.

Now, while you’re getting very good at this, you’ll start to shed the time stealing tasks and you’ll start to choose team members. This then becomes a fun environment because you get to pick the people who will make your life easier. People who can bring another dimension. You have complete freedom on this. You choose the people, you create the culture, you get to create the work environment. And it’s just going to be enjoyable.

Quick tip: Hire for attitude and train for skills. Make sure that the people who you bring into your business are going in the same direction as you. And if you do that, then they are going to be a great addition to your team.

Business Owner Isolation

For those of you who are working on your own, it can feel very lonely. You can feel like you’ve no one to talk to. Now, at any one time in the UK, there are at least 600,000 people starting and growing their own business. There is no shortage of people to talk to. And you must make it your business to create a circle of other entrepreneurs and other business owners that you can talk to. 

Do not allow yourself to feel alone. 

There’s no excuse or need for it. Even if you’re just stuck in your home and you don’t have any staff or anybody around, join some organisations where you can actually find other people to talk to. That is going to make your life a lot better.

Another big part of your life as a business owner will be that you are now very much in an environment of solving challenges and solving problems. Unfortunately, not everything will flow seamlessly. You will come up against challenges and you will come up against things that make you scratch your head and go, how am I going to deal with that? But here’s the thing, you will solve those challenges because you are doing something that you’re passionate about. It gives you the motivation to go out there and find the solution. I can absolutely 100% guarantee you that there is always a solution to the problem. No matter what you are facing, you will figure it out. You will have that motivation and drive, so stick with it. As you complete one stage in your business’s growth and you’ve solved all those problems, then you’ll come to another stage and there’s a new set of challenges to overcome. But that’s okay. You will do it. You are very, very capable of this. This is just a normal part of business. By the way, there’s a great sense of satisfaction when you have actually solved that problem. You’ll enjoy that too.

progress in business

Further to this, as you develop your business you are going to develop a lot of skills. You are going to learn a lot about yourself and you’re going to dramatically increase your ability to do things that you found challenging at the time. 

Looking back after six months as a business owner you’re going to go “Oh my God, why was I even worried about that?” This is also typical. You will always be tested but as you build your arsenal of tools around you, your life becomes easier and easier.

Side note: One of the biggest areas where you need to learn skills is how to driving leads and potential clients to your business. In fact, this will be one of your greatest challenges, particularly at the beginning. Now, that’s okay, because there is plenty of help out there to build those skills. And I highly recommend that you spend time learning those skills. Once you get to terms with driving sales to your business, then your journey becomes infinitely easier. And also, it eases that whole pressure over money. You want to bring consistency into your business. And at the beginning, there is likely to be a lack of consistency because you’re not too sure where the sales are going to come from. But, if you learn how to create sales, and you learn how to drive leads, then that side of it is taken care of. Once you have this, it becomes much simpler for you to move your business forward. So again, it’s just part of problem solving. It’s a normal part, everybody goes through it. But once you learn that you are on Easy Street, and off you go.

Just to say in regards to this, there is a start-up formula. There is an actual method to starting a successful business. It is a simple step by step process. Once you have your basics in place, Test it, make your changes and implement. Test again, make your changes and then implement. Keep it simple and your day will start to flow. Do it this way and you’ll find that you’re able to accomplish more than you ever thought possible. You are much stronger and you’re much more capabilities than you currently think.

The last thing I want to comment on with what it is like to be a business owner is, you get to decide the standard you provide. So you might, for instance, have come from a business where they weren’t doing it as well as you felt it could be done. And one of the reasons you’re starting up is because you feel that you can do it better. Or maybe you were doing something that was very, very complicated, and you can simplify it.

As a business owner, you get to decide that standard. What you will find is that this is a self-correcting problem. You will build your business and you’ll build your product or service to a level where it sells. It is a mistake to chase perfection. A lot of people try to reach perfection, particularly at the start. I would say don’t do that. All you need to do is to put, what we would call, the minimum viable product out there. Something that will sell but it’s not overly complicated. Then, you can add to it as you go along. So, you get to choose what that MVP is. And, like I said, you will find this as a self-correcting problem. If something is not selling, you’re going to change it around anyway. But it’s a great place to be because it builds on what I was saying earlier about problem solving. It builds on your urge to create new things. So, when you are looking at your product or service, you are always going to be looking at ways to improve it. You’re always going to be looking at new markets. You’re going to find that you want to expand, to grow, and make your business bigger. This is very common. And it will drive a lot of motivation and energy for you.

Most people start a business because they want to build something and as they build it, they notice new opportunities, which brings them to the next level. You’ll find that you become very passionate about the development side of things. How you can improve things, get into new markets, create new products. And you do it because you can, and more importantly because it’s fun. It’s not just about the cash you can create. Development will fuel your passions. You’re going to continue to delight the people that buy from you; and you didn’t have to wait for a board to make those decisions.

Most people start a business because they want to build something and as they build it, they notice new opportunities, which brings them to the next level. You’ll find that you become very passionate about the development side of things. How you can improve things, get into new markets, create new products. And you do it because you can, and more importantly because it’s fun. 

It’s not just about the cash you can create. Development will fuel your passions. You’re going to continue to delight the people that buy from you; and you didn’t have to wait for a board to make those decisions.

Business Owner Opportunity

One last thought before I go. Of course, the current business environment in the entire world has changed dramatically recently. Change in itself is a very constant thing, though Covid-19 has upended things on a far large scale. The thing is however, it has created a new market. There are new opportunities and there are new businesses emerging. As a smaller business, you are more nimble. This means that you can respond quicker to those changes, which gives you a competitive edge. As the decision maker, you’re able to implement new things and move things faster than a larger organisation could. Naturally this leads us back to your new found problem solving skills. Those skills and your ability to adapt and change will lead you to growth and expansion that would not have been possible in another environment. So embrace it, enjoy it, relish the adventure, have fun and remember that becoming a business owner will be one of the greatest decisions of your life.

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About The Author

how to start a business - ray lavery

Ray Lavery

Having started her first business at 16 and now with over 25 years experience in senior leadership and director positions. Ray has also started and grown several businesses to multiple 6 and 7 figure heights. Through multiple government back business support programmes and through her own consultancy work Ray has helped over fifteen thousand businesses scale to the heights they wanted.