For some people the structure of traditional employment simply does not work. Being subject to the often arbitrary seeming commands and restrictions from management, not having access to the full context of decisions made higher up the chain of command, and not seeing a full reward for their efforts makes some people turn away from a traditional career and look at starting their own business instead.
It’s undoubtedly a path that has plenty of rewards, but it has lots of challenges too. Today we’re looking at some of the ways being a founder and owner can be difficult, to help you make an informed decision about your next step.
An Expert in Everything
Especially in the early days, before you have the chance and resources to hire specialists, it’s your responsibility to be the expert for every challenge your business faces. It falls to you to set up HR systems, procure IT resources, and sell your product to potential clients. You’re where the buck stops for new product development, customer service issues and accounting!
It can be exhausting to have to focus on all of these different areas, and it takes you away from where you can do the most good: as a high level strategiser and decision maker. Finding ways to spread this burden, with new hires, freelance experts and interim managers is the key to keeping stress down when you’re running a business.
Being in charge can be a lonely position: however well you get on with your employees being the boss separates you from them, and can leave you without anyone to confide in about your worries and stresses. Friends and family may wish to help and to understand the pressure you’re under but it can be hard for them to relate.
Paradoxically it could be your rivals that offer the best solution here. While you might be competing for revenue from the same market, you also both know what feels like. If you’re able to keep your relationship as a friendly rivalry rather than cutthroat competition you might find your competitors to be one of the most important resources you have.
One of the things that can drive people away from a traditional career is that they don’t see the full benefits and rewards of the hours they put in for their employer. When you run your own business, every minute of effort goes directly into your business, and it can become hard to stop.
The problem’s even worse if you’re running your business from home. With no separation between where you live and where you work, maintaining a work/life balance is essential to let you recover mentally and physically from the effort you’ve been pouring into your business. Try to draw firm lines – a hard cut off point for work for the day; a ban on eating meals at your desk; and designated times with family and friends that you can’t work during to keep in contact with the world outside your work!