Starting A Business? 3 Things To Expect In Your First Year
So you’ve decided to start a business. Congratulations! Say goodbye to financial security, work-life balance, sleep and maybe even your wife or husband. I’m here to give you an introduction, based completely on my experiences, of the shit show your first (and probably second, maybe even third) year in business will be. Buckle up, it’s about to suck.
1) YOU WILL NOT GET PAID
If you are starting a business because you think you’ll get rich quick, I’m here to smack you with some reality. Want to get rich quick? Buy a lottery ticket. Your friends working minimum wage will make more money than you in the early days. You won’t make shit. Now let me make something very clear. I’m not saying the business shouldn’t be turning a profit. Statistically speaking, you probably won’t turn a profit in your first year but, let’s assume you are one of the few businesses that profit. Now if you are stupid, you will pay yourself. Do not pay yourself, my friend. You need to take every cent and reinvest it into the business. Every cent. If you started out on this journey without any savings to keep you afloat then you’re probably going to die. If you want to grow your business into something that can actually pay you a respectable salary in five years, you’ll need to feed it cash. You’ll also need to build up a float so that your business can survive through the inevitable shitty times ahead. You don’t want to be the guy or girl who can’t pay their supplier because your August was dead and you spent your “profits” on Drake tickets. You worked hard though, you deserved a break to go see your favorite Canadian Jewish rapper. No you didn’t. Now your supplier is going to hit you in the mouth and Drake is going to bathe in champagne with beautiful women. Do not pay yourself. Reinvest and grow.
2) YOU WILL WORK MORE
If you started a business to work less, you are dumb. If you started a business to take vacations when you want, you are dumb. If you think you can take a sick day when you don’t have any employees, you are f*#king dumb. You will work more than anyone you know with a “normal” job. You’ll be the head of marketing, accounting, finance, operations, human resources, and probably the janitor. Your “free time” will be consumed by you thinking about your next move or you posting on Medium while you try to build a following. Good luck. No one will listen to a 20 year old who sells “great coffee”. If you’re truly passionate about what you do, you’ll even see the topic creep into all of your conversations. You’ll be on a first date, walking the clearly uninterested person through your content marketing strategy and then telling them about how great this new Ethiopian coffee is. She’s going to be busy the next time you invite her out. You will be alone for a long time because you married a damn business. The business will consume every aspect of your life in some way, shape, or form. It will become hard to turn off and do something else. People will tell you that you need a vacation, but I already told you about spending money on weak shit like vacations. So if you are starting a business be prepared to work more than ever, and get paid nothing. I’m painting a beautiful picture.
3) YOU WILL LEARN
I wish I could give you an accurate number of times I made small adjustments to my plan. Maybe 1000 times in the first year. I rebuilt the damn website four or five times. You will constantly be learning and adjusting on the fly. One week you’ll think you have a great idea and the next week you’ll realize it was a shitty idea or better yet one of your customers will tell you it’s a shitty idea. You need to listen to your customers, the market, and your gut. I think I learned the most from rejection. Being told you suck by 10 potential clients really makes you go back to the drawing board. Yes it hurt; yes I cried. I promise though as long as you listen and adjust, things will get better. Your product will get better, your delivery will get better, and you’ll get better. Starting a business will teach you more about yourself than you could imagine. You’ll realize that you’re shit at collecting money from clients but your damn good at cold calling potential leads. You might even realize that starting a business isn’t for you and your true passion is professional unicycle riding. Who knows. I will leave you with this: starting a business sucks, but if you are truly passionate about what you do, and you can deal with the numerous setbacks that will occur, you will find your own success.