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Owning and running your own business may seem like a dream for onlooker. While it is incredibly rewarding, it can also be extremely difficult. When you are considering starting your own business, it is important not to get caught up in the illusion that everything will be perfect, easy or go to plan. Here are four business “reality checks” you need to have before opening up.

The Lifestyle Changes

If you’re currently working as an employee for someone else, you’re in for a big shop when you become the boss. While being in charge is great, it also comes with added responsibility. When you start your own business you won’t have a superior to go to for advice – you are essentially on your own. You also need to account for and assist with all parts of the business, even if that area isn’t your strong suit, particularly in the early days. If you have a team helping you, you will also have to learn how to act like a boss (preferably one that they love working for).

One of the biggest changes however will be switching out a nine till five working day for a 24/7 working lifestyle. When you run your own business, you can’t just clock out at the end of the day. If you find it hard balancing your current lifestyle with your personal and social life, imagine when you are in the process of starting up your own business. You will need to find a way to manage all your extra duties while still making your own well-being, and your loved ones, a priority (particularly if you have a family to look after). This can all be very tiring – so prepare to feel mentally and physically drained, but very excited and passionate too!

No Reliable Income

You may be used to working pay check to pay check, and enjoy the comfort of knowing how much you will be getting each week. Unfortunately, when you are running your own business, this isn’t possible, at least not for the starting up period. If you’re business is successful, you will earn more, and if it isn’t, you will earn less (or noting at all while you recoup initial costs). This is different to a company that will pay you the same amount, no matter how they are doing. It may also take you a while to start earning a profit, particularly if you spent a lot to begin with.

Success Isn’t Instantaneous

Going hand in hand with the other points - you must not assume that you will be an overnight success story. Having this expectation before starting your business, while it can be uplifting, will likely leave you disappointed. Be realistic and understand that hard work and dedication is the key to success. Despite the path to success being a little longer than you expected, you should be positive about the eventual outcome. Having a unique point of difference should help you to believe in your business, even if it takes some time to sell to consumers.

Failures Are Not Failures

We’re always told that we should view mistakes as lessons, but at the time it can be extremely difficult to learn from them, especially when we are disappointed with ourselves. When starting a business, you will face many obstacles, challenges and “failures”. When this happens you need to remind yourself to bounce back and see that these “failures” are not really failures at all. They are opportunities to learn and grow – and they may even push your business down a path that you wouldn’t have otherwise considered, resulting in more success than you expected.

You will experience these “reality checks” and many more during your time as a start-up entrepreneur. Running a business isn’t easy, but this list wasn’t intended to scare you off. Rather, it’s purpose is to prepare you for the challenges you will face so that you can tackle them head on. Do research relevant to your business type and figure out what kind of issues or problems could appear. Most of all, have a realistic expectation of what life as a business owner will be like. Yes, it’s hard, exhausting and time-consuming, but it is also very rewarding because you are able to work on something you are passionate about, with people you have chosen to work with. Once you have a realistic image in your head about what the “start-up” phase will be like, you can determine if being an entrepreneur is right for you.

Good luck!

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