#1 – It’s OK to experiment – but don’t make excuses

What I mean here is that no good idea comes alive without some iteration.  You’ll find hundreds of quotes online from entrepreneurs about failing first before hitting the jackpot.  This is totally true, allow time to format your ideas, test things out.  But at the same time make sure you learn from them, and make sure you don’t make excuses and try to brush things under the carpet.

#2 – If you have a bit of cash to back your idea, pretend you don’t

I’ve met a few people who were in a start up position, and the attitude is much more relaxed to start with.  They might have a supportive partner who backs their idea, a cash pot from a previous employer, equity from a property but as the money starts to get thin, the attitude changes.  Many businesses fail for this very reason, people panic, lose faith and end up back in a “proper job”.  Even if there is a cash pot at the beginning, act like there isn’t.  If the support is there, pretend that it isn’t.

#3 – Whatever your reasons for leaving the corporate world, they’re probably still there as a business owner

Those things you hate?  They probably exist in a different way.  As an example the number one thing I hated was the need to tell everyone how good you were to get any recognition.  This is still the case as a business owner, even more so during a pandemic.  You need to have a constant stream of social media and engagement.  The benefit as a business owner though, you get to outsource it!

#4 – Don’t be afraid to do your own thing

It was definitely a fear of mine at the outset.  Who was I?  Was I a pretender?  How much of this Impostor Syndrome was reality?  It’s almost like that feeling going from Junior school to Big school.  You knew it all, you know how things work, you are comfortable and then all of a sudden everything is so similar but so different.  Stay confident, listen to the feedback, work on your business plan and don’t be afraid.

#5 – Walk your own walk

This should almost go without saying, but I nearly missed it in my own business!  One of the cornerstones is to create a business plan, check in with it, and reset every quarter.  After 4 months had passed, I hadn’t looked at my own plan!  Never again..  I also check in with my accountability partner every two weeks to make sure I’m still getting on with the things I said I would.  In a similar vein, if you’re starting in social media marketing, make sure your social media is good.  If you valet cars, your car needs to be clean.

#6 – You will still be as busy as before!

If one of the reasons you are or have started a business was to have more time off – you won’t!  You will now always have something that you can be worrying about or could be doing to drive your business forward.  The trick here is to have fully focused ON and OFF switches.  These should be for work and non-work, so if you’re ON for work, be fully focused on it so that when you’re not working, you can be fully focused OFF (but then fully focused ON your down-time, family, box set..).

The major benefit though is that you can chose when you are on or off, you can chose to get the kids from school every day and work later.  You can chose a Friday off but have a Sunday writing day.  Personally I’ve made a conscious effort to spend less time working over the next couple of years so I can spend more time with the kids, before they become teenagers and want their own space!