This guest post is written by Shivani Currie.

We always hear these glamorous stories of someone who started their own online business. They want out of the 9-5 grind, want flexibility, and are tired of their jerk boss. Then they decide one day to break free. Like a lightbulb goes on, they come up with an innovative idea and gain success overnight. Now they’re enjoying a lifestyle that allows them to check Emails from the beach with a margarita in hand. 

Let’s be real. Starting a business is not a straight shot at overnight success. No one talks about the real-life ups and downs. Keeping your expectations realistic will prepare you for the more trying times. Have a plan and keep your mind open. The more prepared you are, the closer you’ll get to reaching the freedom and the flexibility you desire. 

Being a new business owner is a life-changer, either way you go about it. What is it really like? Let’s get into some of the facts you’ve probably not yet heard of:

1. Your concept should be simple

A lot of business owners have the trait of being extremely ambitious. Having ambition is of course necessary for being an entrepreneur. But being overly ambitious can pose a problem. Instead of focusing on one specific goal, they might have scattered ideas and products in mind. 

Choosing quality over quantity is key here. Pick one product or service that you can specialize in, and work hard to be the best at that. Overcomplicating your business will only allow you to be average at a bunch of things. Instead of an expert in one specific niche. 

2. Always overestimate 

The costs associated with starting your own business can add up quickly. Best to overestimate in your planning, so if you do run into additional costs you’re financially prepared. 

If you’re on a tight budget, this can also help you prioritize where investments are made. There might be some areas that you can save money on as you build your business. For example- with the amount of free graphic design tools available, there’s no sense in outsourcing work or buying expensive software. Some free tools to check out:

Logo Creator– logo design software

Canva– versatile design software

Pixlr– photo editing 

3. It’s an emotional commitment

To start enjoying the perks of being a business owner, you need to be all in. Understand that it will be an emotional commitment. It will challenge you mentally and financially at times, especially in the beginning. It might feel like a hit in the gut if you get a bad review or you don’t reach your sales goals one month. You just have to keep on keeping on. Learn from the mistakes and make necessary changes to do better business. 

4. You can work more efficiently

You work for yourself now. You know what is needed from you when. Some days you might be more focused on customer service. Some days you might be working hard at creating promotional and advertising material. The beauty of being your own boss is that no one else is in control of your schedule. You can organize your days efficiently to hit all of your businesses needs. 

Another money saver could be to use free social media planning tools. This way, you can get all of the organization you need without actually hiring someone. Buffer offers exactly that. Software to create, plan, schedule, and manage all of your social media interactions. 

5. You should be your first customer

Like any good salesman will say, you should have a genuine passion for what you sell. Whatever industry you choose, it should be one you have personal experience and interest in. Customers can sense this. And they’ll feel more comfortable buying from a business, when the business clearly knows their product inside out. 

6. Plans might change

Many entrepreneurs have an idea for their business, but end up adapting it slightly. It’s a trial and error situation that happens in the beginnings. Where is the demand? Another reason you should keep an open mind and see what brings you and your customers the most satisfaction. 

7. Building an audience takes time

Customers don’t just automatically find their way to your product. You’ll need to create a strategy to get them visiting your website. And it doesn’t stop there. Your website should be optimized for persuading visitors to buy. It’s a several step process which will require a lot of planning. Using SEO, social media, and a blog are all ways to drive traffic to your website.

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