Anyone who’s starting their own business understands and can appreciate how difficult things can get — financially, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Let’s face it, start up life is a pain in the ass. I’m not going to sugarcoat how difficult it is to run a start up, especially unfunded.
If you are thinking about starting your own business, or started one, or have been in it for a while, this article is for you.
Call it whatever you want, but I’m going to be blunt and hold nothing back in this article — so startups can be aware and mindful of the challenges that lie ahead.
It’s a battle of all your senses and consumes your entire being without regard.
There’s no hiding how stressful or excited things can get when you are starting out on your own.
That’s because you will experience a barrage of emotions on a daily basis from talking with people; whether it’s from a client, partner, family, or friends.
No matter what anyone tells you — reality is nobody will invest and believe in your business as much as you ever will.
You might find the 7s and 8s and maybe 9s, if you’re stars align. But you’ll never find the 10s that you envision.
Why? Because it’s all you got. This is all I got.
This ad agency is my baby, as your startup is to you.
So when you feel threatened, your reaction kicks into high gear and you go from calm to frantic back to calm and straight to panic — before you know what’s going on, you start to doubt yourself.
The reason I keep talking about the reality of starting a business is — well, because I’m living through the first year of my agency.
But also, I know there are so many people in the community who are trying to make their side hustle into their main hustle — and this shit is tough!
Let’s not put lipstick on a pig here.
I’m not going to sit here and pretend I know everything about how you can rock your hustle, my journey has it’s own bumps, as does yours.
But I have a good idea of how quick and real things can get when your livelihood is on the line. These are realities of running a business that few like to talk about…but I will.
There are a few realities that happen beyond the status quo – but no one likes to talk about them because it’s professional taboo that can be detrimental.
So essentially, being transparent can backfire on your business. There lies the double standard and hypocrisy I loath.
It’s a “No-No” in the business world to talk about certain things — even though they exist, are obvious, toxic, and damaging.
I talk to so many startup owners and these are the common things they complain about – but my hunch is there are many people going through the same stuff. But I’m more than happy to be wrong!!!
Let’s dive in, and let me know if any of these sound familiar:
1. Grudge exists and follows you around
Remember that person you used to work and never got along with? Yea, the world is small.
They may end up getting a job at your client’s company and take that chance to feed their ego and cancel your contract.
These people know who they are. And they cover it with statements like “There’s nothing against you, it’s just business,” — I’m sure you’ve heard this before.
2. You will lose clients
100% guaranteed. Mentally prepare yourself for this.
This will almost happen when you are least prepared.
From my experience, usually you lose clients because of forces out of your control.
Yes, if you screw up, admit to it. But if you’re losing clients because you’re being held to an unreasonable standard, there’s nothing you can do about that.
3. Results are sometimes not enough, it’s politics
Business is not a fairy tale where everyone lives happily ever after.
You could deliver consistent results for your clients but for some internal political reason, your contract is terminated.
I know this happens because I was on the other side before — and it’s brutal.
The worse part, as a consultant, contractor or vendor, you have no stake at the table.
Your fate is dependent entirely on the incompetence and wrath of unqualified individuals who are put in position of power.
4. You will bear the brunt of your partners mistakes
Whoever hired you have one thing in mind – their job security.
They hired you in the first place because your help was needed.
They will also be the first to cancel your contract — also for their job security.
If you were hired by someone who’s “hey, look at how smart I am” kind of person, buckle your seat belt. You’re in for one hell of a ride.
5. Canceled scheduled client meetings is cowardly
Once is fine. Twice is a coincidence.
Three times, you’re out. Once again, this is an avoidance tactic that I have used when I worked at a previous company.
I was a coward. I didn’t really need to cancel the call, I just didn’t want to talk to the vendor.
So instead of being professional and act with integrity, I showed apathy.
We think that by deflecting the call we are solving a problem — as a matter of fact, this act builds resentment and you just look dumb — because it’s obvious.
6. There is no gratitude
I have my fair share (by that I mean 99%) of clients who I’m eternally grateful for, and a handful I wouldn’t wish on my worse enemy.
This is not the 1% you want to be in.
Fact is, when these clients need help, the call in “personal favors” to get them out of a bind.
But when things are fine and dandy, do not expect them to remember what you did for them.
This is harsh, but it’s true for that 1% of clients who can only think of what they need to do for self preservation.
But one thing is inevitable. You will either have so much fun, or the worse experience of your life on your startup adventure.
The reality is if you’re hellbent on your startup, then take the good with the bad.
Confidence is not being naive about the dog-eat-dog world we call business.
You can either paint rosy pictures or be mindful of your surrounding. The choice is yours.3.