Running your own business is work. It's exciting, nerve wracking, joyful and terrifying all at the same time. There are few other ventures that come with the same mixed bag of emotions. But above all else, it's hard and it's not for the faint hearted. The experience is different for all of us, but I wanted to share some encouraging words for those of you that are at the early stages and are undoubtedly feeling overwhelmed. So, here are my five best pieces of advice for the new entrepreneur (and what I wish someone told me!).

1. Yes, it's hard. You will make mistakes. But, in the words of Elizabeth Day, learning how to fail is actually learning how to succeed better. Keep going. There will be moments (and a lot of them!) where you feel like giving up. Going at it alone requires bravery, patience and persistence like nothing else. You will have days where you feel like you're making one mistake after another, but that is how we learn! It's ok to be upset and feel hopeless, but dust yourself off afterwards and get back to it. The only way to really grow is by learning from the things that went wrong.

2. Don't be afraid to ask for help. There are countless others who have been in your shoes and we want to help you! Reach out in an online community and make friends in your industry. One of the best bits of being an entrepreneur is the support network that almost automatically comes with it. Build relationships with those around you and ask for help when you need it. If you're in a position to invest, consider working with a business coach. You can read my post 
here about how working with a mentor impacted my business.

3. Use your time wisely and remember there will always be better days. There will inevitably be periods of time where work is quiet, but slow seasons are for planting seeds. If you find yourself in a space where you are struggling to find work/make sales, throw yourself into a personal project, arrange to take part in some workshops or work on refining your customer journey. You'll be longing for these quiet days when you're busy again, so use them wisely. Just because you aren't focused on your clients/customers right now, doesn't mean you can't be making progress towards your goals. There is so much more to running your own business.

4. Do the internal work too. Having a clear vision of your goals, both professional and personal, it super important when you're starting your own business. Things can get a little hazy sometimes and it's easy to lose sight of your why; your reason for all of it. Do the internal work, build a solid foundation for this business, then build. What are your values? Who are you serving? Why do you do what you do? These are all questions that need concrete answers before you can run a successful business.

5. Just do it. There will never be the perfect time to jump into entrepreneurship. There will always be something in the back of our minds making us question whether we should or shouldn't. My biggest piece of advice? Do it right now. You can go back and forth for months on whether it's the right time, but the truth is that we will always be able think of a reason to do it later. So instead, just do it now. 

Nothing good in life comes easy - that includes running a successful business that serves and fulfils you. The first couple of years will be overwhelming, exciting, frustrating and fantastic all at once. There are no shortcuts or quick wins, just progress made by determination and patience. You will grow and change in ways you'd never have expected and find a newfound respect for yourself in the process. There is no rule book, so throw yourself in; figuring it out as you go along is a pretty good strategy (coming from someone who did just that!).

All you need is patience, drive and focus. Those three things can get you pretty much anywhere.



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