Find The Perfect Timing To Start A Small Business
Welcome to my Starting a Small Business Series!
As I mentioned last week, starting a small business is a big deal. Not only is it a financial investment, it is an investment of your time and energy as well. There are many things to consider when it comes to starting a business and the two main things to consider are 1) Why and 2) When
Check out the full series below:
What Is Your Why?
Money is not a "why" for starting a business. If you want more income, get in your car, drive to a local business and apply for a job. I will repeat - money ALONE is not a good enough reason for starting a business. If money is your only driving factor you will burn out and fast. Why? Being an entrepreneur takes dedication and passion. It takes your heart and your soul. It has to be something you want so badly you are not willing to give up, even when times are tough. If money is all you want, it is much easier and faster to head out your door and get a second job. So what is my why? To start, I truly love photography. I love creating these memories for families, newlyweds, new parents, etc. to share with their loved ones and reflect on for years to come. I could read blogs, articles, books for hours on end about improving my photography and building my business without growing tired. I am passionate about what I do. Second, I love the flexibility I have as a business owner. Yes, I do have a part time day job, but I have the ability to set my own hours with my business. Third, I am growing as a person. Becoming a business owner has required me to reflect on myself. It has made me dig deep and realize who I want to be as a wife, mother, business owner, and person in general. Through this reflection I have found that this business gives me the opportunity to help other moms/women just like me find their way too.
So When Should You Start A Business?
My daughter was born in October of 2013. I decided to pursue photography shortly after she was born, December of 2013. Hint, I said pursue photography, not build a business. So when did I start my business? Over a year later in May of 2015. I took my first paying customer one month later in June of 2015. Did I want to start a business when I first started to learn photography? I thought so, but I was not 100% sure. I had been using my parent's DSLR Canon Rebel when my daughter was born, and I bought an e-book on Amazon so that I could learn how to shoot on manual mode. That night, I walked into the living room and told my husband,
"I am not saying that I want to be a photographer necessarily, but I want to learn photography. Actually learn it and be really good at it. I don't really know where I want to take it, but I want to do this. I want to be able to pick up a camera and know how to use it, and use it well."
Thank God for my loving and supportive husband because he simply shook his head and said,
"Ok, go for it."
So why did it take me over a year to start my business? For starters, I had just had a baby. Parents you get me here, a newborn and a new business do not go hand in hand. Can it be done? Absolutely. But I was a brand new mom getting ready to return to a full time job with a varied schedule and at this point, I just wanted to learn how to take beautiful pictures to capture my daughter's childhood. So what changed? Fast forward to January of 2015, and I had just accepted a new position at my nursing job that allowed me to be at home more. Along with that, I had been practicing my craft for over a year. Without sounding cliche, the stars were starting to align, and it just felt "right." After discussing it with my husband, we decided that if this was something I really wanted to do, now was the time.
The Stars Aligned
They say "when you know, you know" right? Well after discussing it and praying about it, I just knew I was ready to take the dive and start my business. So how exactly did I know now was the time to take the big plunge? Several reasons:
1) My schedule allowed for me to build a business.
If you are not a parent or you do not have a family and you are working a full time job, you may be perfectly OK with starting a business on the side and putting in 80 hours a week. However, as a wife and a new mom, I wanted to make sure that no matter what, my family came first. Was this something I was doing for me? Yes. And is it OK to do something for yourself as a wife and mom? Absolutely. However, that does not mean that I wanted this "something" to come between my marriage and my relationship with my child. My first goal with my business was to have my priorities in order from day one: husband, daughter, business - end of story. When I took my new position at work, I knew this would provide me with an opportunity to have more free time for working on my photography, while still being the wife and mom I wanted to be. As soon as I notice myself deviating from my priorities I line myself back up and all is right with the world again.
2) I had spent over a year perfecting my craft
I was by no means a perfect photographer when I started my business. If you wait until your are perfect, you will fail before you ever begin (or you will just never begin). There will always be someone better than you, and who knows more than you, in every aspect of life. Your business is not any different. However, you should know more than your clients when it comes to your talent or skill. As a business owner, you are providing a service. You have a paying client who expects a satisfactory product. There is always room to learn and grow, but should at least have a good foundation to start on.
3) I had a strong support system
This one is huge. I am blessed every single day with a wonderful and supportive husband who never bats an eye if I spend a little extra time on my computer each day editing a session, or putting together a blog post. Without my family's support I would not have accomplished what I have in the past eight months. And the very real truth is there will be days of doubt. There will be days when you question everything you have worked so hard at up until this point. Am I spending too much time on my business? Have I invested too much money to get my business off the ground? Sometimes, you just need to see it from someone else's point of view. You need that person to tell you you are thinking crazy thoughts and cheering you on to keep going. This does not have to be a husband, but a supportive sibling, parent or best friend works just fine. However, if you are married, having your spouse on board will be crucial to helping your business thrive.
4) I was willing to sacrifice
We all only have 24 hours in a day. No more, and no less. And starting a business takes time. So what are you willing to sacrifice in order to build your dreams? For me, it was sleep, "me time", and for a short while, my morning workout. I started getting up even earlier - my alarm is almost always set for 4:45 AM. No matter what is on the agenda for the day, I get an early start so I can have some quiet time to work on business stuff before my daughter even gets out of bed. This allows me to put the computer away when she is awake and focus on her. Dedicating this time to business has been extremely helpful for me, but it meant I sacrificed two other things, sleep, and my workouts.
The most important thing to consider when sacrificing something for your business is knowing where to draw the line. I still make sure I get at least six or seven hours of sleep at night, but it has been a long while since I have seen eight or nine. Second, I was not working out, but I was still taking care of myself. I was eating healthy, drinking a lot of water, staying active as much as possible. Now, only eight months later, I have recently started finding time to fit my morning workouts in as the main foundation of my business has been established and I am becoming more efficient in my work. Third, when you spend all of your extra moments building a business, it does not leave a lot of time for yourself. I know as my business grows and I become more experienced as an entrepreneur that this too shall pass, but it something I am willing to sacrifice now, for my future.