Ready to Start Your Own Business? Here’s a Riff I Wish I’d Written (Plus My Own 2 ¢)

As many of you know, I rarely publish other people’s writing. Partly because (goodness knows) I have a lot to say, partly because I’m a control freak, partly because I believe if you’re reading my newsletter/blog it should be written by me. All of that said, every now and then I read a piece I think is fantastic and so, I send it along.

That’s what I’m doing today.

I read Stephanie St. Claire’s piece “11 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Business” over the weekend and found it to be right on target. If you are someone who is considering—or already—running their own business, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

In addition to Ms. St Claire’s wisdom, I would like to offer you the best advice I have on the same subject:

You will always be anxious. This advice came to me via one of my psychology authors who took me out to lunch when she found out I was leaving publishing. She said, “There will never be the right amount of work– there will always be too much or too little– so you will always be anxious. This is only a problem when you view anxiety as “bad”. Instead, you need to get up every morning and say, “Oh, I’m anxious today! I must be alive!”

Get a Fantastic Accountant: Enough said. I know it’s not sexy. I know it’s not fun. I know it’s not making a vision board and picking out the color palette that expresses “you” for your business cards and website. I do not care. Find someone who is willing to answer endless questions with infinite patience—not to mention explain things 14 times if necessary—and then pay them whatever you need to to ensure you stay on the right side of the IRS.

Don’t Ask Permission: Unless you are entering a field that requires strict supervision (medicine and engineering come to mind….) please don’t waste your precious time and talent getting endless accreditations and affirmations from institutions, alliances, coaches, and the like. This is not to say you should not—to the best of your current ability– know your subject inside and out, but I guarantee that even if you do, the learning curve of owning your business is so sharp, there is no way you are ever going to be “ready”. Instead, you need to back your own talent. Take a deep breath, and plunge.

Frances Cole Jones