May 19,2017 9 min read
Guest post by new entrepreneur Natasha Spencer. She is doing a monthly column on her trials and tribulations as she launches a new business. You can read about Month Nine here.
If you’ve ever had one of those months where your to-do list looks reasonably manageable at the beginning and totally overwhelming and seemingly impossible by the end, then that pretty much sums up November for me. Setting up my own business has not been easy.
All looked fine and dandy come November 1 with a healthy amount of network meetings, mentor meetings and client deliverables to get the bills paid and get me on the way to setting a more lucrative profit margin with a growing number of clients. But when the unexpected crops up that can truly throw a good plan right into the bin. Here’s what I’ve been experienced in Month Three as a new entrepreneur…
When I first decided to set out on my own back in February, I never in a million years imagined that I would be trying to be selective when it comes to my workload and diversity of projects. But I am. I’ve always, ashamedly, taken what I’ve been offered as I’ve viewed myself fortunate to be offered any work at all. Now, however, I’ve realized that this is very unproductive to my financial situation, motivation or reputation. Client demands I can deal with if I know what they are, amendments I’m happy to do, but for well below the industry standard is not quite so attractive. And it doesn’t look very well with existing or prospective clients either.
Whether it’s mental or physical health, it’s not until you’re faced with its sudden decline or prospective long-term effects that you realize just how instrumental it is to you being able to live the life that you want. With doctor’s appointments, a cancelled holiday and a hospital procedure this month, deadlines have had to come secondary. Something that doesn’t really work in this world that is self-employment, especially when you’re in it alone, or so I thought…
Maybe I’m lucky? Maybe I’ve made strong enough relationships that they now trust me? Maybe being open and honest has helped? Perhaps it’s a mix of all three. Admitting that I would be needing a deadline extension on some of my projects was hard - as a new entrepreneur, I was terrified that they would consider me a failure and then punish me by not awarding any further contracts. I couldn’t be more wrong. I was shocked to learn that not only were my clients able to extend deadlines, but they wished me a speedy recovery! Perhaps I was becoming cynical or perhaps I’m fortunate enough to be getting to the stage where my clients want me to do the work instead of others. Wishful thinking? Who knows, but at least I know I’ve got the work despite facing health issues.
Last month, I was uber excited about enrolling on Princes Trust Enterprise Programme and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I’ve now got a business mentor that I meet up with every fortnight to go through achievements and set targets. The structure is certainly what I need. Often there are a million and one things that need doing and I just simply don’t know where to begin. I’d recommend this course to anyone who’s thinking of setting up a business. If this isn’t for you, get online and absorb all the advice and information that there is out there. Above all for me, however, was meeting other people that are in exactly the same position. I didn’t realize quite how much I missed socializing, talking to others and just nipping out for a bite to eat with one another, until I did this course and this is now something I need to overcome and integrate into my working day.
For more trouble, strife and triumph in the world of a true start-up, come back later this month for a round-up of this year’s business ups and downs! Follow E-junkie and new entrepreneur Natasha on Twitter to get updates and see the article as soon as it is published.
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