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Entrepreneur Diaries: Ready to run your own business?
Founder of writing company Travel Ink gives her take on the perception and reality of running your own business.
September 10, 2013 3:19 by kippreport
When I dreamt of running my own writing business, I imagined, I am ashamed to say, a Carrie Bradshaw-like existence (from the renowned TV show, Sex and the City) with the freedom to enjoy yoga classes in the morning, leisurely lunches with friends and an enjoyable few hours writing each day in the absolute solitude and comfort of my own home. Corporate life – and everything that went with it – would be a thing of the past.
Fast forward six months later and I quickly realised that while peace and quiet were blissful for a while, nothing beats the energy and excitement of working in a company. I began to crave the hum and chatter of a working office, the opportunity to bounce ideas off people and the general camaraderie that exists in successful team work. In short, it was a lonely existence and while I was lucky enough to be busy writing for various magazines and organisations, I soon realised that I needed more.
This is how my freelance writing service quickly expanded into a company, offering copywriting support for the travel, tourism and hospitality sector’s marketing. Recruiting a communications director and a team of writers on a project-by-project basis was the first step in running my own business.
Looking back, I knew on some level that I wanted to choose the path of entrepreneurship, but nothing can prepare you for the absence of security that corporate employment provides. All of a sudden, freedom becomes frightening as you wonder how on earth you’re going to make it without all of the company trimmings that you once took for granted.
I’m painting a bleak picture here, but only to emphasise that whatever your perception, the reality of running your own business rarely matches. But if perception and reality were so disjointed, why do I still do it? Well, the truth is, I do get to create my own schedule, and the odd morning yoga class and catch up with friends has occasionally crept in, and very enjoyable it has been too. I can also travel as much or as a little as I want; since WiFi is becoming the norm, work can be done anywhere.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, that ‘sink or swim’ feeling is addictive. Failure just simply isn’t an option when you work for yourself. There isn’t a boss to fall back on, so you simply get on with it and during that process you uncover strengths within yourself that you never knew you had.
In addition to all of the basics, before making the entrepreneurial leap (such as financing, business plans and so on), here are a few questions I asked myself – and a few I didn’t – when flying solo:
– Who will you rely on for business advice and support? Will you run the business with a partner or will you engage the services of a consultant? One of the best options is to find a mentor – check out how to do that here.
– Are key members of your family onboard with your idea(s)? Have a chat with your better half to make sure that you’re both on the same page, as there will be long nights and weekends filled with last-minute client requests.
– What is your working style? Ask yourself what type of environment you thrive in, then set up your workspace and daily business tasks accordingly.
– Are you disciplined enough? One of the biggest factors in the success of any business is having the discipline to do what needs to be done. In the early stages, you will work in HR, PR, finance, marketing, IT, operations, etc. Indeed, you have to be equipped to work in every facet of the organisation, even if you don’t like it.
– Are you prepared to think about your business all of the time? Like a new born baby, businesses need constant attention. While in theory you will have days off, the reality is that the buck stops with you, even on lazy Friday afternoons.
By Karen Osman, founder and managing director of Travel Ink.