Dig out the inspirational quotes and get ready to bid adieu to certain mates – being an entrepreneur isn’t all fun and games, says Protected Species’ Anne Muir.
Before Rebecca McElligott and I set up Protected Species, we devoured books and articles from successful, inspirational business owners and entrepreneurs. We quickly discovered, however, that there is quite a bit of gloss around and very few people told it how it actually is.
It reminded me of when I had my kids, and a lot of so-called advice involved throwaway lines, such as, “You didn’t really live before you did this – it’s your reason for being,” and not much, “You’ll really want a lie down, but can’t.”
Here’s the real lowdown on starting your own business.
You will start to not like your friends
You’ve sweated blood over your business, worked harder than you ever thought possible, and put something close to your heart on the market. It makes you feel proud and utterly exposed and terrified all at the same time.
Some of your friends will support you like you never thought possible, bless their faces. But some friends will show absolutely zero interest in your venture – not a question, not a Facebook like, not a retweet… nothing!
You will question their support and their personalities; you will feel stabbed in the heart – hang on to these people for dear life, because you will need them very soon.
You can no longer go on a night out, go out for coffee, go to post a letter without everyone questioning you in excruciating detail about your business and how it’s going. Those around you will lose any social filters and constantly ask you intimate questions that they never once asked when you had a normal job (margins, suppliers, turnover, profit, future plans). The only thing you can do is turn to the people you initially spurned above as you will now love their lack of interest.
You will learn to dread the following
“I’ve got a great idea… Have you thought about contacting Kate Middleton/collaborating with Beyoncé/making elephant versions of your product?” *repeatedly punches self in face*
You will lose all perspective on work/life balance
Remember that line from Point Break about surfing not just being a sport, but rather a way of life? Spot on. Forget all social events. If you are forced to go out, remember your business cards (*shamefully remembers giving some out at a wedding*).
It’s hard. No, seriously, it’s really, really, REALLY hard
Beware getting lost in motivational quotes – I pretty much wallpapered my office in them for a while until I read a thing about NORMAL PEOPLE NOT NEEDING INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES, so I took them down. OK, I took most of them down.
A much healthier place to turn to when it’s all getting too much is your customer feedback – they are the reason you exist and the reason you continue, no matter how tough it gets. These three always make me smile and stay stoic.
“The Protected Species Parka is that rare product that lives up to all its praises.”
“I don’t know how I lived without it!”
“A truly wonderful thing.”5164 Views
Anne is one half of Protected Species, an all-female brand that makes excellent waterproofs.