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running a business

What are the struggles of running your own business? What are some things you wished you knew before?

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Connor’s Answer

Hi Ashley!

I think the biggest struggle for me personally when it comes to running my own business is stress. This is an umbrella term, so let me unpack it a little.

I started a company that consisted of writing code to analyze publicly traded companies. I did not anticipate how much time I would spend working on something like this. In my head it seemed simple, but in reality, it was like an onion. The more I worked it, the more I realized I needed to put more work into it. There were many days and nights where I would be on my computer for hours on end. I had to manage time as I was working full time, going to school full time, and I was in a serious relationship. These days and nights would require sacrifice. If it was not from my schoolwork, then it was from my day job, and if it was not from my day job then it was from my relationship. This would often stress me out because in order to put adequate amount of effort into each thing, it meant sacrificing sleep. This took a toll on my overall health which took a toll on my schoolwork, my day job, and my relationship.

There is also the financial stress. The reality of it is every startup is going to require some sort of capital investment. Say you want to start a clothing company. You are going to spend money on a graphic designer, test batches, production inventory, building and maintaining a website, software to email and communicate with customers, marketing/advertising, the list goes on and on. Some things you may already have, but there will always be some cost. My best advice would be to research ALL it would take to start and operate the business, and then budget accordingly. You do not want to get started and hit a crossroads where you run out of funds without having something to show for it.

And then there is the legal stress. The last thing you want is to register and trademark an LLC only to have someone say you stole their idea and now they are trying to sue you. If you are running an online store, then you have to worry about hackers and keeping your customer's information secure. If you are operating a physical location, then you have insurance and other humans to keep in mind. Think someone slipping and falling or getting hurt on site.

I do not say this to deter you or scare you, but it is often the side of startup and running a business that does not get talked about. Do plenty of research, talk to as many people as you can, and plan accordingly! You will do great!
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Ben’s Answer

I think the biggest struggle in running a business is managing cashflow. You will have revenues and expenses. So you'll need to find a way for first the revenues to exceed expenses, which is obvious. Then you need to bring in the money as quickly as possible while delaying paying your expenses so you always have cashflow on hand. But this really depends on the type of business you would be starting. A Business to Business company is different than a Business to Consumer company.

One thing I wish I knew before and some advise I would give is don't be afraid to charge the appropriate amount for your product or service. New Businesses sometimes charge to low of a price to start bringing in revenue, but that can be a bad strategy in the long run, although its acceptable to get a new business off the ground initially. I have 2 friends in the construction field. One charges low prices and he is busy all year getting project after project. The other has what would be considered high prices. He gets the occasional job and isn't busy all year. However, they both make the same amount per year. So the one charging the higher price is working less but making the same income. The moral of the story is, do your homework, find out what your competition is charging and don't go in too low with pricing.

Good Luck!
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Monique’s Answer

I started a professional organizing business. For me I also work a corporate fulltime job so balancing the two, but outside off the time component, its making sure to market my business, and price appropriately for my time and skillset. not being afraid to turn down business to not disturb your peace. As an entrepreneur , if that is all you do, you are your business so understanding that at first there is no time off from it. Once you have employees and people you trust or have a business that operates at a level where you have products going out without you having to provide a service that will make it easier to manage.
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