Someone recently asked me, 'If you knew everything you know now, would you do it all over again?'
It took me a while to respond, because the truth is I am not sure that I would. Let me explain what I mean. I started my company when I was 21 years old.... And at 21 years old you (respectfully) don't know a lot. (You think you do, but you don't.) Most people say to me, 'Oh, you were so brave to start a business so young!' But I don't think brave is the best definition. I would say it was a mixture of passion & naivety. Had I known what would be involved to get the company to where it is today, I don't think I would have gone ahead with it because it is SO. MUCH. WORK. It takes time. It takes investment of money, sweat & tears.
I am not by any means saying I don't LOVE what I do - I truly believe it was my life calling to be where I am in life & career right now, but the point(s) I am trying to make are:
- If you are thinking of starting your own business because you want to work LESS, you will be rudely surprised.
- The first 3 years are the absolute hardest. They are the years where every single dollar goes back into the business (I lived on Baked Bean Jaffles for the best part of the first 3 years of starting my company). You probably won't take a holiday in that time, and if you do, you are one of the lucky ones. You will sacrifice nights out and weekends away with friends because the business (like a newborn) will be so demanding of your time.
The good news is, you don't actually know WHAT is ahead on this exciting path. For the most part, I think that is a good thing. Because if you did, you probably wouldn't do it. To this point also, there will NEVER be a right time to start. Your ducks will never ever be in a perfect row & there will always be something to do to make the launch day better, but don't let perfection get in the way of momentum.
So my advice, is acknowledge that it is going to be really effing hard, and hit it straight on. The tough times you come through (there will be many, but you WILL get through them), the stronger the person you will become on the other side. Learn from mistakes, but try not to make them twice.... And finally, if you are not making mistakes, you are simply not taking enough risks. - SWx