Things nobody tells you about running a business


After 8+ years in business, every day I’m learning something new and encourage new, often unexpected roadblocks. This post will become on ongoing list that I can update in hopes that others can feel less alone in their endeavors.

Without further ado, here are some things to make you think.

  • “Urgent” for someone else tends to be slower when you need something from them, than they need something from you.

  • Waiting for responses can be agonizing and derailing. (It almost never has anything to do with you.)

  • Clients tend to have a radar of when is most inconvenient for you and reach out to you then (particularly right before a trip).

  • You kind of live in a bubble and you don’t always get a lot of feedback on your work.

  • You may not get a lot of “thank yous.” That doesn’t mean you’re not doing great work. (A Mastermind group can help be that support.)

  • You can land the biggest contract of your life yet have the least amount of money in your bank account.

  • Cash flow issues can creep in even when you’re established.

  • Never assume you'll be paid on time. The bigger the company the slower they are to pay.

  • You don't have a steady paycheck, so it can be hard to relax in the times when you don't know when your next paid job is coming.

  • When you work from home you go through WAY more toilet paper. And your hair ends up everywhere.

  • When you’re the boss you may need to build in your own habits and structure to get things done.

  • It can get easy to get sucked into work you’re good at, but you don’t really want to be doing.

  • You need to get comfortable with talking about your work, marketing, and sales.

  • When you rely only on income from one client, that work could disappear. (Hence I’ve embraced a portfolio career.)

  • You don’t always know the questions you should be asking. (Particularly if you live in France.)

  • Insurance (liability, health) and retirement, aren’t really sexy subjects, but they shouldn’t be ignored.

  • Taxes are no joke. Hiring a professional can let you focus your energies on your business instead of banging your head against the wall. (Hiring an accountant was the best thing I ever did for my biz.)

  • In order for your business to be successful you also need to work on yourself. (No one talks about this.)

  • Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

  • If you don’t know how to do something, learn it. Everyone else is faking it too.

  • Feeling like an imposter is actually an asset. It means you’re thinking critically and challenging yourself. It’s the best way to grow.

  • Business is a big mental game. Work on building your mental toughness too.

  • You don’t learn this stuff in school.

The workarounds:

  • Build your support system. Start a Mastermind group (Find your people!!)

  • Find communities (on Facebook, or IRL meet-ups)

  • Listen to podcasts and read books (aka learn anything you don’t know)

  • Step away from your computer, talk to people

  • Work with a coach. They’ll keep you accountable and it’s nice to have someone who has your back.

  • Keep learning! Everything and anything. Even if it seems unrelated.

I want to know! What else do you wish you would have known when getting started?!

For more biz resources, check out the complete collection on the
Biz Blog. I also offer 1:1 services if you’re looking for a guide, cheerleader, and accountability partner on your own journey.