Most articles about starting your own business focus on the steps you need to take to get the business running, such as writing a business plan or finding investors. Of course, those steps are vital, and if you don’t follow many of them, you’ll have a much harder time succeeding. However, those articles are often written as though new businesses are begun in a vacuum. There are plenty of things that you need to do in other areas of your life that will increase the likelihood of your success, as well as help keep your stress levels down.
Talk to Family and Friends
Starting your own company usually requires a huge time commitment. If you’re keeping your day job for now, you’ll essentially be working two jobs at once. If you aren’t, you’ll probably be working long hours for not very much pay early on. This is not an indication that you’ve done something horribly wrong, it’s very much par for the course for a newly minted entrepreneur, but it can be alarming for your friends when you suddenly seem to drop out of sight for a while and even worse for your family.
If you have a spouse and children, it’s important to discuss how your life is going to change and whether they are going to have to pick up some slack because you’ll be too busy for a while to pitch in at home as much as usual. There’s one caveat here, which is that if your friends and family are not supportive, these conversations can do more harm than good. In a case like this, look for other entrepreneurs and people who can encourage you.
Organize Your Personal Finances
One of the first rules of entrepreneurship is to keep your personal and work accounts separate, so why does it matter what happens with your personal finances? There are a few reasons. In some cases, if you’re looking for loans or an investor, your personal finances could play a part in that decision. However, beyond that, it’s simply important to have a good handle on those finances before you take this plunge.
You don’t have to be debt-free before you can start your business, but you also don’t want to be overwhelmed by how much you owe and by finances that are a mess when you’re also dealing with running your own company. Furthermore, not only will making a budget help you understand where your money is going and where you might be able to cut back but it helps you figure out exactly how much you need to live on, which is important when you’re deciding whether you can support yourself through self-employment.
Finally, getting your personal finance situation in order is good discipline in preparation for having the company books in order. This is a good time to make things as easy as possible, automating all the payments that allow it. Look over various subscriptions to streaming services, apps and similar things and drop any that you don’t really use. You may also want to consider a student loan refinance, which can lower your monthly payments.
When you run your own business, it can be easy to let it overtake your life. You may find yourself struggling to not check your phone late at night or work every single weekend. While it’s true that being a new business owner can mean working long hours, you also need to set some boundaries around your time both so that you can avoid burnout and also so that you don’t neglect your loved ones. If you’re struggling to set those boundaries, it may be time to consider whether you need to hire someone even temporarily or part-time to give you a hand.
Consider Your Goals in Context
How do your business goals fit in with the rest of your life? How do your personal values align with what you hope to do as an entrepreneur? There’s no right or wrong answer, but it’s a useful question to ponder because it may guide some of your business decisions as well as some of your life decisions. As important as boundary setting is, it’s also important that what you’re doing in the business world isn’t inconsistent with what you want to do the rest of the time.