I’m coming up on the two year anniversary of starting my business. Almost two years since I made my first money from writing. Wow. Sometimes that feels like a long time and sometimes I can’t believe I’ve only been doing this a couple of years.
The first year of running a business is tough. You feel like you’re treading water and not really getting anywhere. Will I really have to keep working so relentlessly to make a living from this? Will I only ever scrape by?
These thoughts definitely crossed my mind in my first year of business. I imagine they’ve crossed yours too.
So I’m here today to tell you about a few of the things that will happen by the time you reach the two-year point of your business:
1. Exponential Growth
The first year does feel like a never-ending slog, doesn’t it? But that’s because you are starting at the very beginning. Nobody knows who you are. You have to prove yourself. You have to prove yourself to yourself.
But gradually something wonderful starts to happen. You get to know more people. More people know your name. People start recommending you. So you get more work with less effort.
It’s fabulous, really. The longer you do this, the easier it becomes. So keep going, because things are about to get awesome.
When you start your business you’re all OMG I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING. What is the best thing to do next? Should I do this or that? What if I choose the wrong thing! Or worse yet, never make any fucking decision at all.
There will be a lot of flailing in your first year of business. That’s pretty much guaranteed. And certainly at least one moment of Oh shit I need more money! Like, right now!
But you’ll get your bearings. Follow the path your business leads you along, and do whatever seems right at the time. Eventually you’ll get a better idea of what you’re all about and where you’re going with this. These excellent things called ideas will pop into your head. It’ll be great.
Has anybody ever started a business and figured they knew exactly what they were doing? Well, maybe. But those d-bags probably failed. YOU, on the other hand, with your doubts and your worries and your questions questions questions, will develop this confidence over time. Confidence is a side effect of experience.
You’ll develop the confidence that you know what you’re doing. It’ll be easier to score clients, because you’ll be able to talk to them with confidence… because you will have more confidence in yourself. (Side note: if the thought of talking on the phone petrifies you, check out this guest post I wrote over at Be a Freelance Blogger.)
4. Less Fear
A natural extension of being more confident and knowing which way is up is feeling less fearful. Because the fear is basically about the unknown, right? Knowledge is power, baby, and being in business for a couple of years will catapult your knowledge. So less fear. But still some fear. Which is good, really, because otherwise you must have learned everything there is to learn, which leaves no room for improvement.
I still get the fears. Putting my prices up. Listing my rates. Giving the first week of my course away for free. I feel the fear about every new change I want to make. And then I suck it up and do it anyway.
Online businesses are indisputably the lowest-cost type of biz to run, which makes it that much easier to be profitable. They’re profitable almost instantly. But it’s reaching that point where you can make rent, buy food and relax your pursestrings a little — that’s what you’ve got to look forward to.
Rather than scrabbling to reach the next goal — out of your overdraft, pay off your credit card, set aside money for taxes, and on and on — you will reach a blissful point where you have more money than you’re used to. Now this obviously depends on how much money you earned before you started your biz, but either way, you’ll feel much more comfortable with the amount you’re making after a couple of years.
6. More Likely to Get Out of Pyjamas Each Day
You’ll get more disciplined and figure out how you work best — something that’s impossible to figure out when you’re employed because you’re playing by everybody else’s rules.
But now it’s time for you to make your own rules.