What You’re Not Told When Starting A Business

Starting a Business

This article was supposed to be about 10 things you should know about starting a business. As I am also starting out with 15 months of running my own business; I thought to write this article about 10 things you’re not told about starting a business.

Do you have a business or a job?

Firstly, you need to ask yourself if you have a business or do you have a job? For myself, it’s a job for now, I have managed to create a job for myself. Why? Because if I take myself out of this job my business will not last 4 months without me, perhaps less. Can your business survive without you for a year? If you answered yes, then in my option you have a business. The key is to have a system in place, and that takes a while.

Starting a Business or a is it a Job

There is no formula for success

For years, I have read entrepreneur books and books on starting a business hoping that I would find a chapter or ten that starts “So Karen, this is what you need to do….”

And of cause there was never a chapter like that because no matter how great the formula, there is one thing that you cannot factor, which is people. People do not behave, act or react in a consistent way. Groups of us could, but we are all individuals.

Customers are not always right

Now, please do not take this concept wrong, it’s just in my own experience I have found the customer is not always right. Take market research for example, if your results through market research for your new business idea come back positive, or negative, does that mean you should go ahead or abandon your idea? The motto that customers are always right has to do with customer satisfaction, catering to individual needs and not arguing with the customer. When starting a business, you may be pushed to say ‘yes’, but be prepared to say ‘no’ too.

Starting a Business - Customers are not always right

Trust your employees only as far as you can throw them

Well, even I have to say that sounds a bit extreme, but when you are starting a business trust takes a while, it’s earned and it’s also a two way stream. There are many shocking stories out there about how trust has been misused; people have made millions from stealing other people’s idea, clients and so forth. However, there are also as many stories of people that have made it by putting their trust in others.

Dress as you wish to be addressed

Appearances are not everything people say and yet, we are judged on them on the first meeting. So, I say dress as you wish people to address you. I’m 29, but without my ID I cannot buy a lotto ticket because I don’t look my age never mind that I have my own business/job. So, I have found I get better results from my staff, networking groups and my bank manager when I dress like a corporate woman.


One thing people don’t tell you often enough is the overwhelming feeling of quitting. All I can say is that the hardest thing you’ve done is taking the step into self-employment or starting a business leaving behind the security of a regular paid job. I have taken a motto from one of my favourite authors that “I can always quit tomorrow” so I will do what I can today.

Starting a Business - Don't Give Up


Like I said before, starting a business is like an emotional roller coaster, there’s highs and lows, fear and wonder, good times and hardships. There are also inner battles you fight with yourself or with others. The negative feelings are not as often and don’t last as long as the positives, they just feel more intense. It’s a wonderful feeling to watch your business grow.

Taking stock of yourself

It’s good to take a moment and take stock of yourself. Have you grown? Have you met your targets? Do you need to pat yourself on the back or kick yourself into more action? I have found it helps me put things into prospective when I look at my time line, from the time I had the idea, the changes and where I am right now. In starting a business there should be a gradual growth pattern for you and the business and that, you should take monitor closely.

The Hare and the Tortoise

Whichever way you’ve interpreted this children’s story – The Hare and the Tortoise, in most cases it’s how you’ll work. It has its own pitfalls you’ll need to work on balancing. Do you find that you work really hard and then lay back a bit? Or do you prefer the slow and steady route and working twice as hard? Find your pace and know when to slow down or speed up.

Starting a Business - Finishing line

The Finishing Line

When starting a business it’s very hard to think about your exit strategy. Why think of getting out when you’re only just started out? Well, in every job, I used to see how far the job would take me, will I have any progression opportunities or do I just want to stay in the same position till I retire. It’s all well and good if the job suites your needs for now, but what happens when your needs change? It’s the same as your business, what is the end goal, what are the determining factors when you’ve crossed the finishing line. Every race has a start and a finish. Think hard about them and never forget them.

Above are the issues that took most of my time and energy, however, there are other initiatives such as bookkeeping, marketing, sales and accounts and the requirement and organising of an accountant. Be clear on your requirements, if you are a Sole-trader, Partnership or Limited Company, when to do your Self-Assessment and when company accounts are due. Avoid doing all major decisions over the phone, whether it’s a talk with your bank manager or changes in your business with your staff. Most importantly, follow your gut instincts especially, if the feeling is persistent.

In conclusion, whether you’re starting a business or close to the finishing line, there’s always something around the corner that you didn’t expect or know how to deal with. This is what makes this journey special and a great one.

I would love to hear your story? Drop some comments below. Thanks

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  • Keisha Greaves

    So true…I am encouraged and determined to press on!! As a freelancer and mother, I felt that being my own boss would give me the flexibility to work around my children. However, wanting to go this route has been very challenging but I look forward to seeing my business grow….there is a lot of information out there, but it is about finding information specific to your market that is difficult.Little by little I am getting there though….learning a lot about myself and my clients….Thanks for this!

  • Nice advice. I have lately been wondering what end result I’m going for myself, realizing that I don’t necessarily want everything I’m doing to last forever! It was a startling revelation because when I started that’s what I thought I would want. I was riding a euphoria high. Now nearly 5 years later I find myself looking around going, “Ok, what’s next?”

    • Thanks Carmen, it’s great that you’re nearly at the 5 year mark, what I’m dreaming of! What’s changed from when you started to now?

      • Mostly? The sense of challenge is gone. When I first started everything was a grand challenge. It was a big roller coaster ride.

        2-3 years in there was a comfortable momentum. I was still challenged, but not stressed.

        Lately there are few challenges but the stress is high. I am asking myself if I want to do this for the next 10, 20, 25, 40 years, and I’m surprised with the answers I’m coming up with!

  • An honest insdiers’ talk! Great stuff

  • Good stuff, keep them coming!

  • When you find “that” book Karen please pass it on… Great blog full of honesty – love it! Carry on believing and fighting:-)

  • Jason Tan

    Good advices! It’s not easy to reach the finishing line and even if we fail to reach the finishing line, we might learn even more. Thanks for sharing!

    • Yeah Jason, like they say its not about the destination, it’s the journey that’s important x

  • Lirone Glikman

    Thanks Karen – fantastic points and easy to relate.The emotional part you mentioned is very true, it can even hurt sometimes…! This is where a good mentor, a friend or an experienced figure can assist. It also helps to become more aware of your emotions and control them in a proportional way.

    That being said- When it’s time to celebrate- open that champaign bottle and let your emotion go wild 🙂

    • Thanks Lirone, we tend to forget to celebrate properly, wont be forgetting that anytime soon.

  • Donald

    Thank you for sharing your experience Karen. Starting a new business can be very difficult and many times very slow at moving forward, but one must persevere. You mentioned Employees – they can either make or break your business. If employees are not cultured to your business, they will break the business as they are obviously not as passionate as the founder.

    • That’s so true Donald it becomes a whole new ball game when it comes to Employees.

  • This is a fantastic post, Karen. Absolutely love it. Your business is still going, you’ve come along way in a year and half, and that tells a great story of your work ethic and your commitment to your new business. A lot of people could learn from your tips! Thanks for sharing.

  • that was an awesome post thanks a lot fo sharing have an awesome day ahead 🙂