Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Going out on your own as an entrepreneur can feel both intimidating and exhilarating at the same time. Though you may have the skills and experience to get started, knowing the responsibility relies solely upon you may not feel like the same security as working a regular 9-5 job. However, a sense of freedom and accomplishment makes the risk feel worth it.
Every person who’s decided to take the leap and forge their path has felt a bit of uncertainty at some point along the way. After all, several unknown variables exist, but learning to forge ahead builds resilience.
When embarking on an entrepreneurial endeavor, it’s important to go at the pace and in the direction that feels right for you, but here are a few pieces of general advice as you start your journey.
1. Commit to the process
As an entrepreneur, you wear all the hats. You are the boss, the operations, the accountant, the cheerleader, and so on. Therefore, it’s up to you to champion your brand and adapt as needed.
Even when times get rocky (and they will), you must dig in and believe in your business.
No one will care as much about it as you are, so be discerning when deciding who you work with and bring on board to help reach your goals. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, so not everything may happen as quickly as you’d like. Have patience in the process.
2. Get organized
Having big ideas is the exciting part, but the reality is you have to get things organized to execute well. Take advantage of project management tools and programs for invoicing, scheduling and online branding and promotions.
Ensure your focus on business growth isn’t taking away from delivering a quality product or service. There must be an excellent balance to maintain your clients and entice new ones to come aboard. Getting organized takes more time initially but will save you invaluable time and money once your business is up and running.
3. Be confident in your rates
Setting rates is one of the most challenging things for entrepreneurs, mainly because they’re unsure what they should be. Research your industry averages and factor in your expertise, experience and skills to come up with a rate you’re comfortable with.
However, don’t sell yourself short. Not everyone may be a good business fit for you, and vice-versa. Focus on building quality client relationships rather than worrying too much about quantity.
4. Seek the support of others
Every business has competition, but every industry has plenty of room for anyone wanting to succeed. Reach out to the support of other entrepreneurs through networking and social events or even online. Sharing stories of struggles and tips for taking your business to the next level can motivate you during the lulls.
It allows you to be part of a community even as you’re running a business solo. Plus, camaraderie can help you feel less alone when you’re unsure of the next step.
5. Channel gratitude
The frustrations of being an entrepreneur can lead down a slippery slope of feeling sorry for yourself. Some days, it’s going to feel like nothing is going right. Other days, you may compare yourself to others in your field and wonder why their success is coming more quickly. In these moments, wanting to quit can feel all too easy. Don’t.
Allow yourself time to feel and reflect, but switch those feelings to gratitude for everything you have and the promise of where you are heading. There will be bad days, but when you change your perspective, you can turn things around for the better.
6. Stay true to yourself
Being an entrepreneur is a test of your integrity. With so many different challenges and new situations coming your way simultaneously, it can be easy to lose sight of your goals. While stepping out on your own is an emergence from your comfort zone, you want to do so as your authentic self.
There will be shortcuts you find along the way; just make sure they align with how you want to do business. It’s essential to pause and check in with your strategies, your partnerships, and your path to ensure it is still true to you. Otherwise, you may reach a place of burnout or breakdown because you’re misaligned.
7. Celebrate the wins
Life as an entrepreneur is busy. There are weeks when it’s hard to track what day it is. However, as chaotic as your schedule gets, take time to celebrate the big and small wins and plan rewards.
A reward can be as small as treating yourself to lunch or as big as acquiring new office space to help grow your brand. Whatever marks the effort feels valuable to you, do it. Acknowledging your accomplishments along the way will motivate you to keep going, improving, and growing. And more than that, you deserve it.