How to Survive the Downsides of Running a Small Business

When you are embarking on your journey of self-employment and running your own small business, you may have visions of more flexibility to your working day, increased financial reward and autonomy, but the reality of working for yourself can be different to your expectations. If you are feeling a little jaded about your situation, read on for solutions for common issues that affect the self-employed.

I’m working more than ever

You may have hoped to escape the feeling of being on a treadmill by becoming self-employed. Paid employment gives you a guaranteed income for work within set hours. When you are your own boss, you don’t have any assurances that your last job isn’t your final one. So, you tend to accept all work, whether it makes you feel that you are working beyond your capacity or not – it can feel like a feast or feminine scenario.

Solution: have the confidence to be master of your own schedule. While customers and clients may say that they would like work to be completed by a specific date, note that this is a wish and not a demand. Negotiate a deadline that is more acceptable to you, and as long as you deliver the goods or service when you agreed, you will both be happy. Open communication will help you to develop your customer relationships and manage your time better.

I’m struggling with cash flow

Cashflow problems are the number one cause of businesses failing. You need to ensure that your funds are not all tied up within the business and negatively impacting your personal life. You still need to pay the mortgage, buy groceries and pay your bills.

Solution: Be in control of your finances. Your contracts and invoices should have clear payment terms and conditions. If your invoice clearly states that it should be paid within 30 days, don’t be afraid to send a reminder on day 21, and chase on day 30. It’s a business and not a charity. Schedule time weekly to review your finances and chase payments, so that you can ensure that you don’t slip into the red. An easy to apply for credit card such as the one offered by Vanquis can be used to tide over your personal expenses if you can foresee a cash flow problem on the horizon.

I miss human interaction

When you work from home by yourself, you can begin to feel lonely – especially when most of your work involves screen-based communication. Missing human interaction and office-based banter can make you feel isolated, and when negative emotions start to creep in your motivation and focus can become deflated.

Solution: Research conducted by FlexJobs, a job search website, has found that four million Americans work from home, so chances are high that there is someone in your neighborhood that is in exactly the same position. Reach out and try to contact local remote workers who you can buddy up with and share a coffee with during the week. There are also shared office options that may be operating in your vicinity – you can have the benefit of a working office space without the high outlay of leasing your own premises.

Running your own business and being self-employed can be a profitable and exciting venture, but it also has its drawbacks. Rather than accepting that this is just the way it is, be proactive in seeking solution so that you can focus on the positives and making your small business a success.


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