11 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Business

This is a reprint from Medium.com.

Glitter was literally shooting out of my eye sockets as I quit my PR job to “be my own boss.” Then reality struck.

“A lot of people like to fool you and say that you’re not smart if you never went to college, but common sense rules over everything. That’s what I learned from selling crack.”
— Snoop Dogg


My name is Stephanie St.Claire, and I’m an unfunded entrepreneur. I’ve been in business for seven years. To get here, I engaged in my own personal and tenuous renaissance (uh… divorce) and rediscovered my Core Purpose. In other words, I grew a pair of ladyballs, launched a business, and figured out how to turn my efforts into profit.

But there was a lot to learn, some of which wasn’t covered in Who Moved My Cheese?

Throw these four rockstars into a blender, and you’ll have a composite sketch of me in the first three months of my business:

Glitter was literally shooting out of my eye sockets as I quit my PR firm job. Full of optimism, living in New York City, and surrounded by a tribe of friends who were also launching businesses, I felt it was the perfect time to make a bold move to entrepreneurship. I was now officially Living My Dream and Working For Myself, which meant I was in charge of my financial destiny and Captain of My Promising Future.

Luckily, my initial hyper-optimism buoyed me whilst, oscillating between euphoria and despair, I was slowly but systematically forced off The Magic School Bus and onto the S.S. Battleship Long Haul.

I was a quick and eager learner, but despite the hours of webinar watching, countless Friday nights pumping out site copy, and teaching myself everything I could about HTML, there were just some things I didn’t get. I had to fall on my ass to procure the “master’s degree in life survival” every entrepreneur earns on their “journey.” (Yes, those are bitterly gesticulated air quotes.)

Somehow, through that process of acceptance, while you’re busy putting yourself out there in spite of your flaws, your weaknesses will transform into assets.

Here are 11 things I wish I knew when I started my business. I hope they will save you some time, and at the very least, some anguish because — experience is a good teacher here — the sodium from your tears acts as a corrosive melting agent on all brands of premium ice cream (though it does make a superb saline for your dirty martini). Cry over a cup, oh fathomless bird of preneurial gumption!

1. Running the business is your first priority.

Your success (and financial stability) will come from expertly running your business — not writing copy, rebranding your client’s website, teaching yoga, podcasting, or making jewelry. In other words, you will spend 15 percent of your time doing what you love (your gift, in my case coaching and writing) and 85 percent marketing, administrating, selling, strategizing, and answering a shitload of email. Survival will hinge on how quickly you adopt this role of business owner first, creator of pretty things second.

This sucked for me because I wanted nothing to do with running a business. I just wanted to be a writer and a life coach who wrote and coached all day. I didn’t get it.

2. Ready to meet your soulmate? It’s you.

Entrepreneurship is the most life-changing relationship (like marriage or parenthood) that a person can have. You will be confronted overandoverandover with your fears, insecurities, crappy excuses, limitations, justifications, shitty integrity, and inefficient time management. The standard you held yourself to in the workaday world was good enough then, but it won’t be good enough to run your own business.

You will learn to accept yourself through all this because, in order to get up every day and create a profit, you will have to. Somehow, through that process of acceptance, while you’re busy putting yourself out there in spite of your flaws, your weaknesses will transform into assets. Slowly but surely, you will fall in love with yourself. Not in the over-hyped “Self Love 2018” way, but in a quiet way that sneaks up on you after witnessing a thousand splinter-sized moments of transcending the baser aspects of yourself.

3. Your trajectory for success will take as long as everyone else’s, even though you are special and brilliant.

I heard the “two-year rule” when I started my biz, but I was confident I could do it in six months. I believed with every fiber of my glittery, go-gettin’ heart that my work ethic (15-hour days, seven days a week) — along with my talent, skills, and personal magic — could rip a path to accelerated success. This was a leap of faith, one that was worth some express lane juju points from Heaven.

Jesus had other plans.

4. Running out of money is a common part of the journey.

You won’t expect it, because you prepared for the long haulYou secured a business loan, or got some investors, or sold your house (cough, cough), or have one year’s worth of savings and have planned accordingly.

But then all of the sudden, amidst the puffy clouds and blue skies, your little twin engine Entreprenairplane will sputter, the needle on the gas gauge unexpectedly plummeting to zero, and you will only have one choice: land your plane on the wild, abandoned air strip called Bank Balance: 14 Dollars. And this will be the last place you ever thought you’d crash land, because didn’t you pass this test on No More Sephora Island?

The good news is this is a rite of passage that will launch you into the League of Business Badassery in which, once you are out of the money hellhole, you will be unstoppable. You’ve been to the baddest prison there is, looked down the barrel of your worst fear, and stood your ground. You didn’t quit. You got up the next day, and you wrote your next post, created your next offering, and answered the email with zero dollars in your bank account.

There is nothing more beautiful than running out of money and realizing that you are doing your work because you’ve got the guts to push through your worst fears when there is no evidence of security. You really, truly love what you do, and you’d do it for free if you had to. Irony is a sassy bitch, isn’t she?

5. Build a hybrid stream of income.

Take a second job if it will give you peace of mind. Please don’t feel like you’re failing at your business — learn from my mistake. I was so resistant to “dividing my focus” or taking any action which I interpreted as undermining my commitment to being a successful writer and coach. Do you see the hellish mousetrap that was? I really thought that by making a Plan B, I was telling the Universe I wasn’t 100 percent serious about my success. I created a worse problem by allowing financial stress to gut me of my sanity.

If having a steady stream of part-time income would be in service to your peace of mind, do it.

I finally came to terms with the fact that I was being obnoxiously naïve about how money, peace, survival, and timing all work together, and I got a second job. By doing this, I supernaturalized my own path to freedom and self-sustainability. And since I wasn’t freaking out about money anymore, I liberated more creative real estate in my brain to apply toward my business.

Continue reading the entire article here: https://medium.com/@StephStClaire/11-things-i-wish-i-knew-when-i-started-my-business-3dc264023df5