Embarking on the journey of starting your own business requires immense courage and unwavering dedication. However, it can be incredibly disheartening when, after taking the plunge, you find yourself met with deafening silence. For many first-time entrepreneurs, it’s even more frustrating to have an abundance of implied interest without any paying clients or sales.
In those early days, which can often stretch into weeks, months, or even years, before clients start clamoring to work with you, it can be challenging to discern where to channel your daily efforts effectively.
Start Preparing for Significant Growth
In the nascent stages of your business, it’s easy to become ensnared in the frustration of not yet achieving the level of bustling success you envision. It’s even simpler to get caught up binge-watching your favorite TV series or returning to bed, awaiting the slow trickle of sales. Nevertheless, this dormant phase in your business journey presents an opportune moment to lay the foundation for a sustainable entrepreneurial venture and life. Here are three essential steps you should take now, rather than postponing them:
Establish Set Working Hours
Right from day one, it’s crucial to approach your business with the professionalism it deserves. This includes adhering to a regular routine, such as showering daily (particularly if you operate from a home-based setup) and changing out of your pajamas. Equally vital is the commitment to fixed working hours. This not only serves as a fundamental consideration for your future clients but also plays a pivotal role in your mental state. Setting these dedicated hours enhances your work-life balance by defining the boundaries between your professional commitments and personal life.
This doesn’t mean you must rigidly adhere to a 9-to-5 schedule daily. If, like me, you transitioned from a structured full-time job to gain the flexibility of setting your own hours, you should craft a schedule that suits your lifestyle. The key is to construct your daily plan now, ensuring it aligns with the expectations of your business and clients in the future.
Work Smart Tip: Decide on your daily or weekly hours, allocate tasks to be accomplished within those timeframes, and commit to your schedule.
Cover Legal and Financial Foundations
What’s the legal structure of your business—LLC, S-Corp, or perhaps a sole proprietorship? How do you plan to handle your business taxes this year—quarterly payments or a single payment by April 15th? Are there additional local taxes tied to conducting business in your city? When was the last time you drafted a contract? These are vital questions to ask and aspects to organize while you’re still in the process of building your client base.
Adding a few specifics to a lawyer-approved contract is far simpler when your first client is poised to sign on the dotted line, compared to the chaos of a last-minute scramble. You have the time now, so put it to good use. Rest assured, your future self will greatly appreciate having covered the legal and financial groundwork in advance, allowing you to focus on your clients later.
Work Smart Tip: Schedule two appointments today—one with your business attorney and another with your accountant. Collaborate with them to formalize your business structure (if needed), draft a comprehensive contract, and get ready for the upcoming tax season and record the sales.
Embrace Continuous Learning
If you have a penchant for learning, you’re already ahead of the game. The initial stages of launching your business provide a prime opportunity for expanding your knowledge. Self-education should be an ongoing, lifelong endeavor for any small business owner. Your presence here, reading YFS Magazine, is testament to that understanding.
Maximize this free time by enrolling in courses, participating in live talks, attending conferences and webinars, and devouring business literature. Seek every chance to broaden your horizons and establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry. Most importantly, put your newfound knowledge into action. Learning should not be an excuse for procrastination or procrastination; rather, it should be a means to continually augment your knowledge base. This, in turn, allows you to provide greater value to your clients and enhance the products or services you offer.
Work Smart Tip: Enroll in a class, sign up for an online course, participate in a webinar, or subscribe to a business-related e-newsletter. Alternatively, acquire a business book that has piqued your interest. Implement at least one new idea you’ve gleaned into your business immediately. Remember, learning is valuable when accompanied by action to acquire sales.