This ones for the mums and dads… So, you think you want to start your own business? We get it – you’re fed up of work, you’re fed up of your boss, you’re fed up of earning a pittance to line someone else’s pockets, you want to work around your family & social activities.

And so you keep dreaming about working for yourself, about having the lifestyle you love, about all the money and time off over the school holidays…

The harsh reality of starting a new business

Wake up! The reality is that it’s hard work. If you really want this it’s not going to be a walk in the park, at least not initially. In the early days of becoming self-employed, it’s much more likely you’ll be working long hours, you’ll be stuck with all the boring tasks until you can afford to outsource them or employ someone to do the things you find tedious, plus you’ll work more hours than you think, and even when not ‘working’ business will be on your mind 24/7.

Being self-employed means all the responsibility lies with you, all the decisions you make are going to directly impact your new business venture, all the pressure of being in charge is yours – and that can be a lot of pressure and sometimes a daunting feeling.

Not to mention trying to juggle all this with bringing up a family.

Freedom and flexibility are all yours

However, there are upsides too. You can do it your way and will gain a massive sense of control, not just over your work, but overall areas of your life and the future that you are mapping out for yourself. You can try any new ideas you have, with no line management to tackle first. You can work flexibly around your children or other commitments if that’s what you’re aiming for. You can set up your working environment to suit you, have the desk you want with that huge picture you’ve always wanted hanging above it, wear the clothes you want to be comfortable in (even your PJs if you work from home!) and project the image you want to be projected to customer and clients.

Have you got what it takes to be self-employed?

You’re going to need confidence and determination in bucket loads to take your business forward and get your message out there. You’ll need to be independent yet mix well with others, it’s likely you’ll need to have direct contact with customers and suppliers on a regular basis, so good communication skills are important.

Flexibility will need to be your new best friend – things will change, from the day-to-day little stuff, to the major big stuff, and you need to be ready to adapt in order to survive, for both your home life, and in your business – take Woolworths as an example; they failed to adapt quick enough to changing shopping habits, changes to technology and changing needs of the consumer. I’m sure we all miss Woolies but that’s what happens when you’re not flexible and ready to adapt!

You’ve got to be resilient too, you need to be made of the strong stuff. It will be tough, people will say no, people will say it’s a rubbish idea, people will say they don’t like your products, people will complain about your service. You’ve got to be prepared for this, deal with issues as they come along, smile, take on board criticism (see if they’ve got a valid point and if you need to change something) and be prepared to bounce back after every knock.

If you don’t believe in yourself and your business, who will?

You must believe in yourself, your ideas, your vision, your products or your service. If you don’t, then potential customers won’t.

And never let anyone else crush your ideas either – Lord Alan Sugar thought the iPod would be dead within a year. He was quoted to have said to a journalist “Next Christmas the iPod will be dead, finished, gone, kaput.” That was in 2005. Just because someone else doesn’t support your ideas, even if they’re a professional in business, doesn’t mean your ideas won’t work. They just don’t get your vision. That’s fine, not everyone one will.

But your ideal customers will and in the end that’s what really matters.