To date I have currently been running my own small business for 5 years – wow that has gone quick! I won’t lie, there are many times I ask myself “what are you doing?” not to mention “why am I doing this?”
Being in a small business, up against the larger ones that can offer so much more because they have the finances is difficult. It takes stamina, a lot of energy and a lot of disappointments. It’s getting up and keeping going that is the biggest effort of all.
I can only share with you my experience, which of course, is why I am writing this blog!
As some of you know, I engaged in a business mentor earlier this year to help me. He has been absolutely wonderful, but he has also opened up a can of worms. A can that has my head spinning and a can that involves a lot more background to running this small business than I ever imagined.
I truly thought, he would just tell me what to do and things would run smoothly. I had no idea that there was a great deal more work involved. One thing for sure that has come out of it, nothing happens overnight. I wish it did! I have never been one for patience.
Whilst I am a good student for my mentor and he is always pleased that I have done my homework, putting things into practice takes a lot more, that’s where I wish I had a team of people that I could delegate things to and the finances to match!
Apart from my mentor who I see every 3-4 weeks, my patient friend Debby who listens to me for a bit on a weekly basis, my caring friend Shoko, who I catch up with every 5-6 weeks, my savvy friend Amanda in Ottawa, Canada (who I try and Skype, but of late it’s been about 3 months apart), my friendly confidante Dyan in the USA who I occasionally bounce ideas off and the odd feedback from the Essentrics instructors only page on Facebook, I really have NO ONE to talk to. Although reading back through this paragraph, it actually seems like I do, but I hardly talk to anyone and feel very much on my own.
One of the things that people don’t realise is the only adults I get to talk to during the day and/or evening is YOU my class participants. And of course my partner, but it’s usually in the middle of running around after our children. I do have a wonderful sister, Karyne, who I am so grateful for having in my life, that I can ring up and have a talk to and my mother, who probably wonders what on earth I am going on about now. BUT, apart from that, it’s pretty lonely on a day to day basis.
There are times, when I think it would be easier just to go back into office work, (prior to doing Essentrics I was a legal executive) and earn a lot more money. I would then be able to buy things we simply cannot afford, then I think – nah I would miss my Essentrics family too much – i.e. YOU!
So, I decided to do a list, of pros and cons of being in your own business and I will share that with you:
Work the hours you want (well, not fully, as there is evening work involved, and a lot of time during the day to do things like this blog, emails, creating routines etc - which I mentioned in a previous blog). But I can do it at my own pace and time that suits me.
Be available for my children - whilst they are still young I am available for their out of school activities, if they are sick etc, and I get to attend the odd class trip.
I can be with my children over the school holidays – I count this as a pro, but they do drive me crazy, so maybe this can be listed as a con too?
I meet amazing people – yes that’s YOU! I have met people from all walks of life and I have certainly learnt a lot. I appreciate when things are shared to me as I feel that I am trusted, which is an honour as I know how hard it is for people to trust :)
Getting results – this is a BIG one. When I hear of people getting HUGE results from doing Essentrics, it makes my heart sing! I want to hear all those great results, even the little ones. I would love to receive any testimonials you are willing to share :)
Referrals – I just LOVE it when you refer friends/family. This says to me that you love doing Essentrics and you are confident that your friends/family will love it too. It means so much to me and I am truly grateful for those of you that have done so :) The main reason why my classes are still going is because of referrals, so thank you so, so, so much!
Lunch – I can go out to lunch with friends when I don’t have a class, I can also have lunch for more than an hour if I choose, which you can’t if you are working in an office.
Having my toenails done – yes it’s a pro! As we do not wear shoes, I definitely need to have nice, clean, good looking feet! I feel it’s a must and having them done professionally is a bonus (especially when you get the chair massage as well :) :) :) ). I can also get them done in less busy times, so a win/win.
Creating routines – I LOVE this part of my business, I love the challenge of find the music (you know me, themes especially), I love being able to use my creative side.
Autonomy – HUGE – I am not sure how I would cope being told what to do again and when to do it. I am in control and I LOVE it :)
I am on my own - This is fine most of the time, but there are times I really want to talk to someone about what is going on business wise. My poor friend Debby, who most of you know really gets hammered by me when she comes over before class. I feel bad, but this is what happens when you are on your own and have nobody to talk to.
The money – I know you probably look around and do the math as some of my classes are quite big BUT that is only for the 1 hour class. The time and energy spent behind the scenes far outweighs what I get paid.
It’s just me – in this regard, I mean I have no other instructors. No one who can fill in if I am sick. Luckily I have been pretty good over the past 5 years when it comes to coughs and colds. But still, unlike a Gym they can get someone to cover you, I cannot.
I have to take a class, no matter what – unlike other jobs, if you are unwell or not feeling right, you can have a day off work. For me, I have to take a class no matter what has happened in my life. I remember when my father died, I was a mess BUT I still had to turn up to class, put a smile on my face and carry on.
Chasing payments – oh I really hate this part of it. I know it goes hand in hand with all businesses, but I do find it hard – especially when I am the one that makes friends with everyone. I certainly wish I had someone else to do this.
Taking holidays in the school term break – whilst this is not really a negative, it is. Mainly because everything increases in price over the school holidays, so it’s an expensive time to travel (not that I go away much these days).
Only being paid for the classes I take – like many contractors, this too of course relates to me. If I do have time off, I don’t get paid and I only get paid term to term. So there is no sick pay or holiday pay.
Never knowing whether I have a class – I never really truly know whether a class is going ahead the next term until I receive emails back from you. I require a minimum of 8 (although that number may increase as the venue hire places have increased). Most times I am totally stressing out as many of you leave it until the last minute to let me know. I understand that is human nature, but to me – well, it’s nail biting time! Especially as I have to pre-pay for the whole term ahead without knowing whether you are going to return.
Being let down – this relates to all aspects in life and all businesses, but here is my take: Obviously without you, there is no class. I always hope that you will return. I know people’s lives change, but it’s hard to think that it’s you changing your circumstances and it’s not me personally. This also goes for new people trying the class, many people tell me how wonderful they feel and say they are going to return, then never do. I think I would prefer people to be honest and tell me the truth. Yes, I want everyone to love Essentrics and return to class, but I do appreciate that it may not suit all. However, to be "led down a garden path", with many emails over weeks/months, well let’s say that really gets to me.
People wanting things for nothing – I feel my classes are pretty reasonable price wise, plus I am an instructor with a lot of experience (which I would think would account for a lot), but there are still those who want more and more without consideration of my time, nor a thank you. I will leave that there.
People who really need counselling – as an instructor you hear all sorts of things and I keep that information to myself, so please note I would never share anything that you say to me with anyone else. On the whole it is absolutely fine, as mentioned above, I feel honoured and worthy when you share things with me. But, sometimes, the line can be crossed and I feel that I do not have the skills to deal with what you may tell me. If you really have issues, please go and see someone that can help, yes I will listen, but sometimes that listening goes on for a long time before or after class. Its very taxing for me trying to set up class while I am being talked to. I need to get my head in the right space and to be focussing on what I am about to do.
Not being appreciated – ok I know you don’t get appreciated in your everyday job unless you have a good boss. Then again, when you are on your own, you pretty much bust a gut (ok it’s for yourself), but there is no recognition for what you do. Apart from the odd person who says something to you that really makes you smile and reminds you why, you do what you do.
Getting new people to class – again, you may look around class and say ‘wow look at all these people’ BUT many people have been with me since day 1. I am lucky that they continue to come to class, however, it is very hard to get new people to come along. Hence why referrals are so important and I stress once again that I am truly grateful to those of you who refer friends. Advertising is very costly and for me does not really have much effect, which leads me into the next one…….
People not knowing what Essentrics is – this is a tough one. Even after the article written in Stuff.co.nz about it, people still commented on their page – oh its just Yoga. Ummmmm, no it is not. Once more, having finances to do an ad on TV or a big ad in a magazine or local rag, would be amazing. Well I would, if I could.
Having more instructors - this would certainly help me. If anyone is interested in training up and becoming an instructor, even if it is just to fill in for me when needed, do let me know. In this regard, you need to be willing to learn, be reliable and be able to commit. It takes time.
So, looking back at my lists, it looks like there are more cons than pros……….but if I compare my pros and cons of going back to office work full time, I think there would be more cons than pros – apart from the money, which of course is the main reason we work! But to me, you have to have career satisfaction.
Being in business on your own is challenging, especially by yourself. Consequently why many people don’t do it, or stick with it. They say it takes 3 years for a business to thrive, if you make it in 3 years, then the hardest part is over. I personally think part of that is true, but I also think that you have to be passionate about it, love what you do and consistently put the effort into it.
If you lose the passion, the determination and the enjoyment, then there is absolutely no reason to continue. I am definitely not at this stage as I LOVE what I do, I would LOVE it to be a bit easier at times and I would LOVE to have more people to share my passion with.
Baby steps……….watch this space :)