It has been quite some time since I have put anything on the internet either for this blog or anywhere else. I have been busy doing something that scares me to no end. I have started something. I started a small business. My small business is a private counseling office.
I thought that life would slow down once I graduate from grad school but I realize that God doesn’t always work that way. He has constantly pushed me from one thing to the next in the last four or five years. I also have come to understand that idle time for me is not good for my well being. Not that I don’t take time for myself. I must practice good self care and spend ample time with friends and family. What I mean is that my mind needs to be occupied with something or it starts to wander into areas I don’t need to stay long. Truthfully, I become a blob of anxiety and worry.
I have learned many things in the short two months since I have been in practice. Some of those things I will share with you now.
You need to form a budget for startup costs. Make sure you look at all the license and fees from opening a business to what it will take to setup the office. Things like furniture and fixtures. Once you think you have thought of everything – add 10% of the total to the budget and put that under misc. You will spend more than you think, might as well plan for it up front. If you are not certain how good you are with prepping a budget, you might want to add a few more percentage points to the total.
Your personal life will not slow down for you while you take this time-out to plan for a small business. If anything it will speed up. Or at a minimum, it will seem like it has sped up. Remember to take time to slow yourself down and take deep breaths. Go for a walk in the woods where cell service is spotty at best. Everything around you will seem like it is moving at warp speed. Mindfully and intentionally do things slower. It helps here if you have a support system in place. Either a spouse, or friends that are fully behind you. They will let you know that you are in your head too much and you need to take a break. Speaking of support systems, you need to have consulted the people God put in your life about this before you do it. Sometimes they are the ones that can make sure you do a double check on the logistics of what you are planning.
You will experience crushing self doubt. You will wake up in the morning and think to yourself that you have made a huge mistake. You will constantly tell yourself you are not good enough. The fact is you might not be. Another fact is that you might be. If you have planned for this career move and you have prayed about it and you feel like you are being led to this, do it. Who cares if you fail. I don’t have to mention in this post about all the people who failed multiple times and then were a success. If you have read a business book from the last three decades you know all those people by heart.
Starting anything new means that people don’t know you. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a name sake that people identify in your area or some sort of fan base already, you are going to need a niche that sets you apart. The first thing you will think of is price. I will just be cheaper than everyone around me. Okay, that is a good first step. You need to build business and one way to do that is to be cheaper — you need more. Price isn’t going to keep people coming. You need to fill a need that the market has. Find a hole in which you can squeeze yourself and be vocal about being in the space. Just focusing on being cheaper is a fast way to get in trouble with cash flow. Which leads me to my last section.
You need to make the cash flow (just a little accountant humor). You might not be selling a product. It might be a service you are selling like me and my counseling. The need for hustle is still present. When you start a business you become CEO and tier one sales person. You are the only way (if you are a one person shop) people are going to know about what you do. You must find ways to be found. Sounds almost poetic, right? Anyway, you will resort to doing things that you once would have said were shameful. Not in a moral sense but for instance; at a local event where I am they have this Geocaching event there were caches stored on the grounds. When my daughter found a cache – I dropped a couple of business cards in the cache. Shameful? Maybe. I would have thought twice about it once upon a time. Now, the only thing I could think of was I got my card into someone’s hand. I have a lease to pay, after all.
Is this a comprehensive list? No. (For that I can sell you consulting services, ha!) You need to figure out what you are good at inside of your profession. Find out how that need is not being met or is not being met in the best way. Then, make a plan to fill that need using a new method or in a new fashion. Remember, you might fail. I might fail. I will have to tell everyone that I couldn’t keep a practice going. It will hurt a little. Still, it is a guarantee that I will learn things and I will grow through this process. You will too. Pack some PB&Js, band-aids, and tissues. This ride is going to be bumpy.