When I decided to make the jump and work for myself, I knew that running a business would be no easy thing. I’m the daughter of business owners, the sibling of business owners, the mentee of business owners, the ghostwriter of business owners. I’m literally surrounded with people close to me that own and run businesses from the very modest to the very huge. And regardless of the scale, it’s something that is as energizing as it is frustrating. Everyday feels different to me. Most days, I love it. Some days, I’m tired of it. And when the latter happens, I have to come back to the things that I know will keep me sane.
Those sanity checks come in a few forms, but they never fail to bring me back to feeling the momentum and excitement of what it is that I’m building. So, whether you’re living that freelance life, or running a huge business with a ton of employees, or somewhere in between, consider these things to make business ownership easier, to feel confident about your future, and to make the workload lighter.
First, you’ve got to have the right tools. There are SO many platforms out there, but finding the ones that make your pain points less painful is super important. My pain points are expenses and taxes. Keeping track of them. Keeping receipts. Keeping an eye out on what’s being spent and when. Y’all know I’m a QuickBooks lover, and even more so because QuickBooks Self Employed lets me sort and track all my expenses – on desktop and from my phone. I can sort what’s business and what’s personal with a single swipe. Makes tax time easier, also because QuickBooks has a sales tax calculator that tells me what I need to be sending out at each quarter. It auto updates with rules and rates according to state, and minimizes the likelihood of a notice or audit. Thank god. I use a bunch of tools over and beyond QuickBooks too, most of which are on the QuickBooks app store and help with everyday business needs. It’s nice because they’re pre-vetted by people doing what I’m doing: owning a business.
Second, you’ve got to have community. When I get completely overwhelmed, or don’t know what I should do, or don’t know what I should charge, or don’t know what to do next…I call my other business owner friends. Having a community of people who know your challenges and get your challenges is hugely important. No, your friends don’t all need to get exactly what you do and how you do it, but you do need to carve out a community and shared experiences with people who share in your experience. It’s why I’m passionate about building community, about bringing people together around our collective challenges, about creating offline experiences. And PS, one of my favorite large-scale gatherings of a community of business owners is QuickBooks Connect, which I’ve been a speaker at in previous years and always learn so much myself.
Third, you’ve got to reflect on how far you’ve come. I heard this quote recently that fully characterized how I feel about being a business owner – “Sometimes you’re succeeding so slowly you feel like you’re failing.” And it’s TRUTH. The only way I have found that I can get back to seeing that success is by taking a minute to look behind me and see how far I’ve come. So, remember to take time to breathe and really assess all that you’ve done while you’re worried about all that you’re doing next. Reflection always brings everything into perspective.
Business ownership at any level is invigorating, challenging and a wild ride. But it’s so worth it. We’re all in this together, and sometimes we just need a little reminder about what makes it easier when it’s feeling heavy.
This post was created in partnership with Quickbooks Self-Employed. So many of us are figuring out this dream together…I wanted to let you know what helps me!