What no one ever tells you when you start your business

By Jill Chivers

Starting a business is a bit like putting on a dinner party. The actual dinner party is the fun part.

The lead-up to, and the cleaning up after, is not so fun. But they are extremely necessary. In fact, without all the things that lead up to a great dinner party, there IS no dinner party.

And starting a business is a bit like that. Your focus, as the business founder and entrepreneur, is often on the dinner party itself. You’re keen to have all those people over, and to serve them fabulous food and delicious drinks, and provide them with an entertaining and memorable evening. You’re looking forward to the fun, the connection, the experience.

And that’s all great. There’s nothing wrong with looking forward to the party itself.

So long as you remember, and have a clear focus on, all the many things you have to do to get there, and to ensure it’s going to be one heck of a party.

The truth of the matter

And here’s the truth of the matter: some, if not many, of the things you need to do in preparation to a great dinner party, aren’t fun. They aren’t sexy. They aren’t noteworthy, or post worthy.

And if you’re not prepared for that, it can seem like a long hard slog, with too much to do, and without a lot of fun or fulfilling payoff.

And this is what no one ever tells you when you start your business. They don’t tell you about how much time, energy, money, heart and soul go into all the preparation activities. How hard it can be. How much perseverance you have to have. How much grunt it sometimes takes.

And how little of this work actually shows – it’s often far behind the scenes.  It’s often unseen but incredibly necessary.

So much of what is shared with budding entrepreneurs is the sexy stuff of finding your passion, and doing soul work. All of which is great. It just isn’t the full story.

This is something else no one ever tells you when you start your business: passion is great, but it does not make for a great business, not on its own. Passion is one ingredient, but you can’t make a great meal from one ingredient.

The day it starts to pay off

The day you open your doors (virtually or on a real store) is the day it starts to pay off all your hard work. For all the nights you stayed up late writing, and rewriting, and rewriting your website copy. For all the time you invested in learning how to blog, or learning how WordPress works, or learning how to do your own books. For all the time and heart you invested into creating your first seminar or preparing for your first speaking gig.

Starting a business is an exciting time. When you look back after a few years, or even a few months, you’ll wish you could have bottled that time – it’s so precious. And I want you to enjoy it, and relish every moment.

Equally, I want you to have your eyes wide open as to what lies in front of you, and what it’s going to take to sustain your enthusiasm for your business. You’re playing a long game now.