There are a ton of statistics out there about a small businesses. According to a 2015 study, 310 out of 100,000 adults start a new business each month. That means that over 500,000 new business owners per month! Women make up 36% of all businesses according to the 2012 U.S. Census, and that number is continuing to grow!
It may be a harsh reality, but according to research, about two-thirds of businesses will make it through 2 years of business, half of all businesses will never celebrate their 5th anniversary, and only one third will make it to 10 years.
As a woman owned small business, those numbers are both incredible (yay to having more women going for their dreams and starting their business) and also terrifying (what do you mean that The Paper + Craft Pantry may not be around in a few years?) Even though we've been in the small business world for going on two years, we're still learning and growing every single day.
On the outside and through the lens of social media, owning a small business seems like the best thing in the world. And it, sometimes, is but most of the time it's a lot of hard work and things no one would photograph and add a cute caption to. Owning a small business can appear to be effortless and fun but what most people don't see is the number or hours, sacrifices, financial and emotional investment that goes into having your business support you (and maybe even employees)
So, we're busting a few small business myths that we wish we had known when we first started, in the hopes it inspires you from getting caught up with the veil of entrepreneurship.
1. You need a physical space, shop, brick & mortar to run your business.
Owning a physical space and having a studio to work from is the end goal for a lot of entrepreneurs. It means your business is growing so much you've outgrown your home office, it could mean your online sales are so robust you want to sell in person!
But some things to consider: when you have a physical space, shop, brick & mortar or studio, you now have an obligation to paying rent. This will, likely, be a pretty hefty check you have to write monthly. This will not include insurance, misc repairs, internet bills, and electricity bills. If you're operating a retail space, are you prepared to work at the shop daily? If you're just starting out, it's unlikely you have it in your operating expenses to hire someone.
The truth is, this path is different for everyone. And a lot of people quickly realize that having a physical space turns into a burden that's thrown on top of the responsibilities of running a creative business. And there are also others who thrive when they open up a store front.
Take the time to evaluate your why behind wanting a physical space—are you in the position to be able to sacrifice the cash flow that could potentially be profit for your business?
2. If you're a small business owner, you should be paying yourself a salary in 6 months and making "X" dollars per year!
How many of you out there feel pressured to be making tens and thousands of dollars, because it only seems fair if you're the owner, founder, CEO etc. of your own company!
Many small businesses don't turn a profit for the first two to three years. Whoever started this "6 months" timeline may have been the exception, but the reality is that most small businesses reinvest every single penny they earn back into their business.
So take the pressure off a little! More than likely, you're doing just fine and only you can decide how much your salary should be (based on what you actually want and need, not what society or someone else tells you!)
3. You have to do it all—you have to work with everyone, take every opportunity, and grow, grow grow!
It may seem like a no-brainer, money = revenue. So, you need to figure out a way to generate cash flow quickly! It's SO tempting to take every opportunity that comes your way, expand your product line so there's something for everyone, or offer your services at a discounted rate because you just want to get a client—any client.
Take a step back. Are you diluting your audience? You can't possibly be the business for everyone, just like in life, you're probably not going to be everyone's cup of tea. Same with offering discounted rates or taking on clients and projects that don't align with your business, is this going to take you away from the true clients you want to work with?
Good things take time. This saying couldn't be more true when it comes to a small business. Overnight sensations aren't usually overnight, a lot of folks have worked for years to get to where they are today.
It's good to grow, but it's even better to grow intentionally. And if you were looking for someone to tell you it's okay to not work with everyone, we're happy to oblige. You DO NOT have to work with everyone. You do not have to take on every project. And you don't have to sign every client!
What are some small business myths you've discovered along your small business journey? Let us know below!
What are some small business myths you've discovered along your small business journey? Let us know in the comments below! 👇🏼