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5 Hidden Truths to Starting Your Own Business - Online Marketing Coach, Website Design, Email Lists, Blogs, Social Media, Training, Consulting

5 Hidden Truths to Starting Your Own Business

Okay, show of hands.

Who read Thursday’s 5 Harsh Realities of Making a Living Online on Copyblogger?

If you haven’t, you should: author Jon Morrow goes on the warpath against all those “gurus” who try to sell you on becoming an entrepreneurial millionaire in three easy steps.  The post actually has less to do with making a living online and more to do with the fact that being an entrepreneur takes work.

A lot of work.

Anyway, the post got me thinking.  The truth is, I learned a lot in my first six months as an entrepreneur that was never covered in any “how to run your own business” course or blog.  Not by a long shot.

Here’s what they don’t tell you about starting your own business:


Hidden Truth #1: You Gotta Be Willing to Learn Scary Things

The chances are astronomically high that you don’t know everything about running your own business.  In fact, if you’re anything like me, there are tons of areas where you’ll start out knowing practically nothing.  Bookkeeping and taxes, for one. Website coding, for another.

You can’t afford to hire someone to do everything that you don’t know how to do, so you’re going to have to learn enough about them to get by.  And not just the techie stuff, like how to set up a website.  You also need to wrap your head around some big ideas, such as why you need a website, and how to market, and a basic understanding of how your finances work.

Bottom line: if you aren’t willing to explore and embrace new ideas, you won’t get far as an entrepreneur.


Hidden Truth #2: Know Thyself – Productively

Contrary to what Corporate America would have you think, not everyone is at their peak productivity between 9 am and 5 pm.  As it turns out, when you remove those artificial barriers, everyone has their own rhythm to the day, and their own periods of peak productivity for different kinds of tasks.

For example, I rarely get any work done if I’m not at my computer by 10:00 am.  I also know that if I have a big creative project (such as a blog post, client proposal, or tough website integration issue), I’m at my best first thing in my work day.  Some people love to work intensively for two or three days, then take several days off. Others like to establish set routines, or work at night, or like to work alone or with a partner.

Bottom line: Expect to take a month or so to really figure out when you’re most productive overall, and when you’re most productive at specific tasks.


Hidden Truth #3: The weekends are still weekends to everyone else

This seems obvious, but let me assure you that it is not.  Unless the vast majority of your friends are also entrepreneurs, you’ll still receive invitations to get together on the weekends for lunches or dinners, trips to the farmer’s market, or your friend’s son’s little league game.

None of which is bad, as long as you plan for it.  There’s nothing worse than planning to spend a whole weekend working on your new e-book, only to feel awful because you have to refuse an invitation to dinner with your friends or family.  This is especially true of spouses and children, who have probably waited all week to spend some quality time with you, only to find you holed up in your office all weekend.

Bottom line: When figuring out your work schedule, remember that your weekends are a hot commodity, and plan accordingly.


Hidden Truth #4: Be Confident & Consistent About Setting Boundaries

As a passionate entrepreneur, our business and personal lives are blurred together.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in your email, your clients, or your projects and forget to take time to spend with your friends and family.

But that’s not what I mean when I talk about setting boundaries.  As you work with clients, either in a service-based or product-based business, you’ll discover certain things that really set you off. Usually, these are little things, like a client who always talks your ear off about her dogs for 15 minutes, or the client who wants to text message you instead of calling or emailing.

Luckily, these are also easy things to prevent.  When something sets you off, be quick to figure out what annoys you and how you can set a boundary or system in place so that it doesn’t happen in the future.  Communicate that clearly to your clients, and be prepared to reinforce it if necessary.

Bottom line: Only you can set the clear boundaries that will keep your work life a happy place to be.


Hidden Truth #5: Fake It Till You Make It

This is, without a doubt, the best mantra for any entrepreneur or small business owner.  In the course of building your business, you’ll run smack dab into your fears, doubts, and insecurities.  You’ll want everything to be perfect, to nail down that last detail, to make one last revision. At some point, you have to say “it’s good enough,” and move on to the next task.

The same theory applies to marketing your new business, whether in person or online. Confidence is everything – the more you fake being super confident in yourself and your services, the more people will assume that you are a pro at everything you do.

Bottom line: expect to fake your way through your fears and insecurities. Over time, you’ll acquire knowledge and experience that will replace those pesky insecurities.


Forewarned is Forearmed

90% of small business owners will fail within three years.  Those odds aren’t so surprising when you think about how many balls we have to juggle in the air just to make our businesses run.

So before you leave, take a moment to leave a comment below about your “no one ever told me” moment in your own business.  “Forewarned is forearmed,” as my mother used to say!

~ Felicity

[hana-code-insert name=’Felicity Fields Author Bio’ /] 


Create your page, decide what & when to post, & attract your first fans.


  1. charlene

    awesome post….simple, practical, wise. love it.
    no one ever told me that the greatest tool i would ever find to help me create my business is inside me….knowing who i am and staying true to that in all things.

    • Felicity Fields
      Felicity Fields04-11-2012

      Thanks, Charlene! People told me that being “me” was the best way to run my business, but I didn’t listen. I spent a lot of time doing it the way it should be done, instead of the way I wanted to do it. Glad you seem to have found yourself and stayed true to that!

  2. Helen Clement
    Helen Clement04-09-2012

    Excellent post, Felicity. The point about weekends definitely resonates with me.

    No one ever told me how difficult it is to move a business from one state to another. I have naively and optimistically tried to do so — more than once, because I am *that* optimistic — and it has required starting over from scratch, and even then not succeeded. For a while I thought “location-independence” would be the answer, but I am not so sure now.

    • Felicity Fields
      Felicity Fields04-11-2012

      Hi Helen,

      Thanks! The weekend thing still amazes me, but I think it’s because I don’t have a spouse or kids, so it just never occurred to me.

      I’ve never tried to move businesses between states, but it sounds awful. Maybe you just pick a place where your business is located, and then travel the world anyways? I’d like to do that someday.
      Felicity Fields recently posted..5 Hidden Truths to Starting Your Own Business

  3. Yvette

    Fantastic post and so true!! Let’s see no one ever told me that building a business was going to be more a personal growth journey than anything else. Discovering who you truly are, what you are made of and staying true to your values!

    • Felicity Fields
      Felicity Fields04-11-2012

      Hi Yvette,

      Thanks for the awesome comment! I think people told me it was going to be a personal journey, but since I already knew myself pretty well (or thought I did), I focused on the stuff I didn’t know. As it turns out, there was a lot more to discover about myself!

  4. Sabra

    I totally resonate with this post. I had no idea I would need to learn about marketing and how to market and all of the details that is marketing. I thought it was enough to be excellent at my craft. Great post. Sage advice.

    • Felicity Fields
      Felicity Fields04-11-2012

      HI Sabra,

      I totally hear you. Even though I’m in marketing now, I didn’t start out there. I thought being a great writer & editor would be enough for me to start a copy writing business. Boy was I wrong! Luckily for me, I really like this marketing stuff, but it’s sure not where I intended to go with my business. 🙂

  5. nasrine

    YES YES YES! It’s a lot to learn but someone once mentioned to me that it took me 14 years to become a professor and now that I changed my scope a lil bit I need to learn everything AGAIN which is great however I there is a learning curve for me. I love learning however, it does put me in a somewhat uncomfy place at times, but again, it’s something I KNOW I must do! I love your tip #4, which is something that I KNOW I always say and do my best to follow, again I am still learning!
    nasrine recently posted..I am a Citizen

    • Felicity Fields
      Felicity Fields04-11-2012

      One of the most difficult parts about being a one-woman shop is that we’re genius at some things, and awful at others. You’re always learning, which to me is a huge upside, but it can be frustrating. Thanks for the comment, Nasrine!

  6. Christie Halmick
    Christie Halmick04-10-2012

    We are a family of 2 entrepreneurs with completely different productive hours, which can be a challenge. I’m a morning person, so I’m up working early and to bed early. If I deviate too much from that routine I know that I don’t accomplish as much as I want. So we’ve learned to give each other the space/time we need to do our best work.
    Christie Halmick recently posted..Women Branching Out: Genna McWhinnie

    • Felicity Fields
      Felicity Fields04-11-2012

      Wow, Christie – that sounds tough! Do you carve out a day to spend with each other?

      If my boyfriend and I were ever to live together, we’d run into the same problem. He’s writing is doctoral dissertation, and he’s up all night working on it. Me, I love staying up at night, but I’m most productive in the early morning.

      Thanks for the comment!

  7. Laurie Erdman | Chronic Wellness Coach
    Laurie Erdman | Chronic Wellness Coach04-10-2012

    Awesome post. Such great advice. I wish I had seen this a year ago when I started out. And amen to hard work. It’s easy to people who have made it and are traveling all the time and think you can have that NOW. But no. There is a lot of friggin’ work. So you better love what you do.

    Thanks for the post.
    Laurie Erdman | Chronic Wellness Coach recently posted..Would You Walk On Fire To Get More Energy?

  8. Felicity Fields
    Felicity Fields04-11-2012

    Thanks for your comment, Laurie! And you’re right – it’s great to have the ideal of people who’ve made it, but there’s a lot of work between where we are and where they are.

  9. Jennifer Peek | Creative Business Strategist
    Jennifer Peek | Creative Business Strategist04-11-2012

    Jon’s posts are some of the best I read – love his writing and his message. Having it as inspiration for your own list is great! I think my two favorite points are #3 and #5. I fall into the husband and two active kids category so there are plenty of activity demands on our time. For me, the solution has been to take advantage of time where I find it – and that gets a bit to #2. Being as productive as possible when I can is the key to getting anything done – and sometimes that’s at 4 a.m. 🙂

    To echo Laurie’s comment, anyone starting a business should read Jon’s post and yours as an entrance exam. Then they will at least know what they are getting into!
    Jennifer Peek | Creative Business Strategist recently posted..Weekly Q+A:: Gettin’ In the Mood

    • Felicity Fields
      Felicity Fields04-12-2012

      Thanks for the feedback, Jennifer! I also am in love with Jon’s writing – he’s funny and full of tough-love without being overwhelming.

      I can’t imagine having a husband and two kids – you must be a superwoman! That whole find time where it’s available is so not my style. But I’m glad it works for you!

  10. Tanesha

    And so it” engaged in conduct indicating questionable provide business integrity, gratitude, value and quality of work on weekends. Authorities conducting a covert search of Bishop’s, said companies with city contracts.
    Tanesha recently posted..Tanesha

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