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3 Things I Learned from Starting My Own Business

By Kale Abrahamson, co-founder and CEO of Nine University. Many would argue that the prospect of starting your own business is both freeing and empowering. The rigidity of consistently clocking in long hours at the same desk, in the same office building, sitting next to the same few people every day, can stifle creativity and a sense […]

By Kale Abrahamson, co-founder and CEO of Nine University.

Many would argue that the prospect of starting your own business is both freeing and empowering. The rigidity of consistently clocking in long hours at the same desk, in the same office building, sitting next to the same few people every day, can stifle creativity and a sense of purpose in many employees, especially younger ones. Add to this the ease that technology has afforded today’s workforce in launching a new product or service directly from scratch, with significantly less overhead cost. 

The initial process of actually actingon this desire, however, can all at once be both thrilling and daunting. When I made the decision to start my own business the first, second AND third time, [ER1] I can recall having similar feelings. During my experience, I found that the following strategies have helped guide me through any uncertainty or unease that accompanied the excitement of starting your own business.  

  1. Using credit cards isn’t always bad.  

Financing a new business can be a primary source of agony in the first year or so of operation. I started my Amazon FBA Business on credit cards, which may sound risky to some. But according to an October 2017 surveyby the National Small Business Association (SBA), 31% of small businesses had used a credit card for financing over the past year. Here are some key benefits to using credit cards for new business financing: 

  • Convenient access to revolving credit. You can easily cover gaps in cash flow and pay off short-term expenses. This is a perk for early businesses with inconsistent or sporadic revenue. 
  • Faster turn-around than going after a business loan, which can take multiple months. 
  • Deferred interest on financing. I used zero interestcredit cards, which allow you to maintain an interest-free credit card for a period of time. 
  • The ability to rack up rewards points. I used my high number of airline miles from early transactions to fund important business travel. 
  • The chance to build up your business credit, which is appealing to potential lenders later. 

These benefits are certainly appealing to a number of businesses, but it is important to note the associated risks as well before selecting a financing method. For instance, according to a study, small businesses harm their long-term likelihood of survival by over 2% for every $1,000 they take on in credit card debt. On a broader, more personal level, start-up founders can also suffer from lowered credit scores following their credit card “misuse.”

2.  Wearing sweatpants is ok, even great. 

I think many start-up founders and sole proprietors would agree that one of the best things about working for yourself is choosing your own hours/schedule. Perhaps another, (less commonly voiced) perk is wearing what you like without the social stigma that comes with doing so in a more traditional office setting.  This is unlikely a majorreason for quitting your 9-5 job or starting the entrepreneurship journey. Trust me, though, it is one you appreciate on a day to day basis, especially after years of wearing a suit, skirt or dress. Take advantage of the time you have to dress the way you want. While a recent Indeed.com studyreportedmore corporate offices are allowingathleisure style attire through their doors, there is an inevitable limit to this allowance when there are employees of different ages, genders, races and walks of life. At home your only risk is potential ridicule or disdainful looks from your roommate, spouse, child or dog. 

3. Being a natural workaholic can be an asset, but learn how to turn it off. 

Entrepreneurship can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.  If you are like me, though, there is always something you could be doing to improve your business.  So, you end up working all the time (or thinking about work all the time).  In a survey of 500 startup founders, up to 70% reportedly believed being a start-up founder to be more work than working for an employer. To minimize burnout, I’ve found the key is to be presentand focusedwhen you are working on the business. During those moments of the day, grindand work hard with a passion. And then, when you are done, REALLY put it aside, and focus on your family, your hobbies, and those otherpassions that matter enough for you to risk by starting a business in the first place.

 [E

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