Challenges and Successes of Being a Small Business Owner

Being a business owner can be very rewarding–it can also be very challenging, even frustrating, at times. That’s the yin/yang of entrepreneurship, and, while I wouldn’t trade it for life back in the “corporate jungle,” I have to admit there are ups and downs.

1) My three biggest frustrations or setbacks have been:

Finding the right balance between finding new work and doing the work that I have. It’s very important to continue prospecting for new business/accounts even when you’re very, very busy with existing work–but that can, for obvious reasons, be very difficult to do.

Finding focus! Especially when just starting a business, it’s tough to turn down projects or work, or to not try to be all things to all people. But, those who are most successful are able to find a specific area of focus–or niche–so they can more effectively target their desired audiences. Does that mean that you won’t, on occasion, take on a new client or project that is not in your “sweet spot”? No. But, it does mean that in most of your efforts — including any marketing materials — you need to maintain a clear focus on your primary desired audience.

The ebb and flow of work. In some regards I actually think the “good times” can be more challenging than the bad. When I started my business, I was very thrifty and conservative in terms of personal — and even business — expenditures. As my business has grown, though, so have my spending habits. I need to constantly remind myself that downturns could still occur in the future so that I am conscientiously saving, both to cover those potential downturns and for my eventual retirement (many years from now!).

2) My three biggest successes have been:

Sustaining my business over the past 6.5 years and maintaining a lifestyle that is even better than the one I had when employed full-time.

Growing my client base, primarily through referrals, which is rewarding because it indicates that I am serving my clients well–meeting, and exceeding, their expectations.

Receiving “over the transom” requests from prospects, collaborators or others who have heard of my work and are either looking for the types of services I provide or simply wanting to make a connection.

I’m curious to hear from other business owners and solopreneurs out there. What are your areas of greatest reward? What are your areas of greatest frustration?

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

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