Imagine that you’ve been offered an amazing job, but one of the conditions is that you never knew when you were going to get paid, or how much would land in your account. You’d hesitate right?

After all, how would you pay your rent, or put food in your belly? You’d fall behind on your bills and start to get into debt, then you’d need to make those payments on top of your rent and those sporadic pay-days would need to stretch further… I could carry on! This might seem an over-the-top response to 81% of people, but for the other 19% reading this with anxiety (just take a moment to dry your palms) this is a very real thought process.

Nearly 3 years ago I was diagnosed with having anxiety and coming to terms with it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Recently I thought it might be a good idea to outline some of the struggles I have, so that other people who are running their own business realise it’s not just them going through it all, or others who are thinking of going it alone can use this as preparation.

Money: I’ve already touched upon it, but I think that it’s every business owners #1 concern. I hope that everyone reading this will have a healthy cash-flow, I’m sure a majority of you will have a better business plan and strategy than me! There will be times that are harder than others, be sure to make the most of the better times, squirrel money away for when you need it. However, it’s hard to snap out of a quiet time and when people stop banging on your door, you’ll start banging your head on the desk. This leads me quite nicely onto my next point.

Motivation: It’s easy to feel demotivated when you’ve got no work on, which will stop you finding opportunities and end up in a downward spiral. A great piece of advice I would offer to anyone thinking of starting a business is to think of a few things that are guaranteed to get you fired up and inspired. These can be anything, but it’s best to think of something that doesn’t take up too much time or money, for example mine are going to an art gallery or taking a walk on Crosby Beach. The sooner you can recharge your batteries, the sooner you can charge your clients!

I’m not one for inspiring quotes on the wall, but my signed photo of Jet from Gladiators is my motivational poster…

Networking: This is something that comes easily to me, but I know a lot of people who could think of nothing worse than walking into a room full of strangers and talking about themselves for a couple of hours. Unfortunately it’s a necessary evil for a lot of businesses nowadays, and something that a lot of creative businesses neglect to do. It’s fine to stay connected with people on Twitter, but it’s nowhere near as effective as meeting someone face to face and thrusting the best designed business card they’ve ever seen in their hand. A majority of these events take part in the evenings, which is a much more productive way to spend a couple of hours binge watching The Walking Dead. And did I mention free beer? Yeah, thought you’d be up for it…

Clients: I love you all, but some of you can be a right pain! Dealing with tight deadlines can be stressful enough, but be prepared for goalposts to be changed and invoices to be forgotten about. As a creative business owner you may have to work until the early hours on a project that landed in your inbox that morning, but don’t forget, you’re not on a salary anymore! Every hour you spend on that project is billable, so stick some music on, grab a coffee and get comfortable because you’re going to be at your desk for a very long time. But I promise it will be worth it in 30 days when your invoice gets paid. Or not… As I mentioned, sometimes invoices aren’t as important to your client as they are to you. Give them a few days grace to pay before sending them a gentle reminder, but after that you can be firm but fair. There other blog posts online about effective ways to chase money which I would recommend checking out, but make sure you don’t have to go through small claims court, because that is a whole new level of stress. Yes, I know from experience…

This blog is a work in progress, and I will be adding to it shortly. Feel free to contact me with any content you’d like to see.