“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
We've all heard that phrase before, and it really does sound like the perfect solution to every person who hates their day job. "If only I could find something I'm good at, I can quit my 9 to 5!"
Don't get me wrong, there are definitely upsides to owning your own small business. No matter which industry your small business ends up in, there's a certain pride that you'll feel knowing that the venture is all yours! It would be a lie to say that it's all glitz and glamour though.
"With great power comes great responsibility."
So, with that said, here are my top 5 small business problems, and what I've been doing to combat them!
- 1) Problem: Having too many tasks to fit in one day
Running a small business means you're likely the only person running the business so there will be times that you'll feel there's no way to finish all the things on your to-do list... yet more keeps being added on! How do you stay on top of things without running yourself into the ground??
- Solution: Learn to let go of being a perfectionist
Or in other words... don't sweat the small stuff! It's easy to get obsessive with having the perfect product, the perfect packaging, the perfect words to write... but stuff can be "good enough" most of the time. I had to realize that I can absolutely still provide excellent products, excellent packaging, and excellent words without agonizing over every little thing and becoming paralyzed with indecision.
- 2) Problem: Wasting money on supplies
You're already feeling overwhelmed and then you realize - I don't have enough of XYZ to fulfill my orders! Hello, panic buying and paying insane expedited shipping charges. Goodbye, profit!
- Solution: Stay organized with an inventory system - be it analog, digital, or a combination of both!
Some people like writing things down, other people prefer using their phone or computer, and other people (like me!) need a combo of both to stay on track! It sounds like a waste of already limited time to do regular inventory checks but trust me... it will save your money and your sanity to know what you have in stock. I was able to take advantage of bulk ordering and go the super slowest shipping option to save the most money since I knew ahead of time what supplies I needed.
- 3) Problem: Losing track of deadlines
Wow... You're getting so many orders from multiple sources, it's fantastic! Whoops... you've completely lost track of time and now you're super behind on sending packages out.
- Solution: Again, use an organization system. Learn to say no and not overextend yourself
When you have a small business, you've likely marketed in several different platforms and ideally, getting business from all those different platforms. Diversify, baby! Make sure to have a way to track all the obligations in one spot. I've found that a good ol' fashioned whiteboard calendar really helped me out with knowing what is due when!
- 4) Problem: Getting extremely burnt out
- Solution: Take time for breaks!
It's easy to keep working nonstop without breaks since you're the only one working on your small business but remember that key word - it's your business. There's a reason the government included mandatory break times in labour laws! I found that the longer I worked without a break, the more likely I was to make mistakes and make even more work for myself by screwing up! I like to take a quick break every few hours even to just grab a snack or water to get a fast recharge. This isn't a 9-5 gig; this can explode to a 24/7 gig without proper boundaries.
- 5) Problem: Feeling insecure
- Solution: You're on your own journey - like Cinderella said, "Have courage and be kind!"
Your biggest strength can sometimes seem like your biggest failure - which is you! There's no one else like you so there's no way you can compare yourself to someone else's journey. I found that it's way too easy to get jealous over other people's social media but have to remind myself that it's a highlight reel. It sounds counterintuitive to log off social media when you're trying to grow your small business, but you know what? Business will be there forever, it's yours after all. So why not give the best version of yourself into your business? I took the summer off social media, focused on filling orders in the shop and just being kind to myself for a few months. The results? A fresh, new enthusiasm and creativity for product designs, and a reinvigorated love for the shop!
"Late bloomers still bloom."
There you have it! My top 5 small business struggles, and how I'm working on them. This is by no means a list of all my small business problems; I could probably make another list of 99 problems.
The grind is real with small business life... and I wouldn't have it any other way!