As I stare blankly into my laptop screen at 2 in the morning, QuickBooks glares angrily back at me with its confusing jargon and pop up notifications. At this point, I have been up since 6 a.m. and I just want to toss my laptop out the window.
Then I realize it nearly cost me the price of a used car, and that wouldn’t be a wise choice. For the most part, I love my job. However, times like those made me wonder, what did I get myself into?
If anyone ever tells you that starting a business is easy, politely laugh in their face, throw a rock at them and walk away. All throughout college you are bred into taking a position in a company or in an agency. What happens when you graduate, enter the real world and no one wants you?
Living in Toledo, my options were limited. Having a fiancée limited them even more. When I graduated from college I immediately started searching for that agency job I was told to look for.
I was rejected several times because I was over qualified, several times for being under qualified and several more when the employers discovered I was engaged and my fiancée lived in a different area. (Keep in mind that asking someone if they are interested in getting married and having children is illegal, but it still happens.)
While I was enduring the interviewing process time and time again, I had a family friend who kept asking me to promote his business. A chiropractor in Toledo, he had been looking for someone to promote his practice, luckily I came in at the right time and he became my first official client.
When your professors lecture you about the importance of networking, LISTEN! You can have a solid resume with a large amount of experience, but if you do not get out and meet people then you have successfully loaded the shiny new gun you will call a career and shot yourself in the foot.
Here are some additional pointers for those thinking of starting their own business:
• Being your own boss is great. You make your own hours, schedule your own meetings and pick your own clients. However, DO NOT expect to be making loads of money until your business builds itself a leg to stand on.
• NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. As I said, it is about whom you know. Join organizations, clubs, adult sports teams, stand outside of Wal-Mart with a sign that says “PR STUDENT IN NEED OF WORK.” I don’t care what you do just get out there and meet new people.
• If you choose to start your own business, become very familiar with tax-deductible items and services. As a side note, QuickBooks and Excel will become your best friend despite the frustrated moments you may share.
• You work when your clients or prospective clients work. If you have a habit of sleeping until noon and your client begins working at 7:30 a.m., it reflects poorly on you. So if you go to bed at two in the morning, you better be sure you are bright eyed and bushy tailed at 7 a.m. ready to meet with your client. However, if you just happen to have a late start to your day, feel free to hit the snooze button a few times.