We all have had an idea or two about starting our own business and what it would truly be like to do just that. We’ve all heard about the various hardships and difficulties, but we’ve also heard about the many perks and rewarding benefits of owning your own business.

Like anything in life, there’s always going to be things you won’t know much about until you experience them first-hand. However, if you could somehow get a how-to guide or a small glimpse to help better prepare you for starting your own business—why wouldn’t you?!

Here are nine things we wished someone would’ve told us before starting our own business, and luckily for you—we’re giving you a first look. Before taking that leap of faith and starting your own business, consider these nine tips below.

1. You Will Experience Highs and Lows

Experiencing the various ups and down stages of starting your own business is inevitable—it’s simply bound to happen. Starting your own business is almost like riding a roller coaster, you’re constantly going to be hit with so many turns and twists, you just have to remain calm and be prepared to handle them—no matter how bad it gets. No matter how high or low it becomes, you have to remember to stop, embrace, and celebrate even the smallest victories.

2. A Mentor is Necessary

When you have someone who has walked the path you are currently on, it is important that you keep them around. You can gain insight and wisdom from having a mentor that’s already walked the road you’re currently on. A mentor’s experience helps you as a fresh entrepreneur and business owner looking to gain knowledge, and an abundance of information. You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you miss out on opportunities to build your ideas and business simply because you didn’t have anyone to shine a light in the right direction for you. Having a mentor is imperative and extremely rewarding.

3. Revenue is a Must

Having a dream is nice—but it’s not going to pay for itself. Realistically speaking, you will need to make and have some kind of money. Regardless if you are trying to pitch to investors or create a customer-funded business, revenue is a must. Revenue is the heartbeat of your business, and without it—you can only get so far before it comes crashing down. Write out a plan and delegate how you plan on making money within your business.

4. Establish Your Purpose

Revenue is definitely important and should be the heartbeat of your business, but your purpose and knowing your “why” is deemed as the most important aspect for sure. Knowing and establishing the reason behind your business is what’s going to promote all the other factors which includes revenue. If you are unable to write down the internal, external, and philosophical problem your company is working towards, then your business is simply nonexistent, and will immediately fall through the cracks. Establish your why and the rest will fall into place.

5. You are NOT the Boss

This may be a hard pill to swallow, but you are not the boss—your target audience is. Your customers and audience are what your company is all about. How and why you started your business isn’t as important as how and why your audience needs your services. Learn how to tailor your business around your target audience, and embrace the concept that although your main focus is your audience—your products may not be for everyone.

6. Change is Inevitable

As an entrepreneur, you will face several obstacles, ups and downs. Understanding and accepting that being a business owner will come with constant change will help you produce some of your best work. If you take it personal, you are allowing it to cripple and hinder you from pushing forward. Change is inevitable, there are so many variables that are out of your control as a business owner regardless of how organized or prepared you may feel. You will be much more stress-free if you learn to embrace the changes and roll with the punches.

7. Protect Your Work

Trademarking your brand and work is something that should be done from the very beginning. If you are unsure how to go about trademarking your business, first do your research and then talk with a trademark lawyer to make sure you cover all legalities. Once you trademark your work, make sure you have a designated area for all of the paperwork and legal documents. Creating a business is just as important as legally being able to call it your own!

8. Establish a Marketing Presence

We talk about marketing a lot here at Boss Women Media, so you can tell just how important it is. Marketing on social media is the key to growing any start-up business. Do your research when it comes to the best social media marketing tips for your business and make sure you’re always keeping your target audience in mind.

9. Don’t Quit!

Quitting is simply not an option! If you have to change directions, that’s OK—just don’t quit. Oftentimes people tend to compare their entrepreneurial journey to what they hear or see, expecting their situations to be similar—however there will be times when your plan doesn’t go as planned and you’ll have to cut to a different path, and that is absolutely OK. Don’t take it as a loss, but instead, an opportunity of growth and evolution in making your business that much more better! #dontgiveup

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