Dear Sam,

Congratulations on taking the leap of faith to create your own small business. Many people aspire to create a business and work for themselves. I know this is not something you have ever aspired to.

Let me start this open letter by saying – you can do this! You will learn more about yourself, the business world and many other industries than you ever thought possible. If you stay focused, you will have new doors opened for you and you will create many lifelong friendships.

Set Boundaries

At times this will feel like a double edge sword. As a start-up business owner, you will feel the pressure to work ridiculous hours to get the work done. After all, it is important to keep you clients happy. Happy clients will keep coming back and refer you to other like-minded clients. But, (It’s a big but!) you need to remember who and what is important to you.

By setting boundaries with your clients and business needs, you will have time for the important people and activities in your life. Perhaps it’s daily exercise (you really need this) or family time, but if it’s a not negotiable for you – lock it in your calendar and don’t defer from it. Taking care of yourself includes taking time away from the business and allowing yourself to be yourself, the Sam you were before starting the business.

“Don’t confuse business success for personal fulfilment.”

Create a Network

You’re new to this world of entrepreneurship. You can’t expect to know all the answers, so take the time to collect valuable members of your network. They may or may not be professionals – but they MUST have earnt your respect. Your network will help you form your business, particularly with faced with hurdles.

Because you are new to the VA industry and business, you’ll need to get out and attend events. This may feel terrifying at the start, but I promise the fear will dissipate. You will come to enjoy networking – meeting new people and collecting valuable friendships along the way.

This network you are creating will become your ‘go-to’ people when you need support, answers to questions you can’t answer alone, introductions or maybe just someone to listen while you vent. Each person you collect for your network will have something they can give you, but just as important is what you can give them. Life is about give and take, just make sure you are giving as much as you are taking.

Don’t ignore your Cashflow

You have a finance background and clearly know there must be more credits than debits in your business account. In the beginning you’ll have certain expense that will need to be met to establish your new business, but once set up use caution before making purchases or spending money.

While it might be exhilarating to be your own boss, it will be a little while before your business can pay you an income. When the business is in a position to pay you, it won’t be much. $250 start off, after some hard work, you’ll increase that amount to $700 per week and eventually more. Running a business is not necessarily financially rewarding, especially in the early years.

The bottom line is you need to forecast, budget and manage every expense and income that is associated with your business. If you do this, you’ll stay solvent and the cashflow will remain in the positive.

Stay True to your Values

There is very little that is more important than authenticity. Whatever your beliefs are going into business, hold true to them. Partnerships with potential clients or other business partners will not last if you are required to compromise on your beliefs.

Some people you will deal with, won’t believe in the same values you hold true to. Go with your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, follow your instincts to stay aligned to what is important to you – integrity, honesty, our environment and giving to those who need a hand. No one will care if you defer from these principles. Only you. So, you must hold yourself and those working within your business accountable.

In closing, remember that running a business is not always easy. There will be days when you will want to throw in the towel and get a job working for someone else. Then there will be other days when you beam with pride because of all you have accomplished. You will learn more than you ever expected to learn about topics that never interested you before. The journey you are about to undertake is not just your own, but also for those of your closest supporters – your husband, children and mum will travel with you as you grow.

Whenever the tough days appear, tell yourself You can do it. You are creating a great legacy that will impact many others.

Believe in yourself, back yourself and don’t stop learning.

Sam

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