It’s been six months since I officially opened the doors to my copywriting business and what have I learned?
What is always at the front of my thoughts is most, new business fail in the first 12 months to two years of opening.
There is also a frightening statistic doing the rounds regarding an increase in homelessness in older women.
I quote a story in The Sydney Morning Herald by Jane Gilmore (8 August 2017).
“More than 330,000 single women over 45 in Australia are living in conditions of serious economic stress. And their prospects are not good.
Their wages are likely to go down, not up, as they get older. Their superannuation will not be enough to support them after they retire. If they don’t own their own home, it’s highly unlikely they ever will.
Most of it can be explained by the gender pay gap, the disproportionate amount of time women take out of the workforce to care for children, the significant economic hit taken by women after divorce and the cumulative effect all this has on women’s ability to achieve financial security as they get older.”
Consequently, I’ve been working seven days a week to make my business work. They might not be full days in my home office but most start before sunrise and every person I meet when I’m not at my desk is a potential referral or client.
Every picture I take, every scene I capture and every experience I participate in could be something that could give me a break.
At the back of my mind is a little voice constantly yelling – you have to make this work, you have to pay the home loan and you love eating so let’s make money to pay for food.
Every now and then a louder voice screams I’m too old to start this and it usually gets vociferous on down days when nothing seems to want to work and no one wants to respond to what I’ve been trying to achieve.
These are the days when the urge to toss my hands in the air and walk away from everything appears to be the best and only option.
But do I?
No, I don’t.
So far starting up this business has been a lot like being a single parent; a responsibility I will never walk away from.
My life circumstances mean I have been a single mum for more than the official 14 years declared by the legal system. I haven’t been privileged to have backup or support in raising my children and I’ve always been the sole provider for their growing needs.
Money has always been tight and there has never been any to spare on life luxuries for them or myself. But they have always had a home to return to, food in their stomachs and someone who they can depend on to be there for them.
It’s not easy being both mum and dad and it’s a lot of hard work, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Is being a single mum worth it? Obsoletely. My children are my greatest achievement.
But how is this even remotely like starting up a business you ask?
As a sole trader I have no colleges to bounce ideas or banter off and the success or failure of my work rests solely in my own hands.
Every moment, every interaction and every step along this path is filled with a hope of forming strong relationships to thrive into the future.
Until a regular customer base is established money is tight. There is none for me.
I offer myself as someone (a business) who can be depended on.
It’s a lot of hard work, 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no paid holiday leave or hope of someone else paying expenses incurred.
So, is starting my own business worth it?
I’ve learned a lot in six months. Let me answer that question in another six.