HAVING some experience as an employee of a small business in your industry (or a closely related one) will help you understand how things work, the lay of the land, and possibly opportunit­ies or niches that might be underserve­d. Mentors and other business owners can be great supports when you’re starting out or shifting to a new phase of your business.

WHEN you’re running your own show, there’s little separation from work and life because the beginning and end of the work day are completely set by you. That said, you can set up a structure that gives you the flexibilit­y you desire and the daily routine (or not) that works best. There’s an empowermen­t that comes with being the boss, but there’s always compromise, too. Being small also means a greater ability to edit, adapt and shift in rapidly changing conditions (COVID has definitely made that clear).

FOR many small businesses, no two days are the same! Generally, though, you could expect communicat­ion with customers, clients and suppliers; dealing with something unexpected; planning something for the future; checking in on your financial situation; then finally getting to the to-do list you made yesterday!

WHETHER or not you can make a living from your business really depends on what you’re selling. If it’s service-based (think photograph­er, graphic designer, accountant) you’ll likely have business expenses, but people are mostly paying you for your time and expertise. Once you factor tax, super and workspace rental into your fee, what’s left over is yours. Product-based businesses must invest in the making of the thing to sell, then rely on people buying it. Some kind of understand­ing of how you’ll make money (and if that income is sustainabl­e for you in the short/long term) is essential to having a business instead of a hobby.

WE spend a lot of our waking lives ‘at work’, so it makes sense to not only pursue a profession that speaks to your natural skills and interests, but also gives you the life outside of work that you want. Author Daniel Pink suggests the happiest workers feel they have autonomy (independen­ce), mastery (expertise they can build on) and purpose (meaningful­ly contributi­ng to the world). Running your own business should ideally give you all that and more!

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