If you were to poll business owners and ask them what their biggest business challenge was or is, I bet many of them would point to starting their business as the winner.
That's certainly true in my case.
Entrepreneurial types like myself want to get things done as quickly as possible but at the same time want to focus their efforts on the quality of their service.
Back in the days when I was a Series 7 Registered Representative, I fell under the full regulation of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
That might sound all fine and dandy, but let me tell you, it's like getting out the duct tape and putting it over your mouth when you have something important to say – not fun!
For example, instead of being able to tell folks that the Roth IRA is amazing and rocks, I'd have to say something bland like: “Consider the Roth IRA as one option among many for your investments.” Uh, no thank you.
So, I dropped my Series 7 license. I want to be able to talk when I want to talk – and I want to say things the way I want to say them!
While it was difficult to give up $36,000 per year to say what I wanted to say, that wasn't my most difficult challenge.
Actually, my most difficult challenge was starting my own RIA or registered investment advisory firm.
The Benefits of Owning Your Business
The main reason I wanted to start my own registered investment advisory firm was because I wanted to get paid more and control more aspects of my business – usually the two go hand in hand.
Here's the thing. Anytime there is a middle man between you and your customers, you're usually going to be paid less than if you would have started your own company.
For example, let's say you want own your own restaurant business. Subway will allow you to own your location, but you're going to have to pay franchise fees and advertising fees. A percentage of your profit is taken away because you're using their name.
The same is very true in the financial services industry. If you're working at a firm you don't own, you better believe that you're going to be making less money than if you owned the business.
Additionally, you'll find that when you own a business you can do more of what you think is right – not what your boss thinks is right.
The Heavy Costs of Owning Your Business
Don't think that owning a business is all blue skies and strawberry pie. It's not. And I found out the hard way.
First of all, I didn't know if I could stick with LPL Financial and have them complete a lot of the associated paperwork for my business. I found out later I could, but I had to do some digging to figure this out.
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I also didn't know if I could be in the same office building as my current partners. Turned out I could, I just needed a separate business entity. I formed one called Alliance Wealth Management, LLC. But that meant I had to form a Limited Liability Company. More paperwork.
I had to buy all the gear for my business – the informational materials, the business cards, the website, and so much more. Trust me, it all adds up.
Plus, when you have your own business, you obviously have a lot more responsibility. If something goes wrong, you're on the hook, and there's really nobody to blame but yourself.
How I Overcame My Biggest Business Challenge and How You Can Too
Yes, my biggest business challenge was actually starting my business and taking on more responsibility. While I can't point to any one factor as the sole source of that challenge, it was a bunch of things that added up to be quite the mountain to climb.
I'd like to give you some advice on how you can stay focused and push through the challenges associated with starting your own business. This is how I did it.
1. Just start.
A personality test I took shows I like to “start quickly” on things – a lot of things at once. This has its advantages and disadvantages, but it's great when you have to tackle something as daunting as starting your own business.
It's way too easy to overthink the steps involved in starting your own business. Don't worry if you can't see the finish line, just start.
Note: Don't take financial risk until you've counted the cost. That's dangerous. When I say “just start,” I mean start by researching what you need to do. Don't let research hinder your progress, but instead let it take you in the right direction.
2. Make challenges your hobby.
I love challenges. I started a challenge recently where I have to complete 100 pushups per day. Yeah, that's how I roll.
If you make challenges your hobby, when a big challenge comes along you won't blink an eye at it. You'll just start and get the job done.
3. Focus on the most important tasks.
A key differentiator between those who make the most out of life and those who don't is how they choose which tasks to work on first: the most important ones or the ones they'd rather do.
When you're starting a business, you don't have time to work on stuff that doesn't matter. Unfortunately, the stuff that matters is the stuff that's easy to procrastinate on. I talk a little bit more about how you can focus on the most important stuff here.
Starting your own business is no joke. It takes focus, persistence, and a lot of patience.
If you want to start your own business, take a look at the Office Depot Business Solutions Center. There, you'll find all kinds of articles related to getting started, marketing, organization, technology, strategy, productivity, leadership, and many more insights that can set your company apart from the competition – in a good way.
Hence, my final tip: Read everything you can about starting a business. Articles, books, audiobooks, you name it. If it's information and it's relevant to your business, consume it like the cookie monster.
Listen, the more ideas you're exposed to, the better. If you don't listen and learn from those who have “been there, done that,” then you will just stay stagnant and probably won't start a business in the first place.
Yes, starting a business is challenging. But it's not impossible. You can do it.