Running a small business is very disheartening at times. You put all of your love and energy in to building something in the hopes that others will see your dream and be as enamored with it as you are, but that rarely happens. Your employees are still there to take care of themselves, your customers are there purely because they need something from you right then, and your suppliers/banks/etc generally have no problems with raising rates or cost.
If you have employees, you’re hopefully on top of the morale issue. If you’re not on top of it, you need to get there. The job market is improving and your employees will be more likely to find excellent work elsewhere. With a small business, nearly any sudden loss is harmful. Take care of your people, even in the bad times, and they’ll take care of you all the time.
If it’s one-man shop, don’t disregard your own morale. The success of the business may depend upon your every move, but a failure of the business isn’t necessarily a personal failure. Do all that you can, but sometimes the market just isn’t ready for (or can’t handle) a great idea. Don’t beat yourself up, just live your life the same way you would if someone else were the boss. Do your job, do it well, get paid, and, no matter what, enjoy time with your loved ones.
Finances are tough. One thing I learned early on is to keep the money separate. Even if you’re not a legitimate business yet you can open a sole proprietorship bank account under the business name. Put in your capital, keep your earnings and sales separate from your personal finances, and you will be better off in the long run.
OK, we all like to feel good. That’s a given. But giving away your products and services all the time? That just hurts your company. It’s great to do work for someone who you know can’t afford it, but don’t make it the rule. You want to take care of those who take care of you, but don’t let your kindness be exploited. Institute a friends/family discount program or something similar, but don’t let them use up all the time on freebie jobs that you could be using to make money.
People will try to bring you down. If you see any sort of success, even if it’s a small victory, some people are just out to make themselves feel better at the cost of others. Whether it be by belittling your aspirations, or by working to destroy your own sense of self-worth. Ignore them, and keep going. The only thing that matters in this regard is how you feel at night when your head hits that pillow. When you’re alone with your thoughts, are you happy about who you are and what you’re doing?
It’s not easy by any means. You can ask any of us workaholic small business owners. We put in extraordinarily long hours, forgo vacations in the sun (or ice, whatever your kick is), and in most cases seclude ourselves to focus on achieving what we strive for. It’s much more difficult than working for someone else, and it most certainly isn’t for everyone.
If you try, and you succeed: excellent! If you try, and you fail: at least you tried. Many people will never get that far, and no one can take the attempt away from you.