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Big Surprises for Small Businesses: Part 2

After lots of surprises of our own, we were intrigued to know what had surprised you the most once you had started up your own business. So we asked “what has been your biggest surprise since you started running your own business?”

So what have been the unexpected perks, pitfalls, attitudes and opportunities that our Linked-in members have encountered on their business journey so far? Here are the things that have surprised you the most:

How good it feels to work for yourself

There was one other surprise which I think I’ve gotten used to ….. how much fun it is even when you’re biting your nails waiting for the phone to ring 🙂
Narmeen Narmeen

I’m surprised by how much more I love working for myself than for someone else. I just really don’t make a good employee!
Odette Laurie

I can’t believe how quick the days go by. When I was working in a work place for somebody else the time use to drag.
carol curley

A big surprise was that for the first time in my life, I didn’t feel like I was ‘working’. Ease and grace became two common feelings I started to associate with my work – I found my groove. My pitfall, or challenge as I like to put it, is creating structure in my working life. In my previous corporate life, structure was a given, but now it’s something I have to manage for myself as I have so much more flexibility now. I am a person that works well within a structure as long as there’s loads of room in the middle to be creative, so creating my own structure can be a challenge especially as I work independently.
Anne Loyd

Customers

The nicest surprise is how many people LOVE the boutique. The decor, the ambience and the products too. An American customer exclaimed “wow, it’s like The Great Gatsby in here”. That made me smile. 
Rowena Howie

One of the biggest surprises was that my clients received such huge results (and that isn’t to blow my own trumpet but more I believe because I was finally doing something that felt completely natural to me)
Anne Loyd

Making Money

That I can actually earn a good living from doing what I love. I was terrified to leave the corporate world – I’d never known anything different. To actually be able to spend time with my family AND earn money has meant I’ve had the best 18 months of my life.  I’ve met some wonderful and inspiring people that I never would have done otherwise and stretched myself into places I never thought I’d have to go – or fit!
Mary Keeley

The best surprise is how many people are still spending. Revival Retro dresses are on average £160 but I’ve been very pleased to find that my customers are happy to pay the pricetag because they can see how well designed, well made and stunningly flattering our dresses are.
Rowena Howie

A great surprise is that I am getting paid a good sum to write website, press releases, social media and public relations marketing plans. And, I am getting paid to copywrite training webinars and modules for sales and marketing professionals in assisted living communities. This is wonderful because I have realized that I am getting paid for all the training that I received while working as a sales and marketing director at senior communities prior to starting my social media marketing and public relations business.
Diane Castro

Feeling Lonesome

My worst surprise was discovering how lonely it can be running your own business. Being in retail it’s lovely to chat with customers but when it comes to the behind the scenes decision making, never ending admin, targets etc there is only me.
Rowena Howie

Support from Others

I’ve received tremendous advice and support from the people that I’ve met both offline at networking events and online too. It’s also been a lovely surprise to get recommendations and clients via word of mouth, sometimes from people who I’ve met over a year ago! I remember someone telling me in my early days of business that you never know where your next client is coming from and it’s true!
Valerie Eaton

My biggest and best surprise has definitely been the amazing amount of very special, inspiring and wonderful women out there running their own venture too. I love meeting them at networking meetings, helping them and sharing with them. It’s almost like I have a new set of colleagues, but without the politics. I thought I’d be lonely….
Inge Woudstra-Van Grondelle

I agree with some of the previous comments here about all the support I am receiving from other business-owners. This is my 2nd business and it is much different this time around because it seems that I have a much larger “support group” of other business owners. This is a wonderful surprise!
Diane Castro

During and after the launch of GemStone Tech, I was and continue to be surprised at the sheer amount of good will passed around. Having only ever worked in Finance/Banking in the City prior to this, I’m still taken by surprise.
Narmeen Narmeen

Me! I Can Succeed

The other surprise is finding out what you’re actually capable of. I’ve learnt so many new skills since setting up in business such as public speaking, online marketing, writing blogs – things that I would never have contemplated doing or thought I could have done in my previous life in the corporate world.
Valerie Eaton

This may sound daft but my pleasant surprise was that my solutions actually worked! They worked for my own business and then for my clients. Then I became confident about the value I offer and developed a teeny bit of “swagger!” 🙂
Oma Edoja

Thank you, ladies for sharing all your useful and inspiring tips!  Please do share more of your surprises in the comments section below. Don’t forget to check out Big Surprises Part 1!

Share this article if you found it useful! And leave a comment in the box below. We hope to connect with you soon.

About Andrea Buckley

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5 comments

  1. My best surprises are not only having more freedom to call the shots, but also the things I can now claim for against tax such as automotive costs.

  2. I am still in the starting up phase, but so far the biggest surprise has been how hard it is to step away from the business without feeling like I am being unproductive or wasting time. When things settle down I know I will have to get better at balancing work and play.

  3. It was surprising to me that I missed having a structured routine. I have spent 13 years as an IT consultant so the daily commute & coffee became ritualized. I also missed being surrounded by like-minded people working as a kind of peer pressure. Sitting at home all day became difficult.
    I have now discovered the London Library so I go there 3 days a week and work surrounded by other writers. Sometimes we need a creative space with more structure than the home office!

  4. great helpful blog…i have a small business and youve really helped me thanks, i must confess i need to step away from my business more without feeling like I am being unproductive or wasting time. .

  5. I love this! I’ve been in my own business for a little over a year now and I think the thing that has surprised me the most is that I love the ups and downs of all the daily challenges. No one day is ever the same!

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