This month marks a year that I went into busi­ness for myself full time. I’ve learned a lot about own­ing a busi­ness in that time.

This is my 9th busi­ness. Our oth­er 8 busi­ness­es failed for var­i­ous rea­sons, and as a result, we learned a lot of use­ful (if not expen­sive) lessons. Final­ly hav­ing a suc­cess­ful busi­ness, how­ev­er has brought some of its own valu­able lessons.

Here are 4 lessons I’ve learned over the past year.

1. Some clients take months to pay you.

If you’re going to start a busi­ness — espe­cial­ly a B2B busi­ness — don’t depend on all clients pay­ing you imme­di­ate­ly. Some of my clients have tak­en months to pay me. I’ve nev­er had a delin­quent account, but some do take a while. Be pre­pared to either live on very lit­tle some months or make sure you have reserves set aside.

2. Some clients take months to sign up.

While some com­pa­nies are quick to sign on as clients as soon as I meet with them, oth­ers take their time. Nev­er depend on poten­tial clients as a source of income until you’ve actu­al­ly done work for them and billed them.

3. Some clients require reminders.

Peo­ple are busy, and this is quite appar­ent when your busi­ness pro­vides ser­vices (rather than prod­ucts) for oth­er busi­ness­es. Whether is get­ting approval on a final draft, get­ting a pay­ment on an invoice, or ask­ing for feed­back on anoth­er project, some of your time will be spent try­ing to track down clients. If you don’t have patience, you may not be cut out to be a busi­ness own­er.

4. It’s hard work getting clients.

Send­ing out a mass email to all your con­tacts will pro­vide rel­a­tive­ly lit­tle busi­ness. Buy­ing adver­tis­ing space for B2B ser­vices will pro­vide rel­a­tive­ly lit­tle busi­ness. Don’t expect all your adver­tis­ing efforts and mon­ey to result in new busi­ness. Some of it will see like a waste. If you aren’t good at sales, you’re going to have quite a go of mak­ing your busi­ness work.

If you’re think­ing of start­ing a busi­ness, I hope you’ve found this use­ful. If you already own a busi­ness, what are some lessons you’ve learned?

About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

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