At the beginning of the year, I finished all my other jobs and decided to focus exclusively on my small business, which has been running for more than ten years. I see many advantages in that, but I also have my fears. It is natural and familiar to many people who are just thinking about starting their own business.
In this post, I’ll talk about my three biggest fears, but for positivity, let’s also talk about how I deal with them.
Fear 1: Taxes for small businesses. What if I forget something or calculate it wrong?
As a company manager, I hired an accountant because I believe everyone should work in their field. If I made a mistake, the accountant helped me correct it. Now I am on my own.
It seems simple. Many calculators on the internet allow you to work out how to pay taxes in the country where you work.
It would seem like everything is ok. I pay my mandatory health insurance every month, declare my income at the beginning of the year and pay the tax. But there are a lot of nuances that cause me fear. For example, you become a VAT payer once you reach a certain income level. You also need to know what business expenses can be expensed and what cannot.
Tax systems are certainly not friendly to every hairdresser, chef, translator, salesperson, writer, or else who doesn’t work in the financial world. Also, tax system staff do not always provide correct information.
How do I fight this fear? I try to keep an eye on what’s happening in the tax arena and follow the various groups where small businesses gather. Sometimes I ask questions to my ex-accountant. I also try to set aside +15% of my tax allowance for the unexpected.
Fear 2: I won’t have enough money for food and bills in a month
This fear is familiar to many small entrepreneurs. I regularly pack postcards and stickers and take orders to the post office. However, I try to keep the prices of my products low, and the profit left after costs is pretty small. I couldn’t lower the price any further, even if I were wholesaling.
There are a lot of business costs: Paypal and Paysera fees, advertising, shop hosting, various plugin and tools subscriptions and domain, products manufacturing, packaging, postage, and all mandatory business taxes.
So, naturally, it’s scary not to raise enough money. Every month I have many questions: will I succeed, will people buy my products, will somebody like my postcards and stickers? What if nobody is interested in the news? What if I don’t get a single customer for a whole week?
How do I deal with these fears? Other creators inspire me. When I talk to them, it turns out that they all have black periods. It’s worth using that time to design, prepare social media content, and manage finances. It’s important to work and believe in success because good and bad times come in waves.
So that’s how I struggle: working, designing, searching for new motives for products. But I still have to live, so I’m trying to balance my finances. For example, if one month is more successful, I set aside some money for a more challenging period.
Fear 3: What about holidays?
I am running my postcard shop alone and have no one to leave my business to during my holidays. Of course, a lot depends on the type of your work. But I sell physical goods (cards, stickers, envelopes), so I can’t send them over a distance.
What does this mean? Does this mean I will never have a holiday? Shud I shut everything down and go sunbathing? Where will I get the money if I do that?
How do I deal with these fears? I try to have a pre- and post- holiday strategy. This strategy includes when I will release postcards and other products updates, whether I will leave a discount code when I go out, etc.
I hope to get through those periods with minimal damage. Will it work? I hope. I have faith in my community, which understands that it is difficult for one person to balance personal life and work.
I also remember that my postcards and stationery shop is aimed mainly at customers with a slow lifestyle. Postcrsossing, journaling, scrapbooking, snail mailing, and penpaling are slow hobbies. So waiting a week or two for me to send out lovingly packaged orders is not a big problem. Do you agree?
Of course, these are not all the fears that small businesses face, but I have described my biggest ones this time.