9 Encouraging Things I Wish People Had Said To Me When I Decided To Start My Own Business

Ad failed to load

I didn’t decide overnight to quit my lucrative job as the content manager at an advertising agency in order to pursue my dream of full-time freelance writing. I’d dabbled in freelancing for a while, even landing a craft beer column in my local alt-weekly, but the thought of actually being my own boss was downright scary. Even though plenty of people encouraged me to just go for it and start my own business, there were still things I wish people said to me when I started working for myself.

I'd read countless articles on how to start a business, but there's no substitute for advice from entrepreneurs and people who've done it before. While I found myself craving an unabashed "cheer squad" feeding me optimistic mantras, the solid to-do's like "find a good accountant" and "don't worry about filing paperwork to incorporate yet" helped me focus my energies in the most productive areas during launch.

I'm a year-and-a-half in now and, of course, hindsight is 20/20. I've had some ups and downs, but now I can look back and identify certain things I wish I'd known — or been told — from the very first day of starting my own business:

Ad failed to load

"It’s Going To Be Hard, But Worth It"

Tirachard Kumtanom/Pexels

I heard a lot of that first half, and not so much the second, most important part. While it’s true that being your own boss is difficult, it’s also rewarding, so remember to balance those well-meaning reality checks people offer up with some thoughts of encouragement.

"What Are Your Goals?"

Having someone keep you accountable is important. Whether it’s a friend, mentor, or colleague, having that one person checking in on your milestones can help keep you on track — even when it’s tough.

"I’m Proud Of You!"


It’s scary to start your own business, which is why it feels so good when someone acknowledges your courage instead of saying, “I’m so jealous!” If you feel that way, start your own company! What’s stopping you?

Ad failed to load

"Let Me Know Your Schedule"

One of the biggest issues that many work-from-home entrepreneurs face is people not taking their schedules seriously. I get calls from relatives “just to chat” in the middle of my workday, and their justification is, “I knew you’d be home.” When someone recognizes that you’re putting the "work" in “work from home,” it means a lot. (Of course, I’m up for the occasional coffee break — flexibility is one of the big perks!)

"Find A Good Accountant"


And keep them! I really wish I had known this sooner. Take it from me: A savvy financier is worth their weight in gold.

"I Can’t Wait To See How You Do!"

Believing in yourself can be tough. That’s why it feels so good to hear that someone else believes in you, especially on days when you feel overwhelmed. When I’m having a hard time, I remember that there are people who truly care about my success. That gives me the determination to keep going.

Ad failed to load

"Don’t Forget To Eat"

Jakob Owens/Unsplash

This should be a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how easy it is to get so buried in to-dos that you forget about basic self-care. When you run your own business, you’re the accountant, customer service rep, manager, and everyone in between. Give your body and mind time to recharge, and maybe have a nice sandwich.

"It's OK To Take A Break"

Speaking of self-care, it can feel difficult to clock out when you work for yourself. I would have really appreciated if someone had reminded me that it’s fine to take a break. There's no doubt that it would have saved me some stress in those first few months outside of the structure of an office job.

"Why Don't You Just Say 'No'?"

Andy Tootell/Unsplash

It took longer for me to turn down a job than I’d like to admit. I accepted assignments I hated, worked on projects that didn’t pay well, found time for jobs I didn’t really have time for, and worked with nightmare clients before I allowed myself to say, “You know what? This isn’t worth it.” It’s liberating to finally find the workload that works for me. It’s what has made running my own business 100 percent worth the stress and fear I'd experienced in the beginning.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills