Big Surprises for Small Businesses

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?”

Read on to find out what have been the unexpected perks, pitfalls, attitudes and opportunities that our Linked-in members have encountered on their business journey so far.


Help and Support

The amount of help from others – even competitors. And I couldn’t believe it when the first person paid me.
Pamela Hunt

I would agree with Pamela the help was great to start off with and now even though I have only been in business a short time I can help up and coming VAs with my experiences.
Jade Pluck

The recommendations I received and the friends that are willing to pass on the word about my service.  Definitely agree  that the amount of peeps willing to help and give up their time to help has been great.
Paula McGarry

I have been surprised by all the advice and support given freely.  I’ve been self employed forever and this is my 3rd start up business which has just taken off this month with 2 serious clients and decent paychecks but the best bit of advice was from Julie about Optimize Press!! What a treasure and for anyone struggling with tech issues it is a dream.  So thank you Julie
Susan Bourke


Risky Business

What surprised me the most was my ability to take risks:
I always thought I was too cautious and lacked confidence. But you treat your business like your child (well, I do!) in that there isn’t anything you won’t do for it: what is right for the business comes first, which means that you have to stick your neck out.
For example, not being proud and asking for help. I have found the same support from the outset from my network as the ladies above, but after two years this inevitably wanes so you have to get out there and ask for help.
Amanda Davie


New Friends

I have loved making friends through social media and networking for my business and lastly I have loved to learn, as I researched my business while on maternity it gave me a focus and a challenge.
Jade Pluck

The perks of running my own business is that I have met a terrific amount of intelligent and interesting women who are generous with their time and support for which I am truly grateful. I have the flexibility to do the things I want to do at the times I want to do them. I don’t feel guilty at taking time off in the middle of the day if I want to do something like get my hair cut. Also when you are doing something that you love it doesn’t feel like work.
Carole Bozkurt


That’s Taxing!

Before I went freelance, I thought freedom might be a double edged sword; great because I could do what I want but would I be disciplined enough to work with no-one looking over my shoulder. However, because I love what I do, it is just a dream to be able to live ones’ passion.
One big surprise was tax! I had a bit of a mental block and thought this was a huge barrier to overcome so I went along to the tax office and got some great advice and as a result, don’t even use an accountant now.
Deborah Henry-Pollard


Finding Time

Time is so precious and you have to have achieved at least one good thing towards your business EVERYDAY.
Paula McGarry

Having come from the corporate world I was surprised at the amount of time it has taken to get everything set-up.
It’s the little things, or not so little, like having no IT department to call upon when you have a problem – it’s those type of things that are the biggest time wasters.
I’m a great believer in not doing the things that don’t add value to your time. What I mean by that is, having your IT systems working properly is an absolute must but I’m not an expert in IT and never will be and I don’t want to spend my time investing in learning how to solve it myself so that I know for next time.
I love design but I’m not a graphic so I am not going to try and design my logo etc what I am going to do is employ an expert to do this for me.
I want to spend my time in front of my clients and potential clients doing what I know best. So the good news is that all my IT issues are now resolved, touch wood!
Also for me it has been recognising that I now work in a different way it feels different. Procrastination is a real killer and that has been difficult at times getting around that unwelcomed guest.
Carole Bozkurt


I’m Full of Surprises!

The biggest surprise I received was suddenly realising I had what it takes to be successful. I believed in me. I believed in my abilities and it all came to the fore. It was a fantastic moment.
Judy Dick

Biggest surprise was myself ! In the early days there was a fair bit of blagging going on. I was working from my lounge with my two year old trying to give the impression of an ofice block and the “please hold while I transfer you to accounts” was a quick run through to the converted garage to pick up the other phone.. Pitfalls, the buck stops with me but the positives far outweigh the occasional heavy weight of responsibility. I can choose to lead by example and I have earned the right to govern my own working hours. Ten years down the line I’m prepared to work hard as need arises, it’s no longer a case of having to but as we have all probably learnt tomorrow it could be and it’s about knowing that.
Yvette Webster

I agree with Yvette, myself. Unexpected perks have included the amount of help and support available, great people I’ve met, widening circles, pitfalls how long the economic outlook would be bleak, bills I hadn’t planned for, and so good research, planning and marketing that I thought would be necessary I’ve found even more demanding than I thought. But most of all, though there are some tasks I don’t think I’ll ever feel at ease with, what’s surprised me most is the resourcefulness, confidence and enthusiasm I’ve rediscovered in myself as a result of all the above. 
Kathy Higham

Discovering skills I never knew I had – like designing products that people wanted to buy, finding & negotiating with suppliers, learning a whole new set of IT skills and lugging 10kg boxes to the post office in the days before I could afford a collection! When you start up on your own, everything is down to you and you’ll amaze yourself with your capabilities.
Alison Wren


Wow, these are all useful and inspiring tips!  Please do share more of your surprises in the comments section below.

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