Acquiring the right business skills, although extremely crucial, is a small percentage of what an entrepreneur (or a business owner) has to deal with on a daily basis.
Let’s say that you are a plumber. You’ve learned the craft and want to work independently.
Great! You have the skills and are ready to start installing and maintaining plumbing systems…
…until you realize that there is no one you can work with at first.
You need to find customers, price your services, and learn how to explain plumbing problems in a way that would resonate with your clients. That includes some marketing. Once you get some customers, you want to find a way to promote yourself in a more steady manner—which may include the Yellow pages, a website, registering yourself in certain directories, etc.
This promotion of your abilities may also require some testimonials and case studies for work that you’ve done yourself.
Once the clients start coming, managing your time becomes an issue. Unless you fail to market yourself and go out of the market due to insufficient funds.
Still, if you grow, you may want to hire other plumbers for your business. If you haven’t registered a company, that would be a requirement as well. Dealing with accounting, legal contracts, and HR is quite challenging by itself. You may need to allocate some time to training or working together with your new hires over the first weeks in order to ensure work quality.
This cuts down margins and requires more time spend on ads, marketing, or sales. Plus, you want to ensure that your clients are happy and keep referring the services of your company to others—since even a single bad rating may take you back to square one.
Either way, the plumbing business may be somewhat straightforward (no offense to plumbers). If you build a business around digital services or products, you’ll likely have to deal with different languages, selling internationally (various tax laws), working with subcontractors and partners in different regions (time zone differences), and more.
Running a business is completely different from being qualified (or able) to deliver a service. There’s a ton going on between finding a client and receiving a paycheck.
For instance, before you even get to do the work you’re good at, you’ve got to find people who want to pay for your service. That means marketing, networking, maybe advertising—all sorts of efforts to get your name out there and attract customers.
Once you’ve got a client’s attention, there’s still much to handle. You’ve got to talk about details, negotiate prices, and agree on what’s being delivered. Then there’s the actual work of providing the service and, on top of that, making sure it meets the client’s expectations.
After the job’s done, there’s still a paycheck once you’ve sent out an invoice and managed to collect the payment, which can sometimes be a job in itself. This only touches on some behind-the-scenes stuff like bookkeeping, paying taxes, managing any staff you might have, keeping up with supplies, and just the day-to-day running of the business.
So, being able to deliver a service is one thing, but running a successful business requires a whole different set of skills and a lot of juggling.