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How to Survive Starting Your Own Business & Working Broke

Updated on July 30, 2011

Lots of Work and No Money

There is great freedom that comes from working for yourself. The dream of being accountable to yourself and being your own boss is wonderful. You are in control of your destiny and can do what you want when you want. No more suffering under the abuse of evil bosses who threaten to fire you, make you stay late or cut your hours. You are on your own.

Only, it is not all rainbows and butterflies. Starting your business and working for yourself is like being a pioneer. You are breaking new ground. Others have been there before, but this is your first time. It is hard and it is a struggle.

When you are working for yourself, you have to work harder, longer hours – sometimes with little to no pay. Bills start to pile up. There is no one to look to for help. It is all up to you. You are responsible for everything. Being the owner, you are working the hardest to get the business off the ground. If you are like most new business owners, you are starting out with few resources. With little resources, you are doing even more work because you can’t afford to hire anyone else to help.

Putting in long hours and multi-tasking with little income is what is called “working broke.” Working broke means that you are working, working and working but still broke. This period is a test for you to see if you have the will and determination to make it through this no money period.

Things that you can do to make working broke easier on your stress level:

  • Don’t spend money for things you could get for free. Companies and individuals give away furniture and office equipment such as file cabinets, printers and bookcases all the time when they are upgrading or moving to a new location. I hate to say it, but you can also take advantage of failed business owners who are looking to unload all their now useless stuff. Look around and don’t waste your precious resources on getting brand new furniture.
  • Learn how to do your own website, marketing and other services you would have traditionally farmed out to others. Be your own IT person and set up and network your own computers, make your own business cards and do your own advertisements. Learn to do these things for yourself to save on your overhead costs.
  • Look for and seek out other sources of income for yourself - it is okay. Just because you are now a new business owner doesn’t mean that you have to starve. You need to eat, pay rent and not live on the streets. So, you have permission to work part-time somewhere, sell stuff on ebay or go on unemployment to help you make it through the rough spots. It does not mean you are a failure.
  • Believe in your success. Keep trying to make your business work and keep your goal as a main focus to motivate you on your daily tasks. It is easy to get discouraged when you are working hard and not seeing the results you want or expected. Seek out the advice and expertise of others who have been where you are now and use their stories as an inspiration for your future success. They will help you understand that success will come only through hard work and give you advice about how they survived the hard times.

Working broke is difficult. Working so hard for no money seems to go against everything that you have been taught. It is not fair. It is hard. Starting anything of your own is hard work, especially your own business. It takes persistence to reach success. Your hard work will one day pay off. You are learning so many new skills and getting smarter every day. If you really want your own business, you got to keep working and get through this difficult time. Think of the freedom of working as your own boss and take it day by day.


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    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      HennieN ~ yes, sometimes we want it all right away and it is just not possible.

      BakerRambles ~ it is hard to take a new path, best wishes for your journey.

    • BakerRambles profile image

      BakerRambles 6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      I truly like this article. You have inspired me, as I am a chef that is now trying to become a full fledged freelance writer, and have acquired a few jobs online so far. Thank you for your words of wisdom, I'm now following you.

    • HennieN profile image

      HennieN 6 years ago from South Africa

      Wonderful hub. So often we want this perfcet office with a secretary and all the bells and whistles. Starting out simple is the best way to go.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I know the feeling. Doubt is the worst and having no money makes it magnified.

    • animekid profile image

      animekid 6 years ago from Upstate NY

      It's tough being the head cheese. It's worse when you work from home and your on your own boss. This week I've had a few days where I was very depressed and not feeling well and worrying about the bills and all that just made things worse.

      I think the other thing that people miss is that you're your own motivator sometimes. It's funny...when I worked full time for someone else's business I always knew that I could make a business of my own on the web work, now that I'm actually doing that, when I'm alone in my office trying to write I often question if I can make this business work.And those doubts are our worst enemies.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Thanks Lew. I think one of the hardest things you can do is start your own business. It is so different when you go from everyone sharing the load to just you. Sometimes I hate begin the only one responsible. Glad you enjoyed my hub.

    • animekid profile image

      animekid 6 years ago from Upstate NY

      Hi Dawn.

      Nice hub with some sound advice. I have been having my own crisis of faith over the past few days. It is tough to start a business, whether your doing it from home or somewhere else, with the bills piling up.

      What's worse is when you are used to working with others (even if you can't stand them) it's the interaction with others that is sometimes the most important thing I think. Something that I really miss quite often actually. I even like the Amazon products that you have here. The hub really works, and I look forward to more.