Here's my top 5 and how I deal with and overcome them...
1. Being Taken Seriously -
Any time you launch something all on your own, or are on a path different from the majority of people you are going to deal with some people not taking what you do seriously. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten remarks about how surprised people are that my business has done so well. I'm sure they mean it as a compliment, and that they are well-intentioned. But the undertone is that they didn't take me seriously. And when you're new, or in the building stage of a new endeavor, it's the hardest time to get people to take you seriously, since you haven't had a major breakthrough success yet. So what to do?
I've found that the best way to get people to take you seriously is to take what you do seriously yourself. Go all in. Don't dabble. Consistently put out high quality content or products. Treat your business like a business. And lastly, and possibly most importantly, be consistent. Don't go 110% for 3 months and then vanish and then come back and go hard and then vanish. That wishy-washy pace sends a subconscious message that you aren't really serious. So whether you are coaching or launching your own design biz, take yourself seriously.
2. Time Management -
One of the most challenging parts of working for yourself is time management. Our entire lives we have people that we report to. Parents, teachers, professors, and then managers. Someone is always watching us to make sure we do what we are supposed to do and accomplish the tasks we are supposed to accomplish. But when we break free and work for ourselves, there's no one looking over our shoulder. And it can be so easy to let things distract us from doing the important tasks we need to do in our business.
On the flip side, most people envision the self-employed life as a super glamourous lifestyle where you leisurely roll out of bed at 10am and sip mimosas poolside while you answer some emails and then go to a lunch meeting and you're done. But anyone who works for themselves knows that you never work as hard as when you run your own business. There are no on and off hours when you're the owner. You feel constantly "on" and on call for your clients.
The best thing I can tell you is to set clear hours when you will work on different aspects of your business. Then stick to them. I myself have two "power hours" where I sit down and accomplish the most mandatory of my business tasks each day. One in the morning, and one in the evening. The middle of my day varies based on what projects I'm working on but my consistent power hours never change. And I know that if everything else falls apart that day I'll be fine because I've gotten my vital behaviors done.
3. Building and Reaching an Audience -
This is something I want to start talking more about here on the blog because it's such a common struggle. I'll keep it short for now and just say that social media is your friend. Learn about the various platforms and choose just 1 or 2 that appeal to you. Then master those before trying to add more to the mix. Share quality content that adds value to your followers' lives and that is authentic to you and your business goals. Do it consistently and you'll see growth.
4. Criticism and Not-So-Friendly Feedback -
Any time you put yourself out there, you open yourself up to feedback from others. In our internet culture people feel emboldened to share their opinions in ways they would NEVER do face to face with another human. And if you are in the business of helping others, improving your life or others' lives, or are on any sort of path of improvement you are going to get negativity from people. Just remember, what people say about you is more about them than it is about you. You are holding up a mirror to their life and they dislike it. So they try to cut you down to feel better about their situation. If there's 1 thing I've learned in my time running my own businesses it's this... don't read the comments ;)
5. Standing Out From the Crowd -
Ah, differentiation. The holy grail of self employed success right? How do we stand out from the crowd? Well, unless you have some sort of revolutionary product or experience never seen before, the only thing that really makes you unique is YOU. Your own story, your own experience and perspective. Your voice. So stop paying so much attention to everyone else and focus on what makes you, you. Share that and your people will find you. Be brave enough to show the world what you are and what you can do.