The biggest challenges about starting your own business – including lack of sleep

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More than a quarter worked for upwards of 12 hours a day in the first year, with four in ten getting six hours or less of sleep a night.

Other struggles include keeping on top of paperwork (23 percent), having very little money (30 percent), and raising their business’ profile to attract new clients and customers (28 percent).

However, the research, commissioned by Osome, which provides small businesses with financial management tools and accountants, found 91 percent are glad they started their company.

Although six in ten admit there are things they would do differently now.

Helena Flores, VP of accounting and tax at Osome, said: “Running your own business is very rewarding, but it comes with many challenges – and arguably, it’s overcoming these hurdles which can make it so satisfying.

“Getting your finances in order is the foundation of a successful business within the first year.

“Managing money coming in and going out, invoices, and understanding what’s selling, are the three golden rules for success.

“So, if you get through the first year, running a business usually get easier in subsequent years.

“However, there are ways to make the first year easier – such as getting support from qualified experts like accountants.”

If you get through the first year, running a business usually get easier in subsequent years

Helena Flores, Osome VP of accounting and tax

The study also revealed 29 percent found starting a business to be more expensive than they thought it would be.

Eight in ten funded the bulk of their enterprise with their own savings – and, on average, 76 percent of the money used to get their company up and running came out of their own pockets.

A third also revealed they found starting their venture harder than they had expected it to be beforehand.

For over one in four (28 percent), the first 12 months is likely to have been especially challenging, as they somehow held down a second job over that period.

So perhaps it’s understandable that two-thirds of those polled admitted there were times during the first year when they thought their new venture was destined to fail.

And a fifth of those who felt this way admitted these thoughts went through their mind every single day.

Small business owners also revealed what they would have done differently with hindsight – with making their social media presence more of a priority (39 percent) a common reflection.

Getting more support with their marketing (27 percent), finding a better solution for chasing payments (27 percent), and making more effort to spend time with family (26 percent) are also among the things owners would do differently.

More than half (53 percent) also admitted they wish they’d sought out advice from a third party to help them make their business successful.

And similarly, 44 percent think they should have utilised the services of a third party to look after their admin and keep their financial affairs in order.

But despite all the challenges, the study, carried out through OnePoll, found over three-quarters (77 percent) would recommend running a business to others.

Being your own boss (70 percent), having satisfied customers (55 percent), and making a profit (48 percent) were named as the top three best things about doing so.

Helena Flores added: “As the study shows, running a business is not easy – especially during the first 12 months.

“But interestingly, the overwhelming majority are glad they made that step – which says a lot about how rewarding owning a company is.”

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