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Do you wish someone had given you the blueprint on starting a business?
Or are you still pondering if this whole entrepreneurship role is right for you? I totally get you. Starting a business isn’t for everyone, but there is a tremendous amount of pride that goes into building something of your very own. I’ve built two companies from the ground up and I’m sharing my tips on what I wish I had known before starting.
If you’re thinking of starting a business, or perhaps even are a business owner yourself, tune in to hear what I wish I had known before starting a business!
1] Not everyone is your client.
Sure you gotta take it all in the beginning, but there came a time when I had an identity crisis. What was I? Who was I? I did events, photography, websites, social media, print, PR, video, email – and more. And when it came down to it, sure I could do it – I knew how or at least more than my clients did, but I was still working as just me – maybe I had one other teammate, but it was a whooooole lot to keep track of not to mention this industry changes, like every day. To stay on top of trends and what was coming next was exhausting.
And over time, I also learned what I loved to do and what I could give up. I learned that I loved websites, social media content and strategy and email marketing. So those are the three I focused on to get better and serve clients.
2] Do not work on weaknesses, hire them out.
I have never been a fan of working on weaknesses – rather work on your strengths and hire or have some help with the areas you are not as strong in. For me that was the tech – this creative brain can not sit down and figure out a technical issue without a few choice words flying out – so I kept my role and those of my team focused on delivering great content – copy, graphics, strategy and left the tech – or how it all works – to the professionals.
It also helps other small businesses build a portfolio and put food on their family’s table so we all win. Plus you get to work with others who have further insight into that medium that when we worked together the end result was better than had it just been me and my team.
3] How hard it all would be.
Oh. my. Gosh. Alllll the hard work that goes into running, owning and having your own business is kinda crazy. It’s one of those crazy things that when I think about it, I often ask myself if I knew then what I know now would I have still went for it?
The answer is YES but there are some things I would do differently from the start – hence this podcast. I would have never guessed the amount of daily pep talks I’d need to give myself not to give up, to keep moving, that yes indeed this task that feels daunting or tedious is going to help in some way, even if you can’t see it yet.
Some of you know I recorded a pep talk to listen to. I recommend finding a friend who is also building her dream business and to have a plan to call or text on hard days to help the other.
There’s no boss, no employee, no anyone to tell you good job, keep going, it’s all going to work. It’s gotta come from you and most days you don’t feel like you’re doing a good job or that it’s all gonna work out. But it will, and you have to trust it, believe it, have faith.
4] Importance of your network.
I know that without a doubt the reason I was able to even start my business was because I had a network of people behind me to support it. And that doesn’t mean money, that means people who were willing to take a chance on me and be a client.
My first client came on board before I even had a name. My next two clients did the same thing. If you think getting out there and meeting people is a waste of time or you’re too nervous/scared to do it- get over yourself and do it anyway.
I remember when I first moved to a new town my role at my new job [advertising agency] was to onboard business. Sales essentially. I went to every single event I heard about. From our local chamber to our young professionals group, to non-profit events and more. I joined committees, boards and volunteered a ton, one to get acclimated into the community, but also to meet new people.
After a year, it was the people I met and nurtured a relationship with that gave me their time to share about the agency I worked for and how I could help their business. And it was the relationships with them that helped me get my own business off the ground.
There is great power in mastering the art of communication, relationship building and connection. Get over the fear, and do it anyway.
5] Get a mentor…or two.
Find yourself a good mentor or two – or even better, spend some money on a coach who can get you further faster. This is probably the one I wish I had done much sooner. Just like there is power in your network, there is power in handing over your ego [the I can do it myself mentality] and allowing someone who has done what you want to do, to coach and guide you.
There are many coaches out there and obviously no coach is the same as the other so spend some time doing your due diligence. Most coaches offer a free short consult or have some sort of assessment to ensure they are a fit for you too. If they want to coach you without doing those steps first, odds are they are not going to be a great fit – again, do your due diligence and find a coach that is aligned with your values and fully understands what your goals are so together you can devise a plan to get there.
Don’t be upset if it takes time – lots of us have mindset blocks and old programming that needs to be undone first before we can get into the hands on strategy. A good mentor or coach will walk you through all this, so be prepared to take the time. Once those mindset blocks are released, your ready to take off!
6] Celebrate your WINS!
Any super small thing you do that moves the needle closer to your goal needs to be celebrated. It’s soooo hard to do this. At least for me because I like to just see the end product…and then get heads down onto the next thing. But taking a beat to celebrate is a good thing. It’s what can keep you moving forward on the hard days. Find things – big and small – to do when you complete a task that you deem worth celebrating.
This could look like taking yourself to lunch or coffee. Taking an afternoon off to just be or read. Stopping early on a Friday and going for a hike or taking your kids to get ice cream, or a massage, nails done, you get it – do something for YOU!
In this episode we discuss:
[4:32] why not everyone is your client
[10:22] the key to success when building out a team
[18:19] how to build a network when starting a business
[22:29] the importance of having a mentor
[26:06] why you should celebrate