9 things I've learned from starting my own business
There's nothing quite as intimidating as deciding to become your own boss and start your own business. You'll experience every emotion from bliss to complete and utter discouragement. Other the past several months, as I've ridden the roller coaster of emotions and managed to make it through to the other side, I've learned a few things. I jotted down some thoughts in my journal a few weeks ago, on the things I'd tell a friend who decided to go for it on her own. Here are a few things I've learned along the way.
- FIND YOUR TRIBE. For me this happened in the form of a Rising Tide Society, TuesdaysTogether group I lead every month. It is a group of creatives--from writers to food bloggers, photographers and florists--all working to build their own businesses or go after their creative passions. It can be a lonely pursuit sometimes. But we get together once a month to share what we're learning, encourage each other and hold each other accountable on our goals.
- TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE EDUCATION. The opportunities for online learning are endless. Do you struggle with money management or workflows or social media? There are so many amazing resources, courses, podcasts--all for free--that can help you grow your business and brush up on the areas where you may be struggling.
- DON'T OVER EDUCATE. Yes, I did just tell you to stock up on webinars in my last tip. But don't make the mistake I did. I had a laundry list of classes and free downloads and webinar replays clogging up my inbox and my brain. I was spending so much time taking every course I came across that sounded interesting, that I forgot to actually make progress on my own work. Ooops. So go for it, but don't go crazy.
- TAKE NOTES, BUT ALL IN ONE PLACE. Go get yourself a moleskine*. (Yes, I just gave you an excuse to buy a new journal.) And do all your list-making, brain-dumping, journal-writing, note-taking in one place. I started out with about 4 different journals and notepads and notebooks. Ugh. The disorganization made me crazy.
- SEEK OUT A MENTOR OR A SOUNDING BOARD. I need to talk things out. Thankfully, I found a close friend who is much further along in a similar creative to field to be my sounding board and wisdom-giver. Though we don't talk often, it's just enough to keep me moving in the right direction and I'm comforted by knowing she's just a phone call or text away if I need her. Don't have a mentor you can seek out? Find a friend, who's working on her own business and be each other's person.
- DON'T OVER CONSULT. When I designed my first logo for my site, I asked everyone and their sister what they thought. By the time I'd asked just about every contact in my phone, I had just as many opinions. Trust your gut. Ask one or two people you trust and move forward.
- PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION. People. This is my mantra. I'm always tempted to say, "I can't do this until I have x,y, and z perfect." Make progress, don't get hung up on perfection or else you'll never get there.
- UNPLUG. Starting a new business requires SO MANY THINGS. All those many things can consume you. They are the things you stew over in the car, in the shower and the things your brain won't let go of when you go to sleep at night. It is so important to walk away, unplug, do something outside, work with your hands, go for a walk--whatever is your way to unplug. Otherwise, you'll be burned out before you even begin.
- HAVE COURAGE. This was my one little word in 2016. I got it engraved on a bracelet. And kept it always at the forefront of my mind. If there's one battle you'll always fight when starting a business, it's the little voice in your head telling you that you probably have nothing to offer. That your ideas are not unique or special. And that everyone else is probably better at this than you. Fight the good fight friends and tell those voices to get lost. We all have a story to tell and amazing gifts to offer. We are each called to something--whether its the beauty of motherhood or the artistry of photography--we all have something of worth to share and to give.
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