Guys, running a business is hard.
Sounds like a common sense statement, right? I mean, if it was easy everyone would be doing it. It takes work, commitment, and knowledge. It takes risks and constant learning and a TON of trial and error. But it’s also hard in a different way. It’s hard like being a mom is hard.
You can read every book you know on the topic, talk to all the experts, watch all the webinars, and still fall flat on you face, pulling your hair out on the way down. You can shield it from unwanted influence, arms wrapped around it tight to protect it from the world, and still the world leaves its mark. You can love it with all of your heart and still have those “what did I get myself into” moments.
I recently had a major setback in a business I started with my mother just this year. It took me a week to accept that sentence as fact, but it is. I say setback instead of failure because a failure is when you give up and refuse to learn from mistakes made, and boy have we learned.
Now, I’m not going to claim to be an expert on the topic of entrepreneurship because that would be silly. However, I have learned a few things in these past few months that I would love to share with anyone new to the business world like myself.
Businesses are like babies
The beginning stages of a business are both exciting and overwhelming. You are absolutely in love with this new part of your life, but it takes endless nurturing, time, and learning. Plus, it can be highly exhausting and you can never be fully prepared. It’s like when are bringing your newborn to meet your friends for the first time. You get yourself and the baby dressed up and do your hair for the first time in weeks, only to have your newborn spit-up all over you as soon as you get to the restaurant. Your diaper bag, of course, is filled with an array of onsies, but nothing to help you out of your current situation. What do you do? You wing it and prepare better next time. Just like a mom and baby are constantly learning each other, so are an entrepreneur and their business.
Part-time Effort yields part-time results
Speaking of motherhood, that is a full-time job and so is your new business. If you are only expecting to put in “2-5 hours a week”, then the odds are not going to be in your favor. Is it possible? Maybe. But I’ve never personally met anyone who is running an extremely successful business and not putting the time into it.
Take ownership and move on
So, that setback I was talking about earlier was an issue I had with a manufacturer we were working with. Long story short, the service and products we received were horrible and I take full ownership of that. Yes, the way they run their business and the quality of the products they produce is on them, but I chose to work with them, so the way it effected our shop was on me. Taking immediate ownership of the situation also meant taking action to fix the problem. We put our shop on a temporary shutdown until we could find a manufacturer that we were 100% comfortable working with.
Scheduling is important
When you run a business from home it can be easy to push things off with the intent to handle them later. Flexibility is one of the perks of running your own business, but it is also a huge procrastination trap. Make sure you are setting a schedule for yourself so you don’t let things pile up to the point that it is overwhelming to handle.
Map out your year
One of the mistakes I made this year was not taking the opportunity to map out my year. I set a goal for the year, but that was it. I had all these plans for holiday sales and date specific events, but I didn’t map them out so by the time the date was coming up I was completely unprepared. Things will run smoother for you if you plan them out in advance.
You will not get support from everyone
If you are like me, you will have people who support you with all of your being. You will also have those who are amused by your “cute hobby,” just don’t care, or actually want to see you fail. Don’t measure your worth by number of your supporters. Weed out the negativity and work your ass off for you. If you are aligned with what you are doing, then you will prove those people wrong in the end, but by that point it wont even matter.
Find your tribe
There is a mile-long list of women that I have met this past year that I admire deeply. I have had the privilege of talking to shop owners, bloggers, coaches, healers, graphic designers, photographers, social media marketers, and more, just from putting myself out their and finding a community that I fit into. We live in a world where we can instantly connect with someone by the push of a button or the tap of a finger. I have friends and mentors that I have never met in person, but have learned more from than people I’ve known my whole life.
Show the world who you are
The business owners that I admire most AND the ones that I find the most successful stay true to themselves and show the world who they are. I’ve noticed that people like to see the face behind the product, I certainly do. This is a hard one for me because I prefer to be behind the camera, but giving your audience an occasional glimpse into your life, lets them know they are dealing with a real person and helps them relate to you a bit more.
Are you a new business owner? What are some of the things you’ve learned along the way?
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