Updated: Sep 7
There are a countless number of things I wish someone would have told me before I started on my entrepreneurial journey — mostly the things that would have saved me A LOT of time and money and hard lessons learned. Despite a lot of setbacks and mistakes made, I still made it, I’ve had profitable 6-figure businesses --so don’t think you have to know everything to get started because you will never be ready. That’s the beauty of the entrepreneur journey, you don’t have to be ready, you just have to dive in.
1. Shut Out the Noise
In this day and age, Imposter Syndrome is almost impossible to avoid. We’re constantly on social media, comparing our chapters with someone else’s highlight reel or trilogy. When we don’t measure up to other people’s success that we see on social media we feel defeated and start to doubt ourselves. But what we view as their “overnight success” was most likely the result of a decade of blood, sweat, and tears. But we don’t see that --because Instagram only shows us the highlights. So, by constantly comparing ourselves even if unconsciously, we are missing our opportunity to be unique in our offering, voice, and ultimately brand.
2. Only Listen to Your Gut
The only person that is solely responsible for all decisions in your business is you. When I first started, I had the tendency of letting clients run the show because, well, they were clients and they knew what they wanted. I was still learning how to deliver that. However, what I was actually doing was not listening to my gut, and at the end of the day if there was a financial loss or a misunderstanding that resulted in client dissatisfaction that was my responsibility and not my client’s fault. After several lessons, I started saying no more, only taking projects I was confident in or that allowed me to work with clients I actually wanted to serve.
3. Profit First
Making sure that your business is profitable should be something you do from day one and not one day. I wish that from the beginning I would have set up 5 different bank accounts 1) Income 2) Profit 3) Owners Comp 4) Tax 5) OPEX. Instead, I pushed finances to side and decided to worry about it later and dumped all the profits into one bank account. Come tax time, it was a disaster. My business didn't have the money to pay the sales tax, I ended borrowing money from myself and so essentially I and ended up working for free. Don't make that same mistake!
4. You Get What You Pay For
Hiring is one of the hardest parts of the job because great talent and good people are hard to find. Usually, the best ones are your competitors. At the same time, it is very difficult to grow your business if you don’t invest in a team. In the beginning, it may feel like you can’t afford to hire anyone, however, your future self cannot afford for you not to. So give yourself some grace and remember you do, generally speaking, get what you pay for. When you can invest in someone’s talents even if their salary or hourly rate seems too high, remember it will pay off because most likely they are bringing a skill set that your organization can greatly benefit from.
5. Don’t Be Afraid of Pivoting
One of the things I’ve struggled with the most since starting one of my businesses, floral design, is feeling guilty when what I’ve been working so hard on, no longer feels like the right fit. It created an identity crisis and I was frustrated with myself and embarrassed to tell others what I was going through. That created a very lonely and hopeless place for me, especially as a creative. If someone had told me in the beginning to chase every idea, every dream, and know when the time was to let it go and move on, it would have saved me a lot of heartaches, bad hiring decisions, and lost time. You will grow as your business grows —either with it, without it, or in another way. You are not your business and it is totally normal to want to change your strategy and pivot as time goes on.
If you find yourself struggling or overwhelmed by any of these five points, know that you are not alone and many passionate, driven entrepreneurs have all felt the same way at one point or another. My hope is that you will take these pieces of advice and remember them as you are faced with decisions in your business. Don’t make the same mistakes I did, but even if you do, know that you will come out the other end just fine. Entrepreneurship is a lifelong journey of creating, evolving, and building the life you want to live, and only you can do that.
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