It’s been seven months. Seven months since I started my business. SO CRAZY, right!?! Maybe not as crazy to you as it is to me, considering I’ve dealt with all things that come along with, but still. It has been an incredible ride so far, and I’ve learned a TON.
Now, I’m no expert by any means, but some of the most important things that I’ve learned have humbled me and allowed me to grow in ways that I never thought possible. What I’ve come to realize is that sometimes knowing what not to do, is more valuable then knowing what to do.
Here are five things that I’ve learned along this crazy journey called entrepreneurship, that I think all business owners should know.
Don’t try to re-invent the wheel. You’re not the first person to start your own business, or go off on your own to freelance, so learn from others. Don’t try to recreate something that’s been around for decades. Frankly, it’s just a waste of time and when you’re starting up something new – you don’t have that kind of time to waste – trust me. Your time is better spent advancing your business, not creating tools that have already been created for you. Learn from others, utilize templates that are already out there and connect with like-minded people that have already been where you are.
Prioritize your business needs over your business wants.It’s easy to get excited and caught up in going down the list of things you want for your business, but it’s important to decide what’s most crucial for your business right now and focus on that. Set everything else aside and revisit when the time is right.
For instance, it took me almost six months to have a logo designed and to create a Facebook page for my business. I actually didn’t really want to start a Facebook page, because well, it’s just another thing to manage – but knew it would be important down the line for me, and my clients. So instead of putting time and energy into it at the start, I used my personal page to share updates and I focused on getting actual business, worked hard at keeping that business, built relationships and networked. Then, when the time was right, I invested in getting a logo designed, and created a Facebook page. Sounds simple, right? Well, ask any business owner and they’ll tell you – prioritizing is nothing but.
You don’t know everything and it’s OK. No one knows everything. No one. No matter who they are or how much training they’ve had – they don’t know it all, and neither do you. And guess what? That’s okay! Because thankfully, the things that you don’t know, other people do and there are resources out there to help. Instead of spinning your wheels trying to figure it all out on your own, ask for help. It’ll save you a ton of time and energy and your business (including your clients!) will thank you later. Most importantly, you will thank you later.
Forget the “5 Year Plan” – set small, achievable goals. I can’t tell you how many times I get “so, are you going to start hiring? Get an office space? What’s next??” Honestly. I don’t know. And I’m totally fine with not knowing. For me, it’s more important to set attainable goals for myself and my business at the start then to create these ideas that may or may not be realistic and try to work towards them somewhat blindly. Give yourself some smaller goals – ones that you know you can achieve so that you can put plans in place to achieve them. Not only will this help you focus, but it’ll also allow you to feel what it’s like to hit those goals and know how rewarding it is once they’re achieved. It’ll only propel you forward that much more to create bigger goals the next time around.
Follow your dreams – even if you don’t know what they are. This was never my dream. In fact, still isn’t. But, I’ve come to understand that it’s my calling. Sounds a bit over-the-top, I know, but honestly – it’s how I feel now. I feel like this is what I’m supposed to be doing. That said, it’s become my “dream” and the way I see it – I get to do whatever it is that I want to do, and with a little hard work, anything is attainable. Truly, I mean that. Even in the short amount of time that I’ve been on my own, my business has changed. What I want out of it has changed, too, and that’s okay because its mine! It’s now my “dream” and I get to create it. Even if it’s one day at a time. So, don’t get wrapped up in the idea of what your dream is/was supposed to be – live it, learn from it and allow it to evolve in the way that it’s supposed to.