SHE BELIEVED SHE COULD SO SHE LIT THAT BITCH UP HERSELF.
I get a lot of emails or direct messages on social media from people who are interested in starting a business, looking for advice or looking for something they can’t find. Generally, I answer but as of late, I’ve decided to stop this because it takes time to give thoughtful responses and besides time being money, precious time is taken away from all the tasks I must complete as a small business.
Don’t get me wrong. Often, I recall how difficult and frustrating it was for me when I first dipped my toes into business. I’m talking about 2008 when I launched my jewelry business, had shitty graphics, and failed miserably type of toe dipping. Years later with a list of failed ideas, I have something that has grown beyond my expectations, am still learning, and failing less miserably. But, I spend so much time and money implementing my ideas on my own that I can’t make myself easily accessible. So, I suspect that the people contacting me are missing something... they’re just not going for it. So, here are twelve powerful tips to get you out of my DM’s and into action.
1. DEFINE YOUR GOALS AND GO FOR IT
You know exactly what that means… You identify what you want and you go for it. Start defining and reflecting on your goals by doing a brainstorm. List your past successes. What do you think made those successful? List your failures. What contributed to the failures? List what makes you happy, what you’re passionate about and what you stand for. What’s your dream and ideal life? Writing these things down can not only help you stay motivated but you are likely to uncover some things that have been holding you back. Once you know better, go for it. Worst case, you fuck it all up. The great thing is since you’re in control, you decide when it’s time to pivot or exit. You're not a rock or a tree, you can totally make some moves.
2. DO THE RESEARCH
There are no short cuts. Do the research, put in the work and learn from your own point of view about YOUR business. No amount of advice is going to save you or make your business work unless you make research and implement what you’ve learned from your research. You will research for a variety of reasons. Whether its deciding what type of business you’re going to launch, getting to know your customers and or separating yourself from the competition, research is involved. Research every detail so that you can make the best decisions for yourself.
3. PREPARE YOURSELF
You can’t complain about things not working if you’re not preparing yourself. Sign up for training's that can help you gain valuable skills to apply to your business. Get organized. Create a business plan. Contact the Small Business Development Center in your area to see if they offer any workshops. Read books that help you gain valuable insight in business and take classes that help you level up and give your business a boost.
4. ELIMINATE SHINY OBJECT SYNDROME & FOCUS
As creatives, our brains are constantly going and coming up with new ideas which sounds awesome until you end up confused about where you’re going. I had to learn how to turn this off so if a new idea comes to mind, I keep a file on my computer for ideas and I return my focus to where it needs to be. Every idea is not a business and every idea is not good for your business. They call this Shiny Object Syndrome and it's the disease of distraction. Many Entrepreneurs have this issue where they think every idea should be chased, so you end of with a bunch of projects that don’t get completed. Often, these projects are poorly planned, all over the place and people start getting confused about what you do. All of that money you’re using to start up another project can be used on the one that you already have launched.
5. GIVE IT YOUR ALL
When I say give it your all, I’m not talking about staying up as late as you can to give the impression that you’re working while everyone else is sleeping. I’m talking about using every ounce of knowledge, experience, and potential you have and putting that into your business. I’m self-taught in a variety of areas including a BA in Social Welfare and Masters in Social Work. You better believe I’ve used everything I know including those years I spent doing customer service and debt collection. The discipline I learned while hustling through graduate school including the same pressure to pump out papers is used to create dope blog content. Take everything you have and throw it into your business and in the areas you fall short, figure out how you can improve or hire out the work.
6. GET SUPPORT
As your business grows, you’ll find it necessary to seek out mentorship and other forms of support. Doing it alone can become overwhelming so build your support system of family, friends and other entrepreneurs that you feel comfortable sharing information with. My support system includes my sister that helps with events, nieces that are having heir first work experiences helping out where they can, my hubby that will help with picking up a supply order and other errands including other family that can take my kids when I need the day to handle things kid-free. Entrepreneurship can also feel lonely so having a few biz besties you can trust to bounce ideas off of or vent to when you’re going through a rough patch is amazing support to have.
7. BUILD AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIPS
Don’t be the boss girl that’s taking more than you give. Build authentic relationships through genuine inquiry and getting to know people as friends instead of business opportunities is a great way to grow our support system. On the other hand, if you’re the type to always give and never ask for help, put yourself out there and allow people to support you by learning how to ask for exactly what you need. Build your support system and get over your fear of trusting others. Relationships are give and take so don’t be the person always giving and never getting anything out of your relationships.
8. AVOID THE NAYSAYERS
Your business will come to the attention of many people who are seeing you or the first time and many times they have their own ideas about your brand and what you do with it. As much as possible, tune out the people who have nothing but negative feedback for you. My products have been called ugly and I’ve been told that my labels are not as pretty as a popular candle brand that has stores in every mall across the nation. Ignore these people and avoid them as this type of negative feedback is not constructive and does nothing to inspire you or help you make necessary changes within your business.
9. EVERYONE IS NOT YOUR COMPETITION
Instinctively, you may see others as competition but I want to challenge you to think abundantly. We’re all faced with some sort of challenges whether it’s not knowing how to stand out in your niche, comparison, dealing with copycats and remaining authentic. It’s not easy! Seeing everyone as competition will only make it harder and it’s rare that you will get far without teaming up with someone. I've collaborated by pointing emerging candle makers in the right direction and at some point I may need the same help. Doing this doesn't hurt me because what's for me, is for me.
10. HAVE FUN AND FAIL FAST
We have this idea that business should look a certain way and we should avoid failing. Who said that we have to be correct, look shiny and do everything like everyone else? Bring your personality into your business, play around with ideas, see what sticks and just enjoy the journey. Don’t be afraid to be a little rough around the edges in the beginning. As time passes, you will learn exactly what works for you. If an idea does not work out, you have other ideas waiting to see the light of day. Just know that failure is inevitable, and you want to start failing fast so that you can learn.
11. GET A HANDLE ON STRESS
Please develop a habit of managing stress in a healthy way such as unplugging or having a life outside of running a business. For real, it's no joke! Your to do list get's so long that it can be easy to miss the important person which is you!
Get some sleep, watch your favorite show, enjoy spending time with loved ones and take up a hobby that does not involve making money. You're not missing out on anything that is already meant for you. It will all be there tomorrow.
12. BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT HIRING FAMILY MEMBERS
While hiring family members seems like it could be a quick way to find reliable help, especially avoid hiring problematic family members. Pay attention to the warning signs that this person may not have the qualities that you need to move forward. Consider how you will handle this family member arriving to work late on several occasions, calling out, discussing dissatisfaction with work to other family members or breaking other rules. If you already have a difficult relationship with this person, post your job listing to a reputable website and find candidates that have the experience you're looking for.
13. REMEMBER YOUR WHY
The most successful business owners still experience some level of self-doubt. It comes with the territory. Take it easy on yourself and remember why your started.
Did you enjoy these tips? Let me know in the comment section below.