Starting your own business is an exciting and challenging journey.
As someone who has started a handful of businesses over the years, I’ve experienced both successes, and failures. I’ve sold custom t-shirts, made diaper cakes, was a portrait photographer, sold wellness products, did graphic design and website development, and am now a freelance copywriter and branding auditor. Looking back, I can clearly see the pivotal moments where I made the right choices, and where I messed up. I want to share the valuable lessons I have learned along the way, so that you can stay positive and focused on building your dream business with confidence.
1. Where attention goes, energy flows:
It’s crucial to nurture a mindset that empowers you to overcome obstacles and reach your goals. One of the most important things to remember is that where you direct your attention, your energy will follow. Instead of getting caught up in comparing yourself to other people who are doing similar things that you are, or feeling discouraged by the presence of similar businesses and worrying that you will just be another fish in the sea, embrace the fact that none of them can offer what you do in the same way. You are the only one who has your specific life experiences and ideas that you will use to operate your business or build your brand. Celebrate your personal strengths and expertise, and know that there is room for you to make your own unique mark on the world.
2. Avoid burnout:
While building and running a business requires dedication and hard work, it’s absolutely critical to avoid burnout. In the past, I have stayed up half the night working on a project for a client or a new idea like a mad scientist. While this was positive energy being put into achieving my business goals, it left me exhausted and drained. Striking a balance between work and your personal life is essential for staying productive and maintaining your overall well-being. Running a business yourself, especially from home, can make it difficult to find balance. It was a great day when I had the epiphany that businesses have business hours and my clients weren’t going to be shocked or upset if I wasn’t working on their project at 11:00 PM. Prioritize self-care by taking breaks, getting that laundry done or those dishes washed, participating in an activity you enjoy (even if this just means binge watching a show on Netflix), and spending time with loved ones. A refreshed mind and body are more effective and creative, which will allow you to focus on your goals and tackle business challenges with renewed energy.
3. Choose a supportive network:
The people you choose to surround yourself with can significantly impact your mindset and overall success. This is great life advice in general – we’ve all heard the quote, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Seek out other entrepreneurs, mentors, and friends who believe in your vision and can provide constructive support and guidance. While it’s very important to consider all feedback, even if it’s not what you want to hear, be cautious of sharing your business ideas with those who inadvertently project their own fears or insecurities onto you. It took me a long time to learn that other people’s opinions about me or what I was doing were more about them than they were about me, but now that I understand that, it’s been invaulable. Surround yourself with supportive people who genuinely want to see you succeed.
4. Work smarter, not harder:
Instead of trying to do everything yourself, consider delegating or hiring experts for tasks that you aren’t as skilled at or don’t have the time for. This could include things like graphic design, accounting, website design, copywriting and content writing, or customer support. By outsourcing these things, you can free up valuable time and energy to focus on the core aspects of your business where your own expertise is. I’m the worst at trying to do everything myself, so do as I say and not as I do. You will spend money upfront, but the financial return is usually far greater than the expense when you are utilizing someone with specialized skills and professional experience. Keep in mind that those types of business expenses are also tax-deductible! Additionally, with today’s technology, there are countless tools and resources available to streamline your business processes, and many of them are free. Whether it’s project management software, social media scheduling tools, a program like Canva for graphics, or accounting software, incorporating technology into your business operations can save you time and energy. You can find a program or app to do just about anything. Take advantage of them!
5. Take small, consistent steps:
Remember, successful businesses are not built in a day. In the beginning stages of building a business, it is so easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged. If you haven’t started making sales or getting traffic to your website, you have no way of knowing what is working and what isn’t. That is okay! Commit to taking consistent action each day, whether it’s writing a blog post like I’m doing right now, posting on social media, networking, or working on a tangible item that you sell. Make yourself a daily task list or a weekly schedule ahead of time, and stick to it. Be reasonable about your time and what you can accomplish. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked back and thought, if I had just kept doing (fill in the blank), I’d be so much farther ahead than I am right now. Any step in the right direction will play a part in your success. By consistently working towards your goals, you’ll make steady progress and build momentum over time.
As you navigate the journey of building your own business, remember to stay focused, positive, and proactive.
Embrace your uniqueness, avoid burnout, surround yourself with the right people, hire professionals for tasks that are not your strengths or require more time than you can spare, and take consistent steps every day. With these strategies in place, you’ll build a solid foundation for your business, improve your own mindset, and ultimately achieve building that dream business that you envision.