I was devastated.
All my savings went into starting so many business ideas that have failed and I didn’t know why? I had to get a part-time job just to keep up with my personal and business expenses, I was borrowing money from people left and right, and I was falling into a depression I wasn’t sure I could get out of. Like sheesh, talk about a quarter-life crisis, right?
Looking back; I’ve always had “side hustles” attempting to start my own business. First, it was an event planning business... Major Fail. Then a cupcake and baking business, which I admit, your girl doesn’t do well in the kitchen. Finally, I realized that there were a few things that led me to believe those endeavors never fully worked out because of the multiple things I wasn’t doing the right way to maintain my business and see success.
So in hopes that I am preventing you from following the same path, here are a few things I wish I knew when I first decided to take this “leap of faith” and dive into dreams with my eyes closed and fingers crossed behind my back:
#1 ASK FOR HELP!
I’ll just quit my job, come up with a creative business name, start a website, and make tons of money! Haha. Yea right. I wanted to prove to my parents that I could do this all by myself, and I did tons of research, but I truly had no experience with all the parts that make a business function. And when fires started burning, I had no idea how to stop them and my biggest mistake was not asking others for help.
Don’t be ashamed! You will never know what you are going to get in return when you just ask! And ask many many many people.
#2 SET GOALS.
Yea sure, you wrote some goals when you started writing up your business plan… right?
And you probably have to go hunt them down just to tell me what they are. Well if this is you... Let’s stop here for a few minutes. Take a deep breath. Inhale and exhale.
Now THINK. What do you really want in a few months from now, what to do you want in a year from now, five years from now? Get serious with yourself. Write them down.
No seriously, write them down.
Set REALISTIC long term goals that you really want to see yourself achieve AND set some short term achievable milestones that will excite you each step of the way.
#3 RELATIONSHIPS COUNT.
Network. Network. Network. It’s not easy when you first go to an event and your palms are all sweaty and you can’t even remember the first word of that elevator pitch you practiced in the mirror all day.
This is why I suggest going to a few fun events for practice and if you spoke to at least one person in that room, made a connection with them, and exchanged contact information. Tap yourself on the back, you did it!
Make it a point to connect with more people each and every time! And most importantly don’t forget to follow up with these people you meet, add them to your contact list, and keep up with them every once in a while. You never know when you will need each other.
#4 EMBRACE MISTAKES.
When you have always set really high expectations of yourself and you want everything to be perfect it is SO HARD to accept you’ve made a mistake. Trust me, I KNOW.
Whenever you make a mistake, just take a step back. Take a deep breath and find the best SOLUTION to help you solve the mistake.
Oh and just keep moving forward! Don’t delay by dwelling on things in the past.
#5 WORK SMARTER NOT HARDER.
Being a business owner, DOES NOT mean that you are obligated to work 24/7. I use to be a director for a food manufacturer and I hated that work was non-stop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
This is NOT OK! I repeat. This is not ok!
Make sure to create an efficient schedule that will allow you to focus during your peak hours of total awesomeness! It’s important to have balance in your life, with work, friends, family, and yourself.
#6 CUSTOMERS COME FIRST AND ALWAYS.
How nice would it be if you didn’t have to rely on social media channels, like Instagram, that can easily disappear with all your hard work? And possibly along with all your potential customers?
I don’t know about you, but it sounds pretty good to me and has worked for me too. Make sure to take the best care of the clients and customers you have NOW! Those are the people that are going to be your biggest fans, point of referrals, and supporters.
#7 HIRE YOUR WEAKNESS.
This was FOR SURE the hardest thing for me to do when I started scaling my business. I have a hard time trusting people…. Do you?
When it’s a business that you built from scratch and you’ve seen it grow, it’s not easy to let just anyone come into your little circle. Right? But it's ok!
Even if you aren’t ready to hire.. Make a list of things that you aren’t sooo great at, or easy tasks that just take up a lot of your valuable time. When the time is right and you meet just the right person, it WILL HELP you to divide and conquer, so that you can GROW!
#8 KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
You see I’m a Libra, and we tend to think we know it all and that “winging it” is ok…
This, in fact, is not the case. When I first decided to become a photographer, I bought this beautiful camera and just decided to “wing it” with all the knowledge I already had.
Needless to say, I struggled the entire shoot, before and after! I went through so much trouble because I didn’t take the time to read the manual, do a little research, watch some youtube videos and really prepare myself to have a smooth process flow.
Make it a point to learn EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
#9 JUST DO IT!
I overthink everything WAY too much. So much, that I end up NOT doing things and then later regretting it when I see someone else doing what I thought of.
It’s critical to feed your mind with positivity, kindness, and reassurance. It’s so easy to get caught up with what everyone else is doing, instead of minding your own business and getting to werk.
Take action! Periodt.
#10 NICHE DOWN.
Here we go. I’m sure you’ve heard this several times, right?
Well. Are ya doing it?
I was a newborn photographer, children photographer, wedding photographer, engagement photographer, food photographer, lifestyle photographer, fashion photographer, brand photographer, event photographer… Did I lose you yet?
Catch my drift?
Pick ONE service to focus on, market the hell out of it, master it and repeat. It’s impossible to serve every single person, so why do it?
For me, success is a work in progress and it evolves every time I walk back to the drawing board. A year ago I was different, my dreams were different, and my goals kept changing, but these tips work; whether you are starting out or readjusting. I wish I understood how important these 10 tips were, and I hope you can apply at least one to your journey.
I’d love to hear more tips! If you would be so kind as to share in the comments below so that anyone who comes across this blog post knows they are not alone! We are all here to help each other grow.