It’s hard to believe that as of 2015 I will have owned my own full-time business for HALF A DECADE. I mean ... what the heck?!
There have been moments of glory, moments of frustration, mistakes, lessons learned, times where I felt inspired, times where I felt absolutely stuck, patches of self doubt, times where I sat at my computer almost in tears over taxes, (who am I kidding, I HAVE been in tears over taxes), beautiful moments of growth ... but overall it's been a really awesome experience and I’ve learned so much along the way!
So today I’m sharing 15 lessons that I’ve learned from owning my own business thus far. It’s been one heck of a ride, and I can’t wait to continue on this awesome journey of creative entrepreneurship!
1. Success doesn’t come over night.
Building a business with a loyal customer base and a tribe of followers takes time, consistency and experience. I always like to say that success comes from what you do consistently.
Don’t get frustrated if you see businesses seemingly gaining success overnight; they most likely have a backstory that involves countless hours of work!
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Umm, I asked a TON of questions when I first started my business.
Hell, I STILL ask questions!
Don’t feel like a question is “stupid,” just remember that we ALL started from the beginning at some point! So ask questions, and lots of them.
3. Passion isn’t enough, you need a plan.
Passion is awesome, and you sure as hell better be passionate about the business you are starting/trying to grow because you are going to be putting a lot of hours into it!
But unfortunately, it’s not enough.
You absolutely NEED a plan.
You need to take action, set goals, create a detailed plan with actionable steps to actually reach those goals and then you need to be strategic about what you do for your business and how you spend your time.
So if you'd like to write a plan of your own ... (which you definitely SHOULD!) ... then ...
4. Under-promise and over-deliver.
It’s so much better to set expectations low and then blow people away than to set high expectations and let them down! Never promise what you can’t 110% do.
For example, I will tell wedding clients that they can expect to receive their wedding photos 4-6 weeks after their wedding but I will almost always aim to deliver them in 2 weeks- this way it’s much sooner than they expected and they are absolutely THRILLED when they get them early!
If however, I promised them their photos in 2 weeks and was unable to make that deadline and delivered them in 3 weeks, they would probably be just a wee bit disappointed, wouldn't you think?
5. Never start a business just to make money.
I know, sounds a bit counterintuitive. But trust me, if you don’t LOVE what you are doing then you will burn out quickly. And it will suck.
Plus, I think that one of the greatest things about running your own business is being able to do something that you really love on a daily basis for “work!”
Not sure on what the purpose of your business is? Or maybe you'd like to START a business and need some ideas?
6. Respect your time and talent.
If YOU don’t, then why should others?
Respect for your time and talent should be reflected in your pricing as well as how you treat your business. Schedule your time, guard the HELL out of your time and show up consistently.
7. You will wear many hats.
Oh yes, I hope you like wearing lots of hats!
I quickly learned when I started my wedding photography business in 2010 that I wasn’t just a photographer. I was also head of marketing, advertising, web design, accounting and customer service! And guess what?
The same rings true for my online business, too.
8. Mistakes will happen.
Yep, it’s pretty inevitable.
Go with the flow and learn from your mistakes!
Don’t let them discourage you; let them inspire you to try something new or to try doing something differently! Mistakes are simply learning opportunities to get even better. EMBRACE them.
9. You’ll need to learn to say “no.”
After awhile you’ll learn that this is a very valuable skill!
You’ll need to learn to say “no” to clients that don’t fit your business mission statement and /or when you have too many things on your plate to do something well while retaining your sanity.
Anytime that you have a request or an opportunity, ask yourself if it's truly in line with the purpose of your business and your goals and ... if it's not, then pass.
10. If you truly love what you do, you’ll feel like you’re never working.
It really is the BEST!!!
Yes, it’s super hard work but it doesn’t really FEEL like work! In fact, I've never worked so hard as I do now that I work for myself. But I love it.
(At least most of the time. Except for the accounting and taxes thing … I hate that! Haha.)
But waking up each morning getting to do something you love is truly amazing.
11. Be yourself.
If you try to copy some one else then you’ll always be second best and unoriginal.
And one of the best parts about being original is that you’ll have no competition because you’ll be one-of-a-kind!
Don't want to be a copycat? Good! :-)
12. As Marie Forleo says, "Everything is figureoutable."
I didn’t start my business knowing how to build a website, what gear to choose, how to price my services, etc. I just figured it out. EVERYTHING is figureoutable!
Don’t know how to do something?
Ask some one who does. Google it. Get a book on it. Make up your own way.
Want to join a group of like-minded creatives for support, feedback, brainstorming, help with problems, growth and more?
13. Fear comes with the territory.
Yep, it’s natural. Just don’t let it hold you back and stop you from going forward!
Fear is a sign that you’re moving out of your comfort zone, and that is a super necessary part of growing as a person AND as a business!
14. Have a support system.
Having friends and family around to support your business, dreams and goals is an amazing thing. You might also consider joining some groups of like-minded people on Facebook!
15. Keep learning and growing!
Learning is a continual process that NEVER ends, baby!
In order for your business to survive, then you must keep learning and growing.
I cover the top 10 things that grew my online biz the most in 2016!
And it's full of lots of things that you can totally implement for yourself, too.
And now, my beautiful buttercup ...
Did you find this blog post helpful? If so, share it with others by sharing it on Pinterest, baby! :D
It would be really awesome of you, plus I'd really appreciate it, too. :-)
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What about you, what's one of the most important lessons you've learned so far in business and blogging?
And now ... time for that mid-morning second cup of coffee!
Because I'm obsessed.