Starting a business is exciting, exhilarating, a feeling that you can’t even put into words. And to say that I started my business 3 years ago still sounds pretty surreal. To say I have learned a lot, is an understatement. The excitement of starting a business sometimes overshadows the tough shit side of things. I wanted to share a few things that I have learned the past few years that helped my business and my personal life.
#1: Network connections are everything.
I really can’t preach this enough. People are never a fan of “networking” but nowadays its so much than going to a stuffy event with “hello my name is” tags. When starting your business, you need to get your name out there and not just with people in your field. You never know where you can meet someone that can up level your business in ways that you never knew! Get out there, attend these events, and start building connections. It truly is imperative to your growth.
#2: Find your tribe.
Along with these networking events that you attend, you should also find other business owners that you align with. Ideally these are people who are either in the same field as you and the same year of business. The reason for this is that you are probably sharing the same struggles and can give advice to each other. It helps so much knowing that someone else had been there and has your back and truly supports you. Starting a business can be lonely, and as much as your friends and family are there for you, they sometimes don’t fully understand what this whole crazy world entails. I joined a mastermind this year, and it has been amazing! So find your tribe and love on them hard.
#3 Talk about your business.
Something so simple, yet can be powerful. Do not be timid when talking about your new business. Be excited and confident. When someone asks what you do, don’t say, “oh I’m kind of starting my photography business, but I am just starting out and super new”. You need to say “I am a business owner and I just started my photography business and I am awesome”. People are truly intrigued with those who start a business. It is a great conversation starter. The amount of times that I have gotten peoples business cards from sampling talking about my business on planes & in cabs is pretty amazing. I have connected with every single one of them, who knows when something can come of it!
#4 Set those boundaries
When starting a business, it is very hard to turn off. You find yourself staying up until 2am, researching the next thing, responding to clients, dreaming up new marketing plans, writing those blog posts. It is exhausting. I completely understand that in the beginning of your business, there is so much to set up and do, but you need to remind yourself that not everything needs to get done at once. If you become tired, worn out, run down, this is going to reflect in your business. You are not going to be able to pour into your clients as much as they deserve if you aren’t feeling top notch. Set those business hours and make them known, so that clients know they aren’t going to get a response after 6pm or on the weekends, and that is ok! If you are the type that gets distracted if a notification pops up on your phone, turn off the notifications after business hours. Stop writing blog posts at 5pm. Be present with your family & friends. It will save your sanity (and possibly relationships!) if you start setting boundaries in the beginning of your business!
#5 Get everything in order
This is a very broad statement but what I want you to focus on is getting everything in order that you need for when you start taking on clients. This can range from how you are going to invoice someone, getting your contracts written (so important!), do you have a welcome packet or pricing sheet? These should all be done before you take on clients. Yes, some things like the welcome packet will evolve as your business goes on, but you want to have it ready to go for when you sign your client! You don’t want to have to be scrambling to create something after you receive someone’s deposit or order, it will feel and look rushed! Even if you do not have clients yet, create these documents so that they are ready and in order!
I hope that these insights can help propel you into the next stage of your business or even provide you with some clarity. I would love to hear what you are struggling with or what you have implemented in your first few years of business!