Wow, so I have been doing this entrepreneur thing for about eight months now, so I am far from an expert but I have definitely learned a thing or two. Below you will find some of my key learning moments over the past few months:
Talk to everyone you respect in the business world. Literally everyone, even your second cousin three times removed. You would be surprised how much you can learn from a 15 minute conversation with a fellow entrepreneur, creative or business person.
The daily struggle between building a successful business or being a self employed individual is real. When building a business, sometimes you have to spend a little money and give up control of things that others can do better vs. keeping it all for yourself. After my struggle with this decision and a very frank conversation with one of my mentors I have decided I am definitely looking to build a business here.
Surround yourself by awesome people, including your clients. Work for awesome people and you will be even more motivated to go above and beyond for them and produce stellar projects.
Just send the email. Do it. So, my first few weeks into this new life and I was getting a bit nauseous at the thought of reaching out to my network, especially considering I didn't do a wonderful job of keeping in touch while I was on mat leave with my son. But at the end of the day, when people respect your work, they are genuinely excited to hear from you and usually super helpful. I LOVE MY NETWORK.
Serious ego-check - people say 'no'. Say what? As a super-star life-long learner and perfectionist, 'no' is a word I rarely heard before starting my own business. I always found a way to get what I needed to make the project a success at my past job. As an entrepreneur in the creative space, businesses have trusted suppliers in place and don't have infinite budgets, and sometimes just want to go with another supplier. The first 'no' I received was a bit of a hard pill to swallow, but now I am realizing, all you can do is put your business out their and see who likes what you are creating.
Finally, remember why you started in the first place, building a business is no joke. There is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that go into building a successful small business. If you lose sight of why you started in the first place, it will be very difficult to stay focused. Luckily for me, I wake up every morning and stare into the beautiful eyes of my 'why' (my little boy, Deacon), and am always reminded of why I started this in the first place - I want to show my son that you can have a dream and you can make it a successful reality.
I am super grateful for all these experiences and look forward to continuing my journey of building a small business. I saw this quote once when I was a teen and I scribbled it down in one of my journals and now looking back I understand why I was attracted to the quote, "working with a small business is really you just believing in a dream" (I do not know the author of this quote, but you are really wonderful, whoever you are!)
Let's stay on the learning train - feel free to share any of your own fun lessons in the comments below!