A month or so ago while out and about I happened to run into one of my former college professors. This particular professor I had for many of my business classes as well as she was my internship adviser. Needless to say, she greatly impacted my college days as well as inspired me to follow a business entrepreneurship career path.
After we finished catching up and I told her all about Everyday Helper she asked me if I would be willing to write some real life advice about what it’s like to be a business owner for her current students. While I initially said yes right away, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had to do some reflecting myself as I’ve never really thought about this before.
So for today’s blog, I decided to just share what I wrote for her students to read as it has been well received!
Honestly, it still often feels surreal to me to say that I’m a business owner. It feels surreal that this childhood dream is now a reality. A reality that is growing more and more every day as almost a whole year has passed by since launching Everyday Helper. What have I learned this year? A lot. So much more than I could ever begin to write in one blog. I’ll save you from the boring parts, and share some of the lighter tips I have to share. Here’s 7 of the top takeaways that I’ve learned thus far:
Don’t give up
Seems simple enough, right? Well, I will be the first to tell you that the process of becoming your own boss and starting your own business is one of the toughest but yet most rewarding experiences you’ll ever experience. From learning how to start a business, growing your business, marketing your business, and trying to make some money, it is bond to get you down once in a while whether you chose to admit it or not. Countless nights spent wide awake worrying, thinking, working just to have very early mornings to follow. Maybe you, like myself, will find yourself working another job at the same time giving you more to juggle. No matter how tough the beginning stages may be, be prepared for whatever life throws your way and don’t give up! Embrace the challenges as they won’t last forever!
You are your business
What do I mean by that? Simply, once you start a business and you are the owner, you are the business. 24/7. You are the image others will associate with your business; especially if it is just you when starting. While you can set your own dress code, it’s probably wise to not show up to a new client’s home in your pajamas or worn down sweats. Even when you’re not working, consider your appearance, your attitude, and your choices as they will reflect your business’ image. And don’t forget about your actions. “The life you live is the lesson you teach.” Given you will likely spend a good portion of your time working through your business, let your lesson impact.
Get organized, and stay organized
There’s really no right or wrong way to organize your business as long as you find a way that works for you and you stick to it. Right from the start it’s important to get organized so that as your business grows, you are prepared. Oh and take it from me, it’s always a very wise idea to have backup copies of all your important documents to save yourself from the hassle of relocating them later on.
Always remember why you do what you do
I think it’s so easy to get caught up in the grand scheme of things that we often forget the reason why we started down the entrepreneurship path. Likely, you chose to because you had a new idea to bring to the area, you followed your passion, you wanted to make a difference, or you saw an opportunity for success. Whatever the reason may be for yourself, no matter how big your business becomes, always remember why you started. One of my favorite quotes from Simon Sinek is “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Always remember that and hold true to your founding principles. And if you haven’t ever considered your answer to that question, ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing.
Don’t forget to schedule time for yourself
As a new business owner, you’ll find out that it takes a lot of time and work to get your business up and growing. Along with the many meetings, the time spent attracting and gaining new clients, and working with your clients, you still have all of the “behind the scenes” work to do at the end of the day. If you’re like myself, you will schedule yourself pretty thin and put in long hours to try and get everything done while balancing all of your other life commitments. What I learned very early on is that you can’t do that. At some point, you have to close the laptop, put down the phone, and live and enjoy your life. Schedule time for yourself to get away and do something that you love. It’s important to refresh and recharge yourself so that you are able to serve others.
Network and get out in the community
Reflecting back on my first year of this journey I’ve realized how important networking has been. I’ve been lucky enough to meet and connect with many fellow small business owners in the area. And I’ve learned a lot from these owners as well. It doesn’t matter if you are networking with business owners who share the same type of business as you or not. You can learn so much from other owners who have been on the same path as yourself in terms of running a business, marketing a business, attracting and retaining clients and so forth. Connecting with other real life owners will teach you more than any book ever could. And, you just never know when you might be able to join forces and work together or help one another in some way.
It’s also important to get out and get involved in the community. By playing an active role, not only are you doing good and helping others, you’re showing that you value the community and do your part to give back to it. This is also a great way to get yourself out there and meet members of the community and to market your business and what you have to offer to the area.
Never stop learning
Just because you may be graduating from college or maybe you already have started your business and it’s doing well doesn’t mean that you should ever stop learning. A successful business owner will always keep striving to learn and grow not only their business but themselves as well. Life is a never ending classroom full of knowledge to be learned. Keep exploring, keep learning, and keep growing.
In closing, this is one of my favorite quotes of all time: “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so that you can live the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
Are you ready for the journey?