8 Lessons My First Year Of Business Taught Me
Monday seemed like a good day to chat about some motivational and helpful tips on the first year of owning my own business. It has been both rewarding and challenging, but I am so grateful for the lessons I have learned that will continue to lead to my successes!
Today I'm going to share my most valuable lessons from year one of owning my own little biz, which include a few things I wish I had learned earlier!
Lesson 1 is about sticking to your business policies. This covers cancellations, refunds, complaints, booking avenues, etc.
We all want to bring in as many clients/customers as we can during our first months as business owners, but the truth is that you will be confronted with more clients who do not respect you or your business on a professional level and you will encounter burn out much quicker if you don't set boundaries. People pleasing paired with not prioritizing your personal time can be extremely detrimental to the longevity of your business. While you may lose a handful of clients who do not want to pay fees or respect your time/policies, you will inevitably gain more clients who DO, which makes your work life much more enjoyable ad sustainable.
My 2nd lesson is making sure you price your services/products equal to your required income (key word: required). I'm not talking monthly paycheck goals here, but knowing what you need to bring in for expenses per month to keep your business and home life comfortable is necessary for success.
Write down your monthly bills, add a small buffer amount for emergencies/savings and split that per days that you work per month. Divide that by the hours that your operate per day and you've got your 'required' baseline to stay afloat. Don't sell yourself short. We put a lot of time and money into the services we offer and you should be compensated adequately for them!
3rd lesson is that making connections with clients/followers/fellow artists is key.
This one is pretty straight forward, but there is a fine line between connecting with people and over sharing. I do believe that keeping your personal social media pages and business pages separate makes a large difference in being taken seriously by clients booking online. Without the opportunity to meet you before booking an appointment, you want to ensure they feel they are coming to a professional and safe place by scrolling through your pages! On the other hand, never showing your face or posting anything other than infographics can seem too robotic and also deter clients from booking in, the balance here is key.
Building relationships with your community of artists is also important, not only for business networking but to have like-minded individuals that you can bounce ideas off of and share victories with! Support systems are SO important!
The 4th lesson was a tough one for me to accept and I still have tasks that could easily be handled by someone else, but I digress. Make sure you out source. Anything that is repetitive, can be automated, takes up too much of your time or is a specialty field outside of your own, HIRE SOMEONE ELSE TO DO IT! Not only does this give you more time to focus on yourself and the big tasks within your biz, but it helps minimize errors and streamline processes behind the scenes.
Lesson number 5 is invest in yourself and your business. To attract high paying, loyal clients you need to offer a high quality and professional environment. Education is always a good investment, but make sure to look into who you learn from so that you get the most out of your money spent. Another way to practice this is by spending money on body care. I don't mean weekly spa visits but routine massages/acupuncture/chiro as well as daily stretching/foam rolling can save your life and your career down the road. Do not underestimate the power of a monthly massage!
Speaking of underestimating... make sure to keep up with the things that bring you joy outside of work too. Wash your face every night, keep up with your weekly friend nights, nourish your body with food that you love, move your body in ways that make you feel good, and try to keep up with your personal self care as closely as you can. Taking care of your mind and body will directly reflect in your business. Put yourself first!
Lesson 6 is one for business and for life. Have a good support system around you and distance yourself from anyone who minimizes you or your business. While you don't need to cut everyone out of your life that doesn't jump at the chance to promote/support you, it is important to have positive forces around you to help when things get tough. Business ownership is not easy and can be extremely stressful if you have to do it alone. Make time for family, friends and relationships that help lift you up and lend a hand when you need it!
The 7th lesson is to be your own hype man. Having an outward support system is important, but if your mental health and self confidence is struggling, it will be difficult to handle owning a business. As someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, I quickly realized that comparing and non-stop scrolling becomes dangerous very quickly. I do not follow any social media accounts that feed negative thoughts, I limit my time on social media daily and I constantly up myself in my head. Your internal voice is powerful and your repetitive thoughts will have an external effect. Everyone is at a different place in their business journey, everyone brings their own unique skill and artistry to the game and that is so beautiful!
Remind yourself often that you are worthy of success, because you are!!
I've said it before and I will say it again, your business is you but you are not your business. Make sure that you take the steps necessary to keep your health in tip top shape because your energy is contagious and your clients will want to spend time in a happy and inviting space. Take mental health days, practice methods that help you care for yourself and acknowledge that it is okay to feel low and take time to pick yourself back up.
Lastly, lesson 8 is don't give up. Owning a business can be stressful, daunting and scary sometimes. Challenges come up and unexpected road bumps can take you by surprise, but if you can push through the tough parts and hold onto your 'why', you'll do just fine. Remember that the average small business typically takes 2-3 years to become profitable or see immense growth. Those first few years may be a bit of a slow build but the ones to follow will be your most rewarding.
Learn from my lessons and take on your first few years of business a couple steps ahead!
Sending you love and kindness,