Since 2005, I’ve been a creative entrepreneur. My husband and I started a design firm together in the first year of our relationship. It was more of a freestyle endeavor to start a business in public for five years. It was not very successful as a company. For me, it was the equivalent of a master’s in business administration degree.
So, by the time I opened my second and current company, I already knew what not to do. Because of this, I’d acquired enough mistakes to earn five significant insights —lessons that have paid off twice.
Don’t make a decision too soon
It was only after I left my original partner that I realized we should never have formed a professional relationship in the first place. It is not that someone who is your closest friend, long-time colleague, or significant other can automatically be deemed the ideal executive for running a firm. I use the term “maintaining” because it’s far simpler to get enthusiastic about the prospect of launching a firm than it is to deal with day-to-day reality.
The ideal partner is someone with skills and methods that are the polar opposite of yours. The first ensures that you can cover a lot more territory without additional staff. The second may result in conflict, but it will also force you to defend your company’s instincts while weeding out less viable concepts.
Don’t give up hope
It’s not about running a business; it’s about traveling a long and winding road. Take pleasure in the journey! Unless your goal is to cash out and have some sort of built-in exit strategy, you’re more likely to want a long-term entrepreneurial profession. It’s normal to experience ups and downs — possibly on the same day or even in the same week. You will gain great clients and lose others for justifiable or unjustified reasons. That is what it means to run a company.
I’ve yet to discover a company owner who has managed to achieve some great, permanent peak beyond failure, despair, and doubt. We all go through it at one time or another. Instead of becoming discouraged, think about how you can get more resilient and learn how to handle stress effectively.
Don’t forget why you wanted to start a business in the first place
Whether it’s following a calling or gaining more control over your time, you should always ask yourself why you started down this path in the first place. It’s all too easy to get swept away by the urge to succeed and forget what you set out to achieve in your firm. For example, I was driven by issues such as quality of life, especially time off for my other interest—travel. It’s easy to be inspired by the stories of individuals who have made sacrifices and ended up with a fantastic fortune. Sometimes, temporary sacrifices are essential; but it’s worth noting when you’re on the verge of permanently shelving the thing you desire most.
Don’t try to do everything yourself if you possibly can
I started my first business with $500, barely enough to cover the fees of incorporation. As a result, I developed an addiction to performing everything myself right away. My spouse was capable of and willing to do only so much, and I found myself taking on more administrative responsibilities than I’d ever imagined. It’s difficult to find the time and energy to train a new employee when there are so many pressing issues. There was also the challenge of finding qualified staff. And because these jobs required significant learning curves, they took up valuable time and attention that could have been spent on expanding the business.
I didn’t repeat it. In just a few months into my second attempt, I contracted out half of the business to someone else. My expenses have risen, but I may now focus on doing better work and developing the firm, thanks to the extra time. Both activities assisted to speed up the business’s growth far more than previous money-saving efforts at keeping my bookkeeper.
So don’t be tempted to cover all of the ground alone. Saving money is critical, but don’t let your to-do list take precedence over your major objectives.
Don’t ever rest on your laurels
Your business plan, your marketing strategy, and even your target market are all subject to change. Nothing is carved in stone today. Each day brings fresh discoveries that alter the landscape of our world in significant ways. Your industry will undoubtedly transform either minor or major at some point. Because your resources are far more restricted as a small business, you have an inherent disadvantage. However, because you can alter course and adapt quicker than a bigger firm, you have an important advantage.
The greatest approach to staying current is to be on the lookout for shifting tides, have an open mind and a flexible approach, and maintain your abilities in adaptability top-notch.
Finally, don’t be too scared of making your errors!