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Ever thought about leaving your day job to pursue your true passion full-time? That was my dream too, and guess what? I made it happen. However, the journey had its share of surprises.
While there isn’t a definitive guide to ensuring business success, I’d like to offer insights from my own experiences—lessons I’ve gathered and some candid advice. This way, you can embark on creating a business you adore—one that also takes care of the bills!
Here are some of the things I wish someone had shared with me when I first started my own small business:
- Keep Business and Personal Finances Separate
- Stay Adaptable to Trends
- Let Go of What Doesn’t Serve You
- Speak Confidently About Your Business
- Prioritize Organic Growth
- Choose a Flexible Business Name
- Time-Managed To-Do Lists
- Plan for Your Average Self
- Manage Your Online Presence
- Beware of Burnout
- BONUS TIPS
- In Summary
Keep Business and Personal Finances Separate
Mingling business and personal finances can be the start of a chaotic financial affair. Imagine trying to unravel a tangled thread of expenses at the end of the fiscal year; it’s a nightmare you don’t need. An exclusive business account not only simplifies your tax prep but also gives you a clearer picture of your business health. Furthermore, it establishes professionalism and can boost your credibility with clients and vendors.
Keeping these financial realms separate ensures you can make informed decisions, track growth, and identify areas for improvement with ease. Plus, should any financial hiccups arise, you’re better positioned to handle them swiftly and efficiently.
Stay Adaptable to Trends
Change is the only constant, especially in business. Trends come and go, but the key is to stay on top of trends when they happen. Riding the popularity wave can give your business that much-needed boost, but flexibility is key.
But here’s the tricky bit: It’s not just about chasing every new fad. It’s about discerning which trend aligns with your brand’s audience. Staying true to your business’s core while evolving with the times creates longevity.
Additionally, it cultivates a trustworthiness that clients and customers value — they’ll know you’re not just hopping on every bandwagon, but thoughtfully adapting in ways that serve them best. This approach not only solidifies your current customer base but also attracts those who respect and seek authentic brand evolution.
Let Go of What Doesn’t Serve You
Keeping old strategies can slow you down. Sometimes, what worked in the past might not be the best fit now. Business decisions need clear thinking, not just sticking with what’s familiar. As things change, it’s good to be open to new approaches. Sometimes, the most challenging part isn’t adopting a new strategy; it’s letting go of the old one.
Regularly checking in on your business methods is important. Make sure everything, from products to plans, matches your current goals. This helps keep your business on track and moving forward. When you clear out what’s not working, you can focus better on what does.
Speak Confidently About Your Business
Ever notice how our choice of words paints a picture? Describing your starting or growing business as a “little gig” is like calling the Grand Canyon a “decent ditch.” Your words set the stage. Every time you talk about your venture, you’re pitching, maybe not for money, but for respect, belief, and for opportunities.
If you belittle your own business, how can you expect others to see its true worth? Confidence is contagious. When you speak about your business with pride and passion, it’s not just about making an impression; it’s about building trust. Because, at the end of the day, if you don’t believe in your dream, why should anyone else?
Prioritize Organic Growth
Paid promotions can provide a quick boost and may be visually appealing, but they shouldn’t be the primary strategy. It’s essential to prioritize organic growth, which stems from genuine customer trust and loyalty to the brand.
Advertising undoubtedly has its benefits. However, solely depending on ads might give short-term results but may not offer long-term stability. To ensure sustained success, focus on providing quality offerings, fostering genuine customer engagements, and delivering consistent value. This approach ensures that a business remains resilient even amidst challenges.
Choose a Flexible Business Name
In the excitement of starting a venture, many gravitate towards a name that’s either riding the latest trend wave or hyper-specific to their current offering. While that might seem appealing initially, it’s essential to remember that businesses, like all things, undergo transformations. Opting for a name that’s too narrow might pigeonhole you, limiting potential expansions or changes in your business model down the road.
Moreover, your business name isn’t just a label—it’s a statement, an introduction. It’s often the first thing potential customers or partners encounter, setting the tone for what they can expect. A timeless and adaptable name speaks of stability and foresight. Think of it as an investment in your business’s future. By choosing a versatile name, you’re signaling that you’re not just here for today, but you’re planning and paving the way for the many tomorrows to come.
Time-Managed To-Do Lists
Have you ever noticed how a never-ending list of tasks can feel like a weight pressing down on you? The trick isn’t just in listing your tasks, but in creating a realistic list. When you align your tasks with available hours, you’re setting achievable goals, which means fewer nights feeling like you’re falling short.
It’s all about setting yourself up for success, not burnout. Like budgeting, when you allocate your time wisely, you can splurge on what matters without running on empty. And hey, there’s nothing like the satisfaction of ticking off tasks knowing you’ve played the day just right.
Plan for Your Average Self
We all have those superhuman days, buzzing with energy, plowing through tasks. But let’s face it, most days aren’t that. Planning for your peak self is setting a bar that’s often just out of reach. Instead, set a pace for your everyday self – the one that loves a good coffee break and an occasional scroll through memes.
When you are prepping for a marathon, you don’t train based on your best day; you train for the average day to make it consistently better. And on those days when you do have that extra zest, it’s a bonus! Remember, consistent progress trumps sporadic bursts.
Manage Your Online Presence
With so many social media platforms available, it’s tempting to want to be present everywhere. However, merely having a presence everywhere might not yield the best results. Each platform caters to a unique audience and has its distinct features. Stretching yourself across too many platforms can dilute your brand’s identity.
It’s more strategic to prioritize platforms where your audience is most active and where your brand’s message resonates the strongest. By focusing on platforms that align with your brand and where you can consistently provide value, you’ll cultivate deeper connections with your audience. It’s about quality engagement rather than mere quantity.
Beware of Burnout
In the entrepreneurial journey, pushing yourself relentlessly isn’t passion; it’s a fast track to burnout. Recognizing the early signs – the constant fatigue, the waning passion, the irritability – is crucial. Ignoring them can have a domino effect, impacting not just you but your business as well.
FACT: Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish; it’s strategic. A recharged you is a more productive you. Schedule regular “me” times. Whether it’s a weekend getaway, a spa day, or just an evening curled up with a good book, give yourself the downtime you deserve. Remember, a well-oiled machine runs smoother and lasts longer.
Aim for Progress, Not Perfection
You know that saying, “Perfect is the enemy of good?” It’s spot on. Waiting for that perfect moment or trying to create the perfect product can keep you in a perpetual state of inaction. Instead, consider the value of a rough draft. It’s tangible, editable, and a starting point that pushes you forward.
Imagine if authors waited for the perfect sentence before writing a book. They’d probably never get past the first page. The beauty lies in the evolution. You start, you progress, you refine. And through that journey, not only do products or projects get better, but we grow too. So next time you find yourself stuck in the cycle of perfection, remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, however imperfect it may be.
Just Get Started
Ever caught yourself saying, “I’ll start on Monday” or “I’ll wait for the new year?” We’ve all been there. But here’s the reality check: Time waits for no one. The more we delay our dreams, the more we allow doubt, overthinking, and external factors to create roadblocks.
The benefit of starting now is that it breeds momentum. Even small steps, when taken consistently, create significant progress. Think about where you could be a year from now if you start today. All those dreams, plans, and aspirations? They become real through action. And the funny thing about time is, it’ll pass anyway. So why not let it pass while you’re chasing your dreams? In the wise words of someone, somewhere: “The best time to start was yesterday. The next best time is now.”
Starting a business is no walk in the park, but with the right insights and a lot of perseverance, it can be one of the most rewarding journeys. From choosing a name that grows with you to nailing your social media strategy, every step has its importance. I’ve shared some lessons from my own rollercoaster ride in the hope it’ll guide you a bit on yours.
If you are looking for a more in-depth planner to help you get started on your small business journey – check out my Digital Goal Workbook & Motivational Planner here, or take a peek at my Side Hustle Planner here.
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