There are things I wish I knew three years ago when I first took the plunge as a full-time entrepreneur.
“Learn to live, let go and operate in your own excellence.”
However, without any regret, I am grateful for having to learn my way through many of them. To the credit of first-hand entrepreneurial experience, I have a good running list of things I wish I knew three years ago.
These are my favorites:
Get a mentor.
When running a business, you cannot always hold yourself accountable because you are too “deep” into the trenches of the day-to-day. It wasn’t until about 14 months in that I realized it was time for me to get a “business coach”; a mentor who could help me straighten things out, work on pricing, team structures and encourage me to make some big things happen in my business.
Start small and dream big.
Entrepreneurs are dreamers; they dream while they are wide awake and while asleep. Because our mental clocks rarely stop, it’s important to plan and accomplish things in baby steps. If you get too far into the big vision, often times, it’s hard to step back and ensure you are handling the dream appropriately, fruitfully and strategically. Always keep your eye on the prize, but don’t lose sight of the details. Lastly, define your mission statement and identify what it is you set out to do. This will help push the value of what your brand can bring to the table.
Structure is everything.
There can be great value in incorporating versus running the business as a sole proprietor. There is also responsibility in doing so. I have finally taken the time to sit with my small business attorney and learn what and what not to do. This year we decided it was time to incorporate our business and take the next step in accelerating our goals.
Trust your vision.
There will be so many ups and downs during the course of running your business. Be encouraged, stay strong and work smart. Do not let anyone or anything get in the way of your vision. Trust it, and live in it every single day giving it your all.
Build your personal brand.
Whether you own a brick and mortar shop, or you’re an author, artist, musician or talented fashion designer—you are your brand. Take time to clearly define and create a brand around you, your name, and your expertise. This will not only solidify your place in the world, but it will bring light to the fact that you are a specialist in what you do; and it may open many doors for you! Brand yourself as an expert, and then brand your business. Elevate your company’s brand and remain consistent.