There are soooo many things I wish I knew when I started The Bannerie a year ago. I’ve narrowed it down to the ten most important lessons from the past year and what I would tell anyone looking to start their own business.
These are the do’s and don’t’s of How to be a Boss in Business:
My brother said this to me early on and it really stuck. Often we stop ourselves from doing things or trying things out of fear that someone else will say no. Let them say no! Don’t say no to yourself before someone else can. That’s just silly. Start paying attention to what stops you, is it you? Are you grinning right now because that’s totally you? I get it, let’s move forward and say yes please like Amy Poehler because look where she is.
2. Find your voice.
If you can find your authentic voice, all the branding will be so much easier. Set guidelines for yourself and stick to it. For instance, I know that I always want to stay cheeky, empowering, and to a degree, girly. I do it with my packaging, I do it with my Instagram copy, I do it in my daily life. It’s easy for me because it’s how I am.
Here is what I’m going to suggest to you: think about your favorite people. The ones that you are the most comfortable with in the whole world. No one’s listening in your thoughts so no pressure, it can be anyone. Who are you when you are with those people? When you relax and aren’t trying to be anybody, what are you like? That’s you.
It can be hard, it can be so so hard to say no. Saying yes can mean money and making customers happy but you have to learn to set boundaries for yourself or you will burn out and probably burn bridges along the way because you’ll be so cranky from never saying no. Repeat after me: You will never be what everyone wants you to be. I’m a people pleaser by nature (middle child and all) so I totally get the impulse but it isn’t a good way to live your life and it’s definitely not a good way to run your business.
I know I just said say no, but say yes! You won’t know how to do things. Things will be scary. You will make mistakes. People won’t always be supportive. But say yes and create opportunities for yourself. Don’t wait for someone to come to you, go to them and give them the chance to give YOU a chance. Say yes to new things and you will learn that are capable of so much more than you ever thought. Ask my husband or sister what would make me melt in a pile of shame in the beginning of this year and they’ll tell you: photos! Hours and hours and hours and so much work and sweat and tears and yeah, the occasional drop of blood and now do I still have so much self-doubt? YES! But, that is one of the TOP things I get complimented on all the time! So… give it time, try things, and say yes.
Push through. It’s gonna be alright. You got this. (See above for how many times I mentioned hours and multiply that by a bajillion)
If something isn’t working, try another way to do it. Don’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results (I think that’s the definition of insanity…)
The more you know how to do, the less you are limited! Learn photography, learn styling, learn branding, learn copywriting. You don’t have to be an expert on everything and outsourcing what you aren’t good at is a great strategy, but try to have a basic understanding so even if you are turning it over to someone else, you know if they are doing a good job or not. Plus before you hand something over yo have to understand the basic process.
Don’t get so stuck in the planning stage that you never move forward. That’s called fear, my friends. Put something out into the world before it’s perfect and then refine it. That’s right, it doesn’t have to be perfect! Did you just faint?
Seriously. Do yourself a huge favor and make a community for yourself of good people. People who hear your dreams and cheer you on even if they don’t get them. You don’t have time for people who bring you down.
Some people won’t get what you do, they’ll call it “cute” and say things like “since you’re free…”. Some people will copy you, some customers will be rude. That’s okay. The sooner you can learn to let that roll off your back, the better. I will, this one time refer to the Godfather, just kidding, I’ll refer to You’ve Got Mail referring to the Godfather, “it’s not personal, it’s business”
Listen, my darlings, it’s hard. I know because I am all of one year into my own business. But in that one year I have learned enough that I am fielding a lot of e-mails and messages about how to run a business. So what does that tell you? I’ll let you know just in case your head is still reeling from the “it doesn’t have to be perfect” bit, it tells you that you can do it. It tells you that it is achievable and that you are capable and that what looks like mountains now will be molehills in a few months.
I’m gonna help you set that office of yours up with a big beautiful custom GIRLBOSS magnet board from Lindie & Co. It’s huge and sturdy enough to hold your dreams (and appointments or vision board or whatever you want to use it for, I’m not gonna tell you how to run your business!) And did I mention it was one of Oprah’s favorite things?
Enter by leaving a comment below telling me about your dream business, whether you own one already or want to in the future. You can also ask a business question and I’ll do my best to answer! (There were some pretty great ones on the APW interview!)
Extra entries on Instagram! The giveaway will be open for one week and is for U.S. residents only.