As I finish up my 3rd year in business, I wanted to take a moment to share a few of my top tips from what I've learned. It’s crazy to look back at February 2017, when it all began with a few hand drawn greeting cards and handmade paper. I was newly married and didn’t have a job yet, so I used my time to take a dive into opening an Etsy shop. I was completely clueless about what that journey would look like and lead to. So many amazing dreams come true and so many unexpected challenges.
So here are just a few things I’d like to highlight and share about what I’ve learned in these 3 years of beauty and insanity.
It's often necessary for you to just DO something, rather than wait for the stars to align. “Done is better than perfect.” My mind is always racing with ideas, and the only way for things to actually happen is to dive in and see what unfolds. Things usually come together even better than you could imagine. Of course, there will be times that it leads to a dead end. But every mistake and negative experience leads to growth. Believe me.
As I’ve worked various jobs and observed other businesses through the years, it has fueled my desire to be in charge of my own business. I’ve seen so many amazing things from other businesses that I’ll hold on to. But I’ve also seen things that motivate me to be different. I've seen bad blood between businesses and employees not treated well. I've seen people not treated with value. It pains me so much.
So I want to treat everyone with kindness. That includes my competition, my suppliers (especially when mistakes happen!), fellow business owners, local leadership, customers and anyone that I and/or my business come in contact with. I think owning a business is such an amazing opportunity for showing love and care to a wide variety of people you wouldn’t otherwise come in contact with. So I would encourage you to use that platform intentionally.
I know it’s cliche, but I have struggled with this so much back and forth over the years. I’ll overthink my caption because I’m afraid it’s too real, or too silly, or not clever or funny enough. The same goes for products. Will people connect with my designs? This is one of those constant battles, but I can tell you that when you simply show up as yourself, you will draw people in. Maybe not everyone. Most likely not everyone. But the people who need to hear what you have to say will soak it up. This will look different for everyone. Maybe you feel pressure to reveal more of your deep life stuff, but just don’t feel right about it. Then don’t! If the time is right to share something, I think you’ll know. Maybe you feel like you share too much. This is where I tend to fall. Just take a moment before you post something. Think about if it could benefit your audience. Will it make them feel better because they aren’t alone? Will it make them laugh? Will it give them more insight into the human behind the business? Go for it! I’ve rarely (if ever) felt regret after posting that post that had me worried for whatever reason. Often those are the posts that get the best interactions! People follow you because they want to know you and have a deeper connection with the items they are purchasing or service they are using.
Along with this, remember that this is your business. You have permission to change things up so that it continues to work for you. This year I’ve been leaning into this more. Once you try all the different things, it’s okay to go in a different direction, or choose to focus on one certain aspect of your business, or let go of another. Don’t let your business take over your life and remove your joy, rather make it work for you.
Okay, this is by far THE HARDEST lesson I've learned and I continue to struggle with. I’m finally to a place with my business where I’m learning to say no. Yeah, after 3 years, my friends. I have had so many instances where I get 150% overwhelmed because I’ve crammed too many things into one day or week. Or I feel icky because I didn't charge enough. Or I forget things because I’ve spread myself too thin. Just ask my hubs, he could give you many stories of breakdowns that he’s had to witness and help me through. So please hear me: whether you are just starting, or you’ve been at this for years, YOUR TIME IS VALUABLE. Take the time to figure out what you need to charge to make this worth while and stick to it. You will lose some customers over this. But you will GAIN the right customers. You cannot serve everyone (preaching to myself! This is so much easier said than done).
But it is SO worth it. This is the last thing I want to leave you with. There are so many amazing things about running your own business. But there are also SO many tough things. When you are the only one in charge of making things happen, it can get overwhelming. When you have to make decisions that others don’t understand and don’t have someone to back you up, it is hard. When you make real mistakes (and you will) and have to own up to them, again, with only yourself to blame, it is not fun.
You will second guess your decision to pursue this path. I know I have so many times! This is when you want to have a clear mission for the WHY behind your business. Have something you can continue to look back on when you are in the hard moments. It also is a huge help to have a community of other boss babes and business owners around you to be the support you need when you feel alone. They don't even have to be in your same industry to be a source of encouragement and inspiration. I highly recommend finding that community in your area, or creating it if one doesn’t exist! The Rising Tide Society has a group called Tuesdays Together that happens all across the world. See if there is one in your area!
It is honestly crazy to me to see how far I've come with this whole business thing. I am disorganized 99% of the time and am forever doubting myself and making silly mistakes. Most of the time I'm totally winging it. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love all the things I've been able to learn, all the ways I've grown by getting out of my comfort zone, all the people I've met...the list goes on and on. If you are at the beginning of your journey, I'd love to chat with you and talk more through any questions you might have! If you've been at this for a while, I'd love to know what your top tips would be! Reach out or add them to the comments below!
All my love,