At the end of the year I think it is pretty safe to say that people find themselves in a place of retrospect thinking over the past year. Pondering their failures, rejoicing for their successes and plotting on what’s to come. I am no different and although I can truly say I am proud of the things I accomplished in 2012 there were still some mistakes that I made that came attached to some valuable lessons.
This year I faced my fears and launched my business Divinitee. It was a long time coming and it felt so good to finally succeed and have the support of so many of you and others behind me. On the back end I learned a lot about business, people and myself. I learned that there is much more involved in starting a business than I expected like how you have to protect your business with public liability insurance, how people can gather around you to support your new business and how determined I am to make this work! I know many of you may be pondering starting your own business in the new year so I thought I might share some of the mistakes that I made. This blog is about my life, but I also hope you see it as an uplifting, and useful tool. If I can stop someone from making the same mistakes I’m all for it. Sharing is caring!!
1. Be selective about who you go in business with: Remember my blog post about Separation Anxiety. Without airing all of my dirty laundry, said person was also my business partner. I went into the venture thinking that I was insufficient to run it on my own. I was afraid and I let that fear convince me that I couldn’t succeed on my own when indeed I could have. As a result, my business credit has been ruined and financially my business is bankrupt. I will come back, I don’t know how but I will.
Moral: of the story is believe in yourself. If it’s not absolutely necessary to include someone on the payroll then don’t.
2. Utilize Your Network: To piggyback off #1, some of the things I brought on another person to do I could’ve essentially pulled on and bartered with my network to get those things done without having to answer to another person regarding my vision. If you have surrounded yourself with genuinely helpful people you will find that you have most of what you need. For the things you can’t manage within your network pay a professional to do it. Keep in mind you get what you pay for, sometimes its better to pay someone well up front, rather than having to pay someone to fix another persons mess.
Moral: Before you share your business or get discouraged about not having the money to do something consult your network. You will be surprised.
3. Do a SWOT Analysis of Yourself: For those not familiar SWOT stands for Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats. Look deeply at yourself and your capabilities. Although you may feel you don’t have the time to do the Social Media aspect of your business but you are good at it, you need to make the time. My good friend Erika shared with me something that rings true in my head…”Either you have time or you have money.” If you have no money then you need to make the time to do the tedious tasks required to keep your profits in your pocket and allow your business the time and space to grow.
Moral: Make the sacrifices. That may mean no sleep. I’ve heard toothpicks will hold your eyelids open very well at work!! The sacrifices are nothing compared to the joy of success.
4. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Starting a business requires so many minute details and processes on the back end from business licensing to business card design. Don’t let those small things stop you from working toward the bigger goal. I am the kind of person that feels like everything has to go in order and when I don’t have the money or the resources to make one thing happen I let it halt the entire process. Don’t be like ya girl. Still get clients, keep making your product, keep working under the table while you’re getting those other things in place. Otherwise the small things will discourage you from your ultimate goal.
Moral: Keep moving and if you have to FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT!!!!
5. Have Fun: Starting and running a business can quickly turn your passion into a headache. Keep in mind why you are doing what you are doing and if at any point you feel unfulfilled reassess whether or not you really want to continue. At this time I am no longer passionate about Divinitee. I don’t know if it’s the situation or if I choose not to run a business that requires so many moving parts. I am not throwing in the towel yet but I am reassessing. In the meantime I will leave the website up while I figure out my next steps and processes.
Moral: Sometimes we think we want things until we get in the throes of it. It’s okay to fold but think about why you are throwing in the towel. If its fear keep going, if it’s lack of passion take a minute to think before making a huge move.
Are you pondering starting a business in the new year? Are you a business owner, do you have any additional tips to add?