8 Things I've Learned As A New Business Owner

This post is for anyone that currently owns a business, thinking about starting a business, or just simply curious. To anyone that has been asking me about it all, I hope this post helps answer some of your questions!

Let's jump right in.

Starting a business has been the toughest yet easiest journey. I say easiest lightly, and I really just mean that it isn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be. When I say hardest, it's because everything is NEW. I started as a one-woman show; from account management, to invoicing, to legal stuff... I had to know it all.

To say that I've learned a lot throughout the last 7 months is an understatement. I mean, no experience like jumping right into it can show you all of this. As some of you may know, I had a nutrition consulting business for 4 years prior to working in the entertainment industry (I guess that's what we can label it). Starting that was much, much different because it was just me and just 2 sessions with clients a day. With Parker Management, I knew I was building a company. Much of what I knew about business before definitely helped propel this new venture, but building this brand has been a completely different story. So, I'm here to share some of the biggest takeaways thus far in the journey. As most of you know, I'm a shoot-for-the-stars type of person. I truly believe that it's up to us to create what our lives look like, and if you have dreams and desires that you aren't pursuing, start making a plan!

1) Just start. Not next month, not "maybe next year," not when you have enough money saved up. I know this may not sound practical, but just get started somehow. 

2) Get tough: This is a lengthy one guys, but bear with me. If you don't develop thick skin quickly in business, it's not going to last. Maybe it's someone saying something bad about your product, or you just watching other brands do something better. For me, it has been contending against the business I used to work for. Here's where I'll be real- I struggled for a long time with wanting to start my own talent agency. I didn't want to compete with the agency I used to work at because I truly felt bad about it (the sensitive/people-pleaser side of me). At the same time, I also saw things that could be improved upon. When you aren't in a position to improve those things, you are left with thinking... I can do this and I can do this better. Isn't that what a lot of people do? Here's the thing... never feel bad for wanting to do your own thing. I felt guilt up until about a month ago. The main thing is to do things with integrity. If you can be honest in business, then you are doing the right thing. And if you offend your old coworkers or bosses by starting something on your own, then so be it. This is your journey! I remember when a friend reminded me of all the great businesses that were started because someone branched away to do something similar, but different and better. No one should ever be upset with you for having that desire to pursue your own dreams. So, brush it off and get tough! Don't get discouraged by negative noise.

3) Start small: I remember when I first started, all I wanted was to rush to Northwest Portland to go office shopping. My visual of fresh flowers, great music, sleek computers and rad art took over. Then, when business picked up out of the gate, I went straight to thinking I needed to hire someone. Here's the thing... I started my business with expenses at $79/month. I ended up forgoing the office and then decided to put my husband in charge of accounting and carried the workload on my own, for as long as I could. Being patient with certain things that weren't completely necessary helped me grow my profits and set them aside for future expenses. Moral of the story, and I'm still reminding myself of this, but... one thing at a time. 

4) Let go of money: Here's the tough thing about point #3- when I realized it was time to expand and bring on an employee, I started freaking out. The thought of expenses after you haven't had any is a bit frightening. But thanks to my friend (and serial successful entrepreneur), when I expressed to her my nerves, her advice to me was to not hold onto money like that. "Let it go... Focus more on paying the right people what they deserve, otherwise your business will never get better." Powerful, huh? That was game changer for me. Find good people, pay them properly, give them ownership and freedom, and let the business blossom. 

5) Be good to yourself: I've felt more stress lately than ever before. It's a good problem when business is busy and going well, but that can also get extremely overwhelming. I was really bad about this at the beginning and I'm still not great at it, but I feel the most "in control" and calm about things when I'm taking care of myself. Although I hate spending $100 on facials, they relax the heck out of me, so I've been trying to get them more often. And while getting my nails done seems like such a waste of time, it makes me feel better about myself when I have them done. And when I feel overwhelm setting in, I immediately stop what I'm doing and go for a walk outside to clear my head. 

6) Remember your why: I'll be honest, I didn't start my company because I'm passionate about social media and models. I totally get why people say "find your passion and make that your business," but for me, I'm passionate about a lot of things in life. I also like a lot of things. I started this business because I saw a way that it could be done better. I also enjoyed the job and had a proven track record of success. I saw it as an opportunity to create my life to help me do whatever I want in the future. If I want to be a stay-at-home mom, if I want to blog, if I want to travel the world... by playing my cards right and working hard to grow this business, I will ultimately allow myself that flexibility. My why is freedom, but it stemmed from simply wanting more time with my familyFreedom to create my own schedule; freedom to ultimately put someone else in charge of the company to run it; freedom to take care of my employees and give them the things I wanted when I was an employee; and the freedom to be as creative as I want to be. Write down your "why's" and look back at those each time you get discouraged. 

7) Have a support system: There have been a few times where I just wanted to throw the towel in. Not even because business wasn't going well, but just out of pure frustration and moments of feeling like running a business is too much to carry. My husband has been the biggest support and honestly, if it weren't for him, I don't know where I'd be. Have someone around you to keep you in check, whether it's a spouse, friend or a business coach. And anytime to you feel like you are getting to "that place" go talk to them and let it out. I'm always amazed how quickly I turn my train around after talking to my husband about how I feel. 

8) Stay in your own lane: This saying is a little overdone lately, but it is so dang true. The most helpful thing I've done is tune out what others are doing. It's so easy to scroll through Instagram and feel like you should be doing this, or be doing that... but the key is to do things a little different. Also, stop comparing. The more I move through business with my blinders on and try to do our own thing, the better things have been getting. Browsing competitors sites and social channels can definitely be healthy, as I think we can learn a lot from what others are doing. But go easy on yourself. Don't get too caught up in what others have going on. 

I love learning from other business owners. I'm actually putting together a networking group in Portland soon, so stay tuned for more info on that. I also love to email and hop on calls with other business owners, so please send me an email if you are interested in connecting. You can never have enough support in all of this. 

Happy weekend, friends!

xx
Lindsay

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