Launching a business is scary shit
Venturing into the vast unknown of small business is exciting, nerve-racking, and down-right scary as hell. Launching my business has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life, but no matter how many years of experience I had, there are some things that no one can prepare you for. Although rewarding, the road to success takes time, risk, and mental, physical, and emotional toughness. As I take a look back at my growth and accomplishments over the past year, I realize that owning a business isn't about conquering the obstacles that come your way, it is about trusting yourself to do what is best for you and your business on your own terms.
Starting anything new is scary. Leaving the nest for the first time, starting a new job, a relationship...there are things that you can and simply cannot control. Thus, the perpetual fears of finding your niche. How will I stand out? Are my services relevant? What if this, what if that? Although those thoughts crossed my mind frequently at first, I always came back to reminding myself of the ways in which my business WILL work instead of why it won't. I absolutely adore my career in every raw sense of the word, and although I don't have the keys to success, sorry guys that's all you, I do have my keys to success...
Don't worry about what anyone else is doing. Why should you? In comparing yourself to others, you are setting yourself up for unnecessary self-doubt. Everyone starts on different terms, with different goals, in different circumstances. No one can measure your business's success except for you so, set your own pace and enjoy the ride.
There will be many unglamorous moments, rock bottom lows, trials, and errors. It comes with growth and the incessant learning curve that comes with anything new. You won't be perfect at your first, or second, or possibly third try, but don't be afraid of getting back up and trying again. What is the worst that can happen? You will offend someone. You will mess up. No one is perfect, but have confidence in yourself and keep pushing towards your end goal. Sometimes you just have to put on your big girl panties and kick ass the only way that you know how. Because that is what successful entrepreneurs do.
Educate yourself, utilize the resources available to you, and be comfortable reaching out for help. Asking for help doesn't show weakness or lack of independence, in fact, it shows that you are strong enough to identify where others will be able to guide you in a way that you don't know how. Surround yourself with positive, like-minded professionals who will support and encourage you on your road to success and stay away from the unaccepting, and negative individuals that value competition over collaboration. Continue to blossom and stay relevant in your industry.
Be consistent with your quality, brand, and identity. Be mindful of how you represent yourself, both personally and professionally. It may seem drastic, but everything you write, every photo you post, the clients you represent, your blog content, the caliber of your services, other businesses you interact with... it is all representative of your bread and butter. Whatever it is, be the best possible version of you.
There is no exact model or set of directions, you have to figure out what works best for you...and only you. Choose your battles my friends and kick ass while doing it.
Shout out to my great friend and mentor, Brenda Swann, who inspired this article with her encouragement and support throughout this adventure.