Getting started as an entrepreneur is shrouded in mystery and filled with far more questions than there are answers. When I decided to start my writing business, I loathed this lack of clear-cut information. I wanted a how-to manual and I couldn’t find one anywhere. As I developed my business idea and dug into making that dream a reality, though, I realized WHY there wasn’t a manual. The lessons I learned in my getting started journey play some of the most important roles as I grow my business.
So, I won’t offer you a manual, because there isn’t one. But I want to share the big lessons I learned, because they will make the first steps of this crazy wonderful entrepreneurship thing feel a lot less lonely.
You know what you want your business to be, but what’s next?
When I took the first steps toward Wild Spark Creative’s launch, I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water in all the information I was consuming. Then, about a month into researching and note-taking, I realized that I wasn’t actually DOING anything. Yes, I had read three novels worth of articles on starting and running your own business, but I wasn’t any closer, tangibly, to starting my company than I was before I spent a month digesting information.
Research does not equal action
Ifyou’re anything like I was, searching for the magic formula before taking action, be warned. There is no ABC to building your business, there is only the groundwork that needs to be done and the rest is educated trial and error my dear friends.
That’s why there is no manual. It’s why can’t ask for someone else’s journey and expect to replicate their success. Your secret sauce is going to be different than anyone else’s because (hopefully) your business is different than anyone else’s. But here’s what I know WILL move you closer to creating a clear path toward success.
Dot your t’s and cross your i’s, legally, before you do an ounce of business
Register your business name with your government. Get an EIN and set up a business bank account. No, you do not need to be rolling in the dough to do this. I registered with my state for $20 and my business checking account was literally free to set up.
Look around for a bank or credit union that best suits your needs, but do this up front. It will make you far less prone to Kim K ugly crying come tax time.
Now, you’ve got a foundation. How you build your success on top of that foundation is up to you.
That’s right, I said it. Your success is up to you.
I’m still struggling with that sentiment. I want to follow a roadmap. I want someone else’s answers to be my right answers, too. But all you have to do is ask a business question in a particularly large Facebook group to realize that everyone has different right answers.
I’m a firm believer in standing in YOUR truth. That means making the decisions you feel are right for you and your business, and it means owning the mistakes you will inevitably make as a business owner.
Mistakes are your best teachers
Heaven knows this lesson is not an easy one for this perfectionist of an entrepreneur to internalize. But it’s necessary to understand. Don’t get caught in the useless hamster wheel of mourning the views you don’t have and whining about the traction you’re not getting. Understand that there is a certain amount of being unknown that will come with starting a business. Commit to it anyway. If, months in, things are still not working, don’t blame the universe. Instead, adjust. Consider where you may have gone wrong and be open to learning from that.
When we are too stubborn (let’s be honest here, stubbornness is a trait rampant among entrepreneurs. It serves us well sometimes. Sometimes.) to acknowledge we’ve misstepped, it hurts our business. Learn to set aside the stubborn streak in these situations.
Become a community member
This might pertain to the physical city you live in, but it might also be a virtual community you choose to get involved with. Maybe you do a little of both (I highly recommend a little of both. Being keyed into your physical community is extremely valuable.)
Truth be told, if it weren’t for amazing Facebook groups like Being Boss and Savvy Business Owners, Wild Spark Creative wouldn’t exist yet. Because I joined that group of entrepreneurs, I learned a lot quickly.
I took a chance at being vulnerable and asking for help, and I offered advice and expertise whenever I could for others. In return, I received tons of support and resources that helped me build that foundation, and blindly feel my way through some of the murkier waters until I could grasp onto that moment of clarity.
When you become a community member, whatever form that takes for you, remember these two things. Ask when you truly need direction, and give 10x’s more than you ask. Be there to support and encourage your fellow business owners, help each other through the crazy roller coaster and swirling corn maze that is this journey we’re on together.
Being a steward of the communities you join and genuinely showing up makes a difference. It will make a difference in the quality of relationships you build as a business owner and it will make a difference in the quality of clients and customers you attract.
You learn a LOT in your first month of business, and none of it is what you expect to learn. Taking the plunge without the manual and figuring it out as you go along is the best feeling. Remember to be kind to yourself, to expect the unexpected, be ready to pivot, and celebrate your wins, especially the small ones as you get started.
Torie is the over-caffeinated wordsmith at the helm of Wild Spark Creative. She's passionate about helping small business owners and creative entrepreneurs create content that ignites their brand and authentically connects with their ideal audience. She's a believer in people. She's also a hiker, a mountain climber, a runner, a makeup enthusiast and a lover of craft beer and good desserts. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.
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