WOW! I cannot believe I'm already reflecting on my first year in business!
Not because I didn't think I'd make it a year...okay maybe in my most negative state that might have crossed my mind... but more so, I can't believe how fast this year flew by!
I wanted to write this because when I was first contemplating my own decision to ditch corporate life to start Bustle + Buzz as a solo-preneur (how cliché does that sound??!), this is the kind of advice that I was seeking: honest, ugly, real-life accounts of one's personal experience after their first year in business.
And I was actually surprised by how fewof those experiences were shared.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are plenty of times an entrepreneur gets it "right" the first go-round, but I think in today's world and ESPECIALLY in social media, there's so much pressure to show the highlights and wins in a business, with little or no mentions of the frustrations and failures- as if they never happened!
So now that I'm officially in my second year in business, with the lessons learned in my first year fresh on my mind, I decided to share my own personal experience- full of PLENTY of frustrations and failures!
My hope is that this possibly encourages someone else to take a chance and start a business they're passionate about...Or maybe prevent someone from making the same mistakes I did.
Either way, I appreciate you being here and taking the time to read this!
I broke up each lesson into its own blog post because there was so much juicy info, and I'll be posting a new one each week- so stay tuned!
I'd love to hear your thoughts, questions, or even your own lessons you've learned while running a business! Feel free to leave those in the comments below.
Lesson #1: You can't do it all on your own.
This lesson was strange for me because it's so obvious, but at the same time so hard to accept when starting a business solo, or even with a partner. And I think one of the reasons why is because when you're first getting started you need to keep overhead as low as possible, so you wear as many hats as you can, regardless of your qualifications. And while that's all fine and necessary in the beginning, my advice is to be realistic with your expectations of yourself.
My husband, Chris, is the one who encouraged me to take a chance and start my business.
Before we were married I moved a couple of hours from Knoxville to be closer to him, and after a few months of unsuccessful job hunting, Chris brought up the idea of freelancing my work to multiple clients.
This idea freaked me out at first because not only did it sound complicated and like a ton of extra work (nailed it), but who will my clients be? Where do I find said clients?? I can't even find one business to hire me right now, how can I trust I'll find MULTIPLE businesses to hire me later on???
Long story short, after many pep talks and prayers I made the leap- thankfully.
The point of the backstory is there were two major factors that were crucial in me finding the nerve to do my own thing and having a successful first year in business.
The first factor being the awesome encouragement I received from my husband and family. It's hard enough taking a risk like starting a business, I can't imagine how intimidating it would have been without the people I love cheering me on.
The second factor was financial support. If the worst case scenario had happened and I wasn't able to bring in money, Chris could support us with his income. Fortunately he didn't have to, but with that pressure taken off me, I was able to take my time and do my best work relatively stress free. Again, without that piece of mind it would have been a lot more difficult of a decision to start my business.
Please note: I know plenty of people who did not have the same emotional and/or financial support to pursue their dreams- but they made it work regardless. It's not impossible! I'm just sharing my story because those things were so pivotal in the decision to move forward with starting B+B in the first place.
With the decision officially made, I had this glorious idea of how my business would work:
First, I would serve my clients (most of whom I had not secured, yet) by managing their digital marketing.
Second, I would put out consistent content for Bustle+Buzz via social media and blogs, full of tips, tricks, and perfectly curated graphics to promote my brand and hopefully start to build a following.
Simple enough, right? HA!
I'll admit, I was extremely fortunate with the client-portion of my plan; enough so that I spent basically all of my work-time in 2016 devoted to serving them.
Which is a great "problem" to have, don't get me wrong!
But because it's just me trying to juggle everything in my business, I was bound to drop the ball in some area, which happened to be the ENTIRE second half of my plan, B+B's content and social. *I'll further elaborate on this in my next posts*
Which brings me to lesson #2: be ready to outsource... which I will be posting next Monday!