Since so many of our friends/peers are creatives, makers, or run something of their own, we thought this (in honor of Small Business Saturday, which just happened) would be a cool opportunity to shed some honest light on our experience so far and hopefully provide some encouragement for the road ahead.
With that in mind, here are 5 “Real Talk” moments or themes that come with owning a small business or running a successful brand:
1. FREEDOM - Real talk, many people assume the idea that when you own a business you can do whatever you want when you want because you’re the boss. While that’s true, nothing is going to get done unless you do it, and you quickly realize there’s ALWAYS something that can be done. The freedom is great, but it comes with a giant side of working hard and kicking ass, haha!
2. COMPARISON - Real talk, especially when starting out, it’s easy to get side-tracked and focus on anyone and everything but YOU. Stop comparing. Your day 1 (week 1, month 1, year 1) will not and should not look like someone else’s day 900 or year 5. Your story (brand) is your story for a reason. You’ve got embrace it and allow your customers to buy in and become a part of it with you. Sure, it’s important to be aware of what others are doing to learn from them, but there can only be one you.
3. PERFECTION - Real talk, as an entrepreneur (if you are one in some way), you’re naturally a perfectionist, but you’ll learn quickly what’s MOST important is to simply get things moving forward. Production > perfection. It’s better to have something 85% “perfect” and actually running vs. something 100% “perfect” that never comes to fruition. There’s going to be hiccups, and with them you’ll have endless opportunities to prove your worth, value and reliability to your customers. Someone once told us, “if you don’t look back at your first ‘whatever’ and feel embarrassed or question what on earth you were thinking, then you probably haven‘t come very far”; it’s true. Perfection’s overrated, just get going!
4. TRUST - Real talk, you have to trust the process. Very few people/brands hit the “jackpot” instantly. The more common story - years of hard work, patience, trial and error to develop a sound voice/product. When things don’t seem to be clicking, orders aren’t coming in, or friends are unsubscribing from your newsletter - it’s not time to throw in the towel (necessarily), it’s time to take a step back and learn, get creative and adapt, and trust the process.
5. GRATITUDE - Real talk, this will change your life and those around you, including your customers. You can’t do it alone, it’s going to take an army, often beginning with many of your closest friends and family to help you get off the ground. Say “thank you”, go the extra mile, do something in return. Before you can lead many, you have to learn how to a few. There’s a a constant, uncomfortable balance of contentment you’ll have to sift through. All in all, be thankful for what you have, who you have, and where you are (while at the same time busting your butt, casting a vision and dreaming as big as you can). So, celebrate the small victories, it’ll keep you positive!