Starting a business is a lot of work – there’s no way around it. However, with proper preparation and a solid support team, it can be one of the most exciting and rewarding decisions an entrepreneur makes.
When I started my business, my goals were small. I knew I didn’t want to have to put money into the business after the first year or two, but I had to figure out how to make that happen. Rather than planning for a million dollars, I knew that small, realistic goals were the key to my success. I find this helps me stay motivated when a goal is met and you can always strive for more the following year. Think about what you want out of your business and write them down in a place where you can look at them all the time.
Money is, and always will be, the biggest challenge when starting a business. My best advice is to find a reliable system that will handle the bulk of your finances for you. For some, this may mean hiring an accountant, while others may find online software the best fit for them. Whatever you do, don’t try to do it all by yourself!
One of the most important things you’ll need to do as you start your business is get your name out there in a cost-effective manner. Chances are you won’t be at a place where you’re ready to spring for pricy advertisements or sponsored posts, so social media will be your best friend in the beginning. In addition to being free, it’s a great way to make yourself an expert in your field. The key is really to network as often as possible, both online and in-person.
Let me tell you a little secret: You might never feel stable in your business – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! I’m running my second event planning company and I still feel like the new kid in town most of the time, so rather than feel discouraged by instability, embrace it and use it as a means of growth.
Many new business owners invest so much time upfront that they eventually lose steam – if you can relate, you’re not alone. Burnout is common with entrepreneurs. I am a big advocate of what I call ‘going dark’ or shutting myself off from electronics for a day or two when needed. This may seem impossible, but you need to set boundaries if you want to set yourself up for success. Sometimes you have to embrace the feeling of being overwhelmed – take a step back for a day and cry, then brush your tears away and get right back to it. Remember: Everybody needs a break.
Running your own business is exhausting. It’s not for the meek and, in the first few years, you need to be prepared for a lot of ‘no’s before you get your ‘yes.’ However, in the tough moments, remember that everyone started out small once and worked their way up. Few businesses hit their target numbers in year one. Growing pains are normal, so don’t feel discouraged – keep in mind that you wouldn’t be feeling them if you weren’t growing.
Kim Sayatovic is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Belladeux Event Design, a full service wedding and event design firm based in New Orleans, Louisiana.