This is a guest post courtesy of Julie.
All this talk of empire building recently, and Julie is on a mission to build one of her own.
So, I agreed to her submission for two reasons.
She has a great story with wisdom to share, and I wanted to help support her by bringing attention to her Kickstarter campaign.
It’s hard to put yourself out there into the world, and try to create something out of nothing.
So people that are willing to take that risk deserve a little recognition and kudos in my book.
Post graduation, I had two options.
I could have taken some entry level marketing position at a media company, done a killer job, and slowly moved up with hopes of being promoted further.
Or I could do what I absolutely felt in my heart was what I needed to do at the time. Most people you speak to when you say you are starting your own business usually react in one of two ways.
They are impressed by your passion and your story, or they try to talk you out of it and don’t understand why.
My response to both would be, don’t bother talking me out of it and don’t be impressed by it either.
Built for Entrepreneurship
I am not doing it for the praise, or an iota of an expectation for immediate gratification. I am doing what I do, because I can’t imagine not doing it.
When you are an entrepreneur at heart, nothing else will ever feel good enough.
No job will ever give you the satisfaction of building something and creating something the way owning your own business does.
In no way did I think it was going to be easy, but I can’t say I was totally prepared for what was in store either.
That said, here are a few tips of my own as well as advice I’ve received over the past year and a half that have helped me immensely.
Whether you are an aspiring app designer, consultant, fashion designer, inventor or you have a dream of starting a millionaire dog walking business (true story), you must know it in your heart to be true.
This means a few things..
Speak Your Passion
When you meet someone new, they should know about your new business within moments of talking to you. (Unless it is in the beta testing, top-secret part of the r&d phase; see Sara Blakely, the Spanx founder story.)
What you are trying to accomplish should be so ingrained into who you are as a person, that you cannot help but talk about it.
So much so that you don’t understand why someone wouldn’t be super jazzed to hear about your next brilliant idea on gorilla marketing. (Because who wouldn’t be interested in all things gorilla?!)
Make Your Dreams Palpable
Surround your home with visuals. Perception is everything.
This is not so much for other people, as much as it is for yourself.
I took my spare bedroom, which I wanted to make into a walk in closet, painted it a striking royal blue, hung a rod for my samples, got some clothing racks, a clothes form, and boom; now its my showroom/ studio/ home office (my clothes are in drawers, and that’s alright).
My living room also has an inspiration board comparable to one you would find in a small kindergarten classroom.
The point is, you need to wake up and instantly be reminded of your goals.
When you come home after a treacherous day to a place filled with constant reminders of who you are going to become and affirmations that you are indeed going to succeed, the ups and downs become just part of the fun.
Appreciate the Journey
Learn to love your to-do list.
As a new entrepreneur, you HAVE TO be okay with having a to-do list that will never be finished.
You will add things quicker than you can finish them and therefore it will NEVER go away.
BGB- C’mon, I know ya’ll can relate!
It will be with you for as long as you are in business. I like using actual pieces of paper and crossing things out.
I keep them all and look back on them with a serious sense of accomplishment.
Own Your Bad-Ass-ery
Self-confidence is vital.
If necessary, fake it till you make it. No one feels good about doing business with people who are not confident in what they themselves are doing. If you are talking to someone important and you want that contact, or that lead, just make conversation.
Explain your goals as best you can. Be concise, likable, and super passionate.
Later when you get home, you can make a list of all the confusing stuff they mentioned and LOOK IT UP.
BGB- Google is my friend, how about you?
Do not let yourself get overwhelmed by unfamiliarity. Learn to acclimate.
At times I had no idea where I was going to get the money to order my 30 meters of fabric for my samples.
But I still took that meeting with my agent.
I still chose the fabrics for my first collection.
Guess what? The money came and it was ready by the time the fabric was actually ready to be shipped. If you are waiting till you have $50,000 in the bank before you start, you will likely never accomplish anything.
BGB- Moral of the story- have a little faith!
Re-invest in Your Venture
Do not plan on going on vacation, going on a shopping spree or doing anything too fabulous for a while.
Oh, you got $2,000 back on your tax return? Great! Figure out how you are going to put that money to work.
You don’t have any money, your new business has your money. Aside from your living and day to day expenses, you shouldn’t be spending on anything else.
This is something very difficult for twenty somethings especially to understand. If you are starting a business, this is not the time to spoil yourself.
No, you cannot do both.
I promise if you do it right, you will be livin’ it up while your friends are still saving for their next two weeks vacation.
Commit to Self-Education
Immerse yourself in your new life.
Read articles about your industry and starting a business every chance you get.
Business insider is your new Cosmo.
Go to Meetup.com and find meet ups going on in your city to learn more about what’s going on in your soon to be industry. Meet other people who can help you.
You’d be surprised to learn how many people are willing to help if you share with them what you are doing.
Go to seminars, go to events, and begin to act like a business owner.
After all isn’t that who you want to be?
Stay Humble, Stay Smart
Don’t think you are inventing the wheel. Regardless of the industry you are entering, the competition is FIERCE. There are dozens of people out there at this moment, trying to do the exact same thing.
You have to accept this, and choose to let it motivate you, otherwise you will fail. Thinking there is no one out there in the world doing this brilliant thing you are doing too, is not the way to go.
Instead you have to learn as much as you possibly can about your industry and use it to your advantage. Figure out what other businesses are doing that works and what does not work.
Be better, and strive to do it best, by paying attention to what people need/really want.
Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all you have to do. After all, you are essentially taking on 100 new jobs and not getting paid for it.
This would lead anyone to go insane.
It is vital that you stay organized. Keep a list of both short term and long term goals. Make monthly and weekly goals to make sure you remain on target.
It is just as important to also follow through. You are your own boss, (after all wasn’t that the dream?).
That means there is no one monitoring you. Congratulations, you have no one to blame for things but yourself! You must be disciplined enough to remain on track. If you can’t, you don’t want it bad enough.
And so I offer you a final piece of advice.
If you do not eat, sleep, breathe, and dream of your business, if you are not willing to sacrifice your money and time on a daily basis, then STOP.
Get out now and throw in the towel before you waste any more of your friends and family member’s money investing in you.
Because the cold hard truth of the matter is, someone who is willing to do all that and more, is going to create your business and they are going to be better than you.
However, if you now feel more motivated than ever, and still know your business is what you need to be doing, then below is a list of helpful websites I have compiled that have really helped me the last year and a half.
My favorite part about most of them is the services are free. Free is nice.
In the meantime, to learn about me and what I do, please check out my bio, as well as the Kickstarter project we currently have going for my swimwear line.
Over to You
Have a dream you’re currently chasing? How’s it going for you so far? Please share your stories in the comments below, and if you found this post helpful, please consider sharing it with others too!
List of Helpful Websites and Resources
Mailchimp.com – Helps you publish newsletters and organize emails that need to be sent.
Hootsuite.com – Manage and measure your social media campaigns, allows you to schedule posts in advance.
Big Cartel.com – Allows you to build a store online
Venmo.com – Some say its better than Pay Pal!
HelpaReporter.com – On “HARO” you can share your expertise and have the opportunity to be published and earn mass media coverage.
Dropbox.com – By far the best way to share and send files. Use the cloud!
Meetup.com – Get together with other individuals in your area who share the same interests.
Weebly.com – Create a great website without having to use code. I love it!
Accionusa.org – Supports female business owners with a micro loan of up to $50,000.
Moo.com – Create unique business cards, great quality.
BrandBoom.com – Create and easily share line sheets with buyers and other press.