Do market research
Before starting your own business, I highly recommend you do some market research first. You can start with asking friends and family, but if you're looking to sell within the online space, I highly recommend you start surveying your digital audience. The reality is is that your friends and family may not be your ideal target audience, they may not see the value in what you're launching because it doesn't pertain to them specifically. Additionally, you can't just rely on friends and family to scale your business 5, 6, or even 7 figures. You need to increase your brand awareness and get more loyal customers for your brand. When you take the time to survey and analyze your audience, you'll have a better understanding of their pain points, their problems, and concerns so that when it comes time to launch your product or service, you know your current audience will be ready to buy.
If you don't have an existing audience, I highly recommend you first start building your audience before you look into launching a business. Start creating content on your favorite social media app and start to analyze the engagement and feedback you've been getting from that platform. Once you see what people resonate with the most, then you can start to craft your business around that and continue working from there. Without doing market research, it can leave you feeling a little bit stuck and disappointed when no one wants to buy what you're selling. Doing Market research allows you to know that you are on the right track as you continue to build and grow your business.
You don't have to say yes to everything
When you start getting clients and working with people, it can really be tempting to jump at every single opportunity. However, it's really okay to say no to somethings especially when it's compromising your overall well-being. The way I like to think of it is that if you wouldn't feel comfortable asking them for a testimonial after the work is done, then you probably don't want to take the time to work with them.
As you advance further in your business, you may want to pick a specific thing and niche down in your business so that you can further specialize. If you choose to do that, then you will have to say no to projects and leads that don't fit within your demographic. For example, for me, I choose to work with service-based entrepreneurs and online businesses. That means that if you have a brick and motor store, a startup, or an e-commerce business, I am not the best person to work with you and it's not in my best interests or your best interest to take on that project. Knowing that has allowed me to have more clarity within my business and has really gotten me to the point of being able to zero in and better perfect my craft.
Invest in your business
You will hit a point where it's going to be better and easier for you to hire a coach or a consultant who is more experienced in something that you are trying to aspire to be. This will be something that comes at a premium cost, but you shouldn't be hesitant to make that investment in your business. Taking the time to invest in additional help to see things more clearly will allow you to take the next level without the money waster or the pain that it is going to take if you were to try and research everything on your own.
I've invested a lot of money in my business at the time of writing this. I hired Ari Hale and went through her program Allergic to Hourly to better learn how to run and grow a business. I participated in a Mastermind and 1:1 coaching with Charity Corrin to unlock limiting beliefs that I had surrounding my business, and have more recently started to work with Jamar Diggs to get started on YouTube. I highly recommend these people and if you end up working with them as well, tell them I sent you.
Don't be afraid to delegate
When you become an entrepreneur, you're essentially the CEO, head of marketing, head of finance, project manager, and executive assistant. I won't tell you that you shouldn't be all of those things, however, at some point you are going to have to delegate so that you can focus within your zone of genius. It can feel scary to delegate, but you're going to run yourself to the ground if you don't allow yourself to take breaks.
Before you delegate work to other people, I highly recommend that you get yourself organized. It's a lot easier to onboard new team members when you have everything documented in order to reduce the friction between you and your new hires. Just as you want to have good people work for you, you also want to be a good person to work with.
If you can automate it, do it. Create systems in place that will do the work without you having to be there any step of the way. Having systems allows you to better scale as well a keep track of things a lot more smoothly. Some systems I definitely recommend are:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
- Content Management System (CMS)
- Lead Tracking System
When you have your systems ready to go your setting yourself up for that big break when you have an influx of clients or customers and you need to support them. Set your systems up now so that your future self will thank you. Here's an article I wrote about How to Streamline your Business Processes and Workflows, which would come in handy when you start to create systems for your business.
Set boundaries & take breaks
Setting boundaries is key when it comes to entrepreneurship. It can be tough to want to step away but you have to in order to better protect your sanity and prevent you from burnout. Additionally, when you take breaks within your business, you're allowing yourself a moment to reflect, see what went well, see what didn't go well, and set new goals for yourself to focus on. I like to think of entrepreneurship as a marathon not a sprint. However, there are going to be some moments where you need to take a break from that marathon to stop and see what has been happening. Taking a breaks allow you to feel more refreshed and have new energy for your business.
Manage your time wisely
If you're feeling like you don't have enough hours in your day, I'm here to tell you that there is you just have to create a plan around it. If you're currently a side hustler, and you feel like you don't have enough time to pursue their business, having no full-time job isn't going to suddenly free yourself up with more time. Try to dedicate at least a couple hours in a day or even within one day in a week to your business and you'll be surprised how much you get done.
It's also very important to set realistic goals when it comes to growing your business. It's tempting to just follow what everyone is saying and say "I want a six figure business" or "I want to scale to 7 figures by _____ date" While it's great to aim high, ask yourself if you are even in that headspace to achieve that. Does that goal seem reasonable given the time constraints that you may have? If you're working with fixated time it's important to decrease the scope of what you're trying to accomplish before executing on it.
Trust your gut
Do what feels right to you within your business. Never feel like you have to perform in a certain way just because it's what other people have done. Your business is your business and you have to be able to trust yourself to make the right decisions that will serve you and your business. A couple questions I like to ask myself when it comes to making decisions about my business are:
- What goals do I have set for my business?
- What are my core values when it comes to my business?
- Does this opportunity match with my goals & my core values?
If the answer is yes to the third question, then I know it's something I should pursue. If the answer is no to the 3rd question, then I know its something I shouldn't pursue. Allowing yourself that space to reflect and question what is going on in front of you will ensure that you're making the best decisions when it doesn't align with you.
Collaboration over competition
Building your network in the entrepreneurship space is important to continue to grow as an entrepreneur. When you take the time to focus on finding ways to collaborate with other people you're allowing yourself to be exposed to more people which will continue to increase your brand awareness. A couple things you can do to collaborate is going on other people's podcasts, amplify other people's work, be a guest blogger, host a guest speaking engagement. Anything that will allow you to further your reach is worth more to you than trying to compete with other people in your industry.
The reality is that the people who are doing similar things as you aren't doing it EXACTLY like you. You all may have different niches, you all may focus on different areas of the business, and also you can't possibly work with everyone there is to work with nor should you want to. Operating from a mindset of abundance instead of scarcity will allow you to better partner with people and will allow you to reach your full potential within your business.
When you started your business, you did it to allow yourself to have a sense of freedom and because you wanted more for yourself in some way. That process should be fun and feel rewarding to you. For those who are starting their business while working a 9-5, you started a business so that it shouldn't feel like your 9-5 so don't allow it to. Take the time to enjoy your business and the growing pains that come with it. Trust your process and own your journey.