I’ve only been in business for 3 years, but it’s been enough time to learn lots of valuable lessons.
You can have a solid business plan in place, have a degree or two up your sleeve and massive goals and dreams, but you truly won’t know what it’s like to run a business until you actually get in there and do it.
My short time in business means that I can still clearly remember those early days- when I had no idea where I was heading and felt bloody intimidated when I came across others with much more experience. I dreaded the question “so what do you do?” because I found it difficult to define exactly what I did- I didn’t have an elevator pitch, or a one-liner summarising my business.
You might be feeling the same way- starting out, not sure what you’re doing or whether you’re doing it right. Everyone around you seems confident and successful. Everyone’s sharing their success stories, and they make it look easy. Meanwhile, you feel like a fraud and hope that it isn’t written all over your face.
If this is you, rest assured that you’re completely normal. In fact, have a read through the following 27 tips for newbie entrepreneurs to ease your mind and help you realise you’re on the right track.
New Entrepreneurs: 27 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started
The rollercoaster ride of being an entrepreneur is normal. There will be ups and downs, sometimes even daily! There will be plenty of obstacles and challenges to overcome, and it’s the strong ones who make it past these obstacles.
Business growth can take years. Don’t expect a profit from the start! It takes time to build your client base, your stock levels and your brand. Don’t rush things or you might make costly mistakes.
It’s ok not to know all the answers from the beginning. Just start somewhere, have a rough plan in mind but be flexible. You will learn more as you experience the entrepreneurial journey. There are things they don’t teach you at University!
Every business evolves- what you do today will change in future. You may discover a niche in your industry, or realise that your clients have changed. Your branding may also look different in five years-time than it does now. This is normal!
You need to put yourself out there- whether its through networking, sharing content, creating content, running workshops, being interviewed etc… Share what you know, teach people things, help others. Give without expecting anything in return.
Experimenting is important- don’t get stuck doing things one way. Try different things and see what works well for you. Just because Jane Brown didn’t have success with Instagram advertising, doesn’t mean you won’t. Just because Tim Smith hates LinkedIn doesn’t mean you should.
Rules are made to be broken. Entrepreneurs break the rules all the time!
Don’t compare your beginnings with someone else’s middles- you can’t be as successful as someone who has been in business for several years. See that uber-successful person? They have fears and doubts too.
It’s ok not to have a work-life balance: if you need to work at night because you’re too busy looking after your kids during the day, that’s ok. If you need to put in 12 hours or work on weekends, that’s ok too.
We’re always told to maintain a work-life balance, and while we need time for rest and relaxation, there are times when we have to work longer hours and harder than usual. It won’t always be this way!
Don’t spend your money on shiny new objects that aren’t necessary for your business. So you can’t afford a swish website design, or automation software- this isn’t important when you’re just starting out. Keep things simple and as your business grows, you can change things.
It’s ok to have a side hustle and still work in corporate until you’re ready to quit. You don’t have to quit your job to start a business- in fact, I don’t recommend this at all!
Don’t tell all your family and friends about your business– most won’t understand or care about what you do. Others will be negative or share unhelpful advice. Wait until you’ve achieved some level of success.
Setting your prices or rates is bloody hard! There are many factors to consider, and you can change your prices whenever you like.
Have an exit strategy- decide at what point you want to either quit or sell your business. Give yourself a few years to build your business before deciding this.
Learning is an important part of being an entrepreneur- make sure you read lots and keep learning. Technology changes rapidly, and you’ll need to keep abreast of changes in your industry.
Keep a diary or journal of your entrepreneurial journey- I have started doing this now, as a journal and as a podcast. I can look back one day and remind myself where I began and what I went through to get to where I am. I can also share my journey with my kids and grandkids!
Always say thank you. People are good at asking for things, but not so good at saying thank you. Take time out of your day to thank the people who have helped you in some way, whether it’s someone who shared a piece of advice, or someone who referred someone to you.
Customers aren’t always right, but it’s good to let them think they are. Choose your battles wisely- the repercussions of your actions can have damaging effects on your business and your brand.
Be amazing- the average game has already been won.
Focus on how you can be better and grow as a business.
Don’t be so hard on yourself- there will be good days, and not-so-good days. It all comes with the territory.
Don’t assume anything- assumptions can lead to disappointment and costly mistakes. Do your own research before you decide something, and get things in writing.
Respect your competition- competition is good for the market. It keeps you on your toes, and helps bring out the best in you. Have respect for others and don’t treat your competitors like enemies. Focus on how you can bring more value to your own customers and clients.
Don’t worry about not having a huge social following to begin with. Once you network and share your content, people will discover you and want to follow you.
Do something that’s out of your comfort zone- constantly challenge yourself, as this is how you will grow as a person and as an entrepreneur.
Look after your health. Don’t neglect exercise and healthy eating. If you’re sick, then not only do you suffer but your business suffers too.
Make sure you have adequate sleep- it’s difficult to make sound business decisions when you’re exhausted.
What about you- do you have any tips or advice for new entrepreneurs? Let me know in the comments!