When I first started my company, it was me in my living room, with a webcam and some beauty supplies. It has now grown into multimillion-dollar company, with a team of 14 women. Here are the top 5 tips that have helped me grow my business and become a better business owner:
Hire Your First Employee Immediately
I remember while running to the post office every day, thinking, maybe I have a few hundred dollars a month to make my first hire. I ran home, ran the financials, and made my first Craigslist ad for an “assistant”. I’m glad I did it sooner than later.
Even though my first hire was a student at a community college who only worked only few hours a week, I was forced to be a manager and boss in the early days of the business. I learned how to manage, communicate, set expectations, hire and fire. Additionally, I learned how to train someone, which is crucial in scaling the business. I also learned how to delegate and “let go” of control of certain aspects. Developing these skills in the very beginning of my business forced me to change my mindset for growing the business.
When I first started, there wasn’t anyone who showed me the ropes of every aspect. While I did get advice from many valuable leaders, I had to figure out a lot on my own. Therefore, I was always googling, reading books, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos or attending conferences. I would play YouTube videos from Tony Robbins or David Allen while cleaning or doing laundry. I would listen to “Millionaire Fastlane” on long drives. I kept a plethora of unread books in my Kindle app, so in any moments of downtime, I could always be learning.
The biggest advantage of all this learning was not necessarily in gaining a lot technical knowledge, but being motivated by the stories of many successful entrepreneurs. It gave me a kick in the butt on the days when I was tempted to do nothing all day because no one would care.
Attend Networking Events, Trade shows, Conferences, Etc.
I know some people say it’s a waste of time, but in the beginning, attending these events was crucial for me to build my network. Maybe attending a $2,000 conference, plus another $1,000 of travel expenses, may be hard for a business just starting out, but sometimes I would gain just one takeaway that multiplied my investment. Additionally, I would meet peers who were working on something similar, which made the entrepreneurial journey less isolating.
There are many conferences that I didn’t actually attend for educational purposes, but the payoff was in meeting people who I can call up and bounce ideas off. Now I’m a bit more selective on attending events, as the opportunity cost is higher, but in the beginning, I tried to go to as many events as possible. The worst thing that could happen is you learn a few tips.
Realize That You’re Not Normal—And That’s Okay!
As a 27-year-old female entrepreneur, I tried to “fit in” with all my girlfriends with whom I socialized in the years before starting my business. For some reason, I’d always be thinking about my business instead of enjoying Happy Hour or going to a house party or club. I found myself drifting in thought, and only showed up because I felt like that’s what someone my age “should” do; but I came to terms that maybe I don’t enjoy what my peers are into, and that’s okay!
There’s nothing wrong with going to bed before midnight on a Saturday night so you can start on your project early Sunday morning. It’s okay to be “different.” Embrace your uniqueness. You don’t need to waste time pretending to “fit in” with what everyone else is doing. There’s nothing normal about scaling your business to a multimillion-dollar business.
Remind Yourself That It’s Okay to Be Alone
If there is one thing that surprised me about entrepreneurship, it’s the tremendous isolation you feel. It’s not isolation like you are stranded island on an island and there’s no one around you; it’s the isolation of being alone in your thoughts in a room full of people. Few people are entrepreneurs and few people understand the issues and problems you are going through. You crave connection with those who understand the stresses you are going through.
In the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, it was an incredibly isolating experience. It probably didn’t help that I had just ended a relationship and was a single founder of my company, but I had to constantly remind myself that “It’s okay to be alone” and eventually learned how to embrace it!
In the early stages of the business, you do almost everything alone (attend conferences, go to seminars, work, source products, and make decisions). As lonely as that may sound, you also become more confident in yourself as a person. When you run a business, you learn to trust your judgments and realize that your thoughts, opinion, and intuition are credible and good enough. You don’t need anyone else to undermine your decisions. In fact, when I have gotten a second opinion and changed my decision based on someone else’s opinions or thoughts, I have regretted it every time.
Running a business can be tough; always be on the lookout for tips that you can apply to your own business.