I started StartUp Creative on a train to work in April 2014. By August I had the courage to transition from my full time career as a Social Worker to a full time Entrepreneur. Along the way I have started a magazine and distributed it around the globe. Personally coached 100’s of people to start their own businesses. Written an e-course, e-book and workbook. Hosted in person events for 1000’s people and have grown an online community of over 40,000.
Here’s the thing, I’ve never studied business at University. I had no money when I started and I had never run a company before. I’ve learnt everything I know from jumping in the deep end and figuring it out, surrounding myself with mentors/coaches & successful friends and immersing myself in books, courses and podcasts at every chance I get.
Looking back now, here are 10 things I wish I knew when I started out.
1. You don't need money. Sometimes having all the money in the world can make you do dumb shit. Having to hustle for your money makes you think about what is important and you learn to maximise your profits ASAP. Don’t let ‘no money’ stop you, it’s just an excuse.
2. Relationships are everything. It really is about who you know. Get out there and build genuine and trusting relationships. Be vulnerable, share your dream and ask for help. My business wouldn’t be where it is today without people helping me out. Getting my magazine in Virgin Australia Lounges was a matter of me taking a risk, knowing the right people and crossing paths with the right person at the right time. The only way to meet the right people is get out there and meet them, build relationships, they are priceless.
3. You can't do it alone. I’m so grateful for the mentors, networks and friends who believed in me and the business enough help me out along the way. People are kind and willing to help. If they’re not, don't take it personally, move on and only give your time, energy and dreams to those who care.
4. Value every customer/follower. Don’t get caught in the trap of always needing more. It is cheaper for you to acquire 1 customer and keep finding ways to look after and ‘resell’ to that one customer than it is to acquire 10 more. Value everyone who takes interest in your business and know that they have a million other choices of where to shop but have chosen you. Give them your best service and they will do the marketing for you.
5. Followers doesn't = success. Social media lies! So many people compare themselves to others based on the number of followers they have on social media. Followers mean nothing unless you are converting them to sales and never forget that followers can be bought. Stay true to what you are doing and if you catch yourself comparing, switch it off and don’t follow.
6. Authenticity is sexy, be yourself. Don’t try and be something that you're not. Some of the sexiest and most successful businesses I know are an authentic extension of the owner/founder. When you are creating a business from your true self you love everything that you do. If you catch yourself resenting your business or an aspect of it, question if it is authentic to you as a person and your own values. Faking it isn’t sustainable.
7. Say NO more often. It’s ok to say no and in fact people will respect you more if you do. You are the only one responsible for your happiness, health, time and workload. If it doesn't feel right for you, don't do it. Trust that saying no will allow space for more of what you truly want.
8. Be generous. What goes around comes around. Give more than what you ask for andcommit to building trust with your customers, you will be rewarded for it.
9. Some people are idiots. That’s the truth of it. You can’t get along with everyone and your business isn't right for everyone. Do your best to not take it personally, save your energy and keep moving towards your goals.
10. Have fun! Don’t let it get too serious! It’s your own show, you can do what you want with it. Don’t forget to relax, laugh and play along the way, it will make you a better entrepreneur in the end.