In a world that focuses on branding, marketing and being a boss, the most overlooked, most difficult, and yet important part of any business is simply this — STARTING.
Not waiting to start until you [insert excuse]; but STARTING. Now.
There are so many people sitting on million dollar dreams but can’t find the courage to just begin. The thought of [insert dream] can be scary and quickly becoming overwhelming.
“But the biggest culprit that prevents starting is typically your own thoughts”
Either you’ve tricked yourself into thinking everything needs to be “perfect” in order to start (note: perfection is an illusion), or you believe the negative thoughts that say you’re ill equipped, don’t have enough money, don’t have a enough followers or enough faith to just begin.
These negative thoughts are not, and will not, serve you on your path to purpose.
While doubt and fear is extremely normal (and expected) when embarking upon anything new, do not let that stop you from pursuing your dream.
I truly believe that anyone can be an entrepreneur — and not just any kind of entrepreneur, but a SUCCESSFUL entrepreneur.
In today’s post, I wanted to share some tips that I’ve discovered on my journey. These tools are the foundation to my business and helped me START.
First Tip: I Found My Lane and Stayed TF In It
I found what worked for me. This doesn’t mean that I put myself in a box or cornered myself into only doing one thing. What I’m referring to is minding the business that pays me. Not becoming consumed with what others were doing.
This may come as a shock to many, but I used to run track in high school (Varsity Boo!).
While being a track athlete, I quickly learned two very important lessons.
- It will only slow YOU down if you start looking around to see where your competition is in the race. In track, the difference between first and last place can literally be one second. You have to be solely focused on running your own race.
- The second lesson/rule was as a sprinter, you are immediately disqualified if you don’t stay in your own lane.
Business is no different…#PERIODT. Comparison is the thief of joy but above all, it’s a distraction. I realized that it’s ok to be inspired by others, but I’m only competing with myself.
As much as I love Oprah and Beyoncé. I only want to be the best version of me within my own life. I understand that my budget can’t compete with Chanel’s or Zara’s budget. I accept that I have not put in as many years, energy and work as [insert whatever indie store/person I allowed to intimidate me]. With this understanding and being so focused on being my best myself, those things will never deter me from going after what’s rightfully mine.
“Quick tip: Curate your Instagram feed and followers to solely focus on ideas and people who inspire and nourish you”
Be selfish with your timeline. Especially if you’re in the vulnerable state of creating. It’s ok to be honest with yourself and say this person’s success or following triggers my anxiety or insecurities. Unfollow them. Not because you’re a hater, but because it was a distraction to your goals and it’s protecting your peace.
Second Tip: Become as self-sufficient as possible.
As an online store owner, I’m still in the infant stages of entrepreneurship. Which means for the most part, I’m a one woman show.
Many entrepreneurs can attest that you have to be the coach, the team captain and the players all at once. It’s a beautiful thing though because no one is going to be more passionate than you.
The biggest mistake I made in the beginning was relying and waiting on others to begin my business. For instance, I *thought* I needed a bomb photographer to shoot all of my products. Or I *thought* I needed a brand new fancy camera to execute quality photos.
Once I acknowledged that these thoughts were keeping me from my best life, I became proactive and did my own research on how to take and edit quality pictures. It was a huge game changer for me. YouTube and Google are the real plug.
Couple my research with a tripod and self timer, And BOOM! I no longer needed to spend all this money to get quality shots of my product.
Same with my website. While I work closely with MooreSEO, I knew I wasn’t in a position to afford her services at the time.
BigCartel quickly became my best friend and I used a simple template that was the foundation for the re-launch of randomandchic.com– mind you, I’ve had like 20 relaunches of my store.
By equipping myself with the proper information it allowed my to work smarter and keep my overhead even lower. I was able to take control of my business.
Third Tip: Be Realistic & Resourceful. Work with What Ya Got.
My first year of being a full-time entrepreneur, I made close to six figures using my iPhone 8. I shot, edited, and operated BigCartel. Then I would upload and market on Instagram — all from my phone.
All pictures taken with iPhone 8
I didn’t have WiFi, a car, a camera and I still don’t have a logo. What I lacked, I made up for with creativity, consistency and drive. And let me just say, a lot of the times the things we think we need are absolute figments of our imaginations.
In 2011, I convinced myself in order for me to be a “real business” I needed a Mac Desktop and a mannequin for a more professional look. I purchased both of those items with my income tax.
Prior to this year my computer operated as a giant charger. This year is the most I’ve used my desktop. And Dorothy the mannequin is practically decoration at this point.
The funny thing about business, in particular an online store, is that there’s a distinct difference between what you yourself as the owner wants and what the customers wants and responds to.
I used to feel extremely inadequate or thought it looked unprofessional to not have models. It was a huge stress to me because I also didn’t have the funds to hire a reliable model. I allowed this thought to hinder me for many years. Once I focused on the resources I did have — which in this case was, myself — I quickly realized what set me apart was my styling and my unique body frame.
Suddenly I started taking pictures more confidently and frequently. I was everything I thought I wanted all along and knowing that made it easier for me to be more authentic and productive.
I’m not saying don’t recruit models now, but eliminating this belief and being realistic and resourceful with what I did have, worked for me. It’s extremely important to focus more on what you have instead of what you lack.
After you have found your lane and became self sufficient enough to utilize what you have, my final tip is this: Be kind and patient with yourself. You’re on the way.