It is rewarding, empowering, frustrating, liberating, discouraging, maddening, inspiring, head-consuming, thrilling and doubt-provoking. Entrepreneurship is often a journey involving many risks and resilience, a path that curves through unexpected but beautiful territory, a collection of several rights and many wrongs.
When I launched my travel art shop, I initially didn't even realize that I was launching a business. I was a full-time scientist and had never ventured into entrepreneurship in any form, aside from selling lemonade like your average five year-old.
I learned by doing, by being and by meeting inspiring individuals along the way.
Here are 11 of the most valuable lessons I learned in business.
1. Be yourself
2. Stories are special
It's really key to welcome and use feedback from your ideal customers to fine-tune what you offer. Be attentive to how others' react to your work and how they describe your business.
If you sell physical products like I do, this is what is so great about being present at pop-up shops or shows. Who are you connecting with? What words are they consistently using? Which products spark conversation or evokes an emotive response in them? If you mostly sell online, consider sending a short survey to your customers or encourage them to leave you a review. Listen to the traits they focus on when they describe you. Then, work to amplify those traits in everything you create and the way you present your creations.
4. Social media marketing is vital
6. Trust your gut
7. Expertise develops continuously
8. Say no
Ask yourself: Is this going to bring me closer to my goals? Is this something that will be brand affirming? Will it take me in a direction I'll be happy about? Do I have time for it without burning out or compromising my other priorities?
Pay close attention when the answer to any one of these questions is NO. And, if it is, please remember that you have your reasons and your reasons are always valid. Although you may be tempted to express them as a justification to the person you are turning down, you don't really need to justify your choices.
9. Take everything as a constructive learning experience
10. Invest in yourself
11. Take time to revise and revisit
Fellow entrepreneurs, TELL ME: Which one of these tips resonates most with you? Leave a comment below!