My name is Kristiann and the lovely Portia has invited me to share with you some of the handy tips I’ve learnt along the way after starting my own business. I make sewing patterns for my line, Victory Patternsand I launched my little business just over one and a half years ago, so she’s still a wee baby. Starting out is often one of the toughest parts! It took me quite a while to muster up the courage to do it, but I’m so glad I did!
I try to encourage people who are passionate about what they do and have interest in entrepreneurialism to take the risk. I know everyone’s journey in starting a business can be vastly different, but I’ll share with you five important things that made it possible to do what I do.
1: Find the resources and confidence to help you get off the ground:
Money and knowledge, or the lack of them, are often two pretty big roadblocks when starting a business. You may not have the capital to afford start up expenses, or know everything you need to know in order to do it, yet!
Look into social programs that may assist you in the transition of embarking on this new business adventure. Depending where you live, your age, or perhaps the nature of your business, you may be eligible for some level of support with your business. This can come in the form of grants and bursaries, educational programs, government programs, etc. You really never know what’s out there until you start digging. You might want to start asking entrepreneurs that you know if they could put you in the right direction.
As for knowledge, you may be really good at what you do, but perhaps you’re not quite there yet to be the “expert” you want to be in order to have the confidence to get this going. Take classes, whether it pertains to building direct skills surrounding creating your product or service, or to become familiar with business practice. Arm yourself with confidence, and understand that you can’t possibly know everything. You’re going to learn more than you can imagine as you go, so at some point you just have to bite the bullet and GO!
2: Don’t be afraid to ask for help:
It’s easy to feel intimidated at the idea of reaching out to someone who’s work you admire to ask for their advice or help. We can put people on pedestals, especially if they’re doing something we want to be doing. I’ve found that 90% of times, people are happy to help you out. You’d be surprised what you can learn. And don’t take it personally if you don’t hear back from them. Just go for it! You have nothing to lose. I’ve gained a mentor and a partnership, just because of an initial email for advice.
After having stuck up a conversation with someone, be it a competitor or potential customer, it’s really amazing when you can contact them down the road to thank them and let them know that their input helped to get you where you are now and that they were a part of your journey. Also, remember to return the favor. One day you might be in a position to help someone get their biz off the ground. Pay it forward!
I can’t tell you how much having a business plan has helped me to solidify my vision, forced me to ask myself real questions around my product, customer, market, competition, finances, etc. Most importantly, it will help you to prove your business to yourself, and potentially a financial institution down the road. You will have to thoroughly research all aspects of your business and by the end of it, you’ll feel more armed to handle challenges that come your way. You want to try to minimize surprises once you start.
You don’t need to know the future but give take your best shot at planning where your business will be for the next three years. You’ll likely find that one-year into it, your course has taken a turn in a direction you could never have anticipated, but you can cross that bridge when you get there, and then you can sit down again to plan some more.
You may have a grand vision from your brand. That’s amazing! Keep that vision! But I’d suggest starting small and grow slowly and organically. You’re likely not going to be rolling in money overnight, so take your time to get there. Running like a tortoise will take some of the pressure off your business plan predictions and help you to win the race!
After that, the next challenge is putting this hefty document into action. Just start! You can write a business plan that could put a grin on your bankers face, but after that, you’re going to have to grow some guts to get it going! Like to old Nike adage goes: Just DO it!!! There may be some roadblocks intimidating you from taking your first step. But just know that unless YOU put 110% into this, it’s not going to happen. Remember, you’re going to learn as you go and it will all get easier with time and action.
4: Support: I can’t tell you how important it is to surround yourself with people that support you. This can be a tricky one, because you might think that you’ve got that covered. Your family, partner and friends will undoubtedly want to be there for you.
But when it comes down to you having to commit most of your free time to this venture, it can be difficult for others to really understand what’s involved in this. People can feel neglected and bitter about the lack of time and attention you have for them. Have a frank conversation with the people you want to have near you on this adventure. Let them know how much this means to you, that they play a big part in making this possible and that you need their support.
Also, practice selective hearing. There will be people that tell you what you’re about to do is a crazy idea and warn you to not do it. Even close friends may surprise you by their attitudes towards your courage, or even your success. This is often a reflection of their own insecurity. This has nothing to do with you. After all, after having written a wicked business plan, you’re going to be super sure that this is something you want to explore, and no one should be able to rock your boat!
5: Balance: This is generally just a good life tool, and it’s probably something we all struggle with to some degree. It’s very easy to get swallowed up with work that you’re passionate about. The line between work and pleasure can get blurred, so often it may not feel like you’re working at all. That’s a really great problem! But it means that you might forget to take a walk and see smiling faces in the sunshine, grab a coffee without checking your phone for emails, go to the gym or spend time by yourself or with friends. ANYTHING, but working!
Make a promise to yourself to schedule in things that are important to you that have nothing to do with work. Build taking care of yourself into your daily routine!
I could go on and on, but I think that’s a good primer to get you going! I’d love to know what your passions and biz idea’s are and if you have tips you’d like to add to this list.
Thanks so much for having me on your beautiful blog! Dream big, lovelies, and good luck realizing it!
Thankyou so much Kristiann! I know that there are many of us out there who dream of turning something we love into a living; and it’s great to get some insight and advice from someone who’s only gone and done it!! If you guys want to hear more about how Kristiann got started, she and Etsy teamed up recently to make this fantastic video; and to keep updated with where this business is going (places methinks!) you can follow Victory Pattern’s blog here.
REMEMBER! You have until Sunday to enter the giveaway to win TWO Victory Patterns of your very own. Now available in either print or PDF format. Details here!
Have a great day!!