What I've Learned In Four Years of Business Ownership
Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. grace + hudson just turned 4 years old this week so in this week's journal entry, I'm sharing the 4 most important things I've learned in 4 years of business ownership. A lot sure has happened in 4 short years! I even moved to a different part of the country and totally changed my way of living - from big city to beach life. Certainly there are more than 4 big things I've learned, but if I had to boil it down, this is what I would want the aspiring business owner to know:
1. It is a marathon, not a sprint. If you aren't a patient person, this experience will teach you patience.
Do not believe the teachers that tell you success is possible overnight. It is a LIE. A business needs to be built on a solid foundation in order to have longevity. Foundations are built slowly and steadily, with each building block being intentional and well thought out. Any "quick success" is going to be just that. Quick. Overnight successes typically disappear as quickly as they came. If that's the game you're playing, then go for it. But if you want a business you can work at your entire life and grow into a stable source of income, it's going to be more of a process. Patience is required. If you're not particularly patient (that was me!) this process can and will teach you how to have patience, which will serve you in other areas of your life as well.
2. Sacrifice is required.
If you want something you've never had, you're going to need to do things you've never done. You're going to need to sacrifice time, money, and who knows what else in order to make your new business a priority (it'll differ from person to person). I hear so many people say they want to start a business, but they're unwilling to do anything about it. They're unwilling to spend time working on it, they're unwilling to save money for it, they're unwilling to change their lifestyle for a little bit in order to truly give it a go. Well, nothing's going to happen if that's your attitude. Trust me, if starting a new business was easy, every single person would do it.
For me, the major sacrifice I needed to make was related to money. I was previously a lawyer making six figures and I never really needed to think about money. It was always there in abundance. But when I quit my lawyer job, I needed to adopt a new way of looking at money (see #3). On the other hand, I will say that I didn't really need to sacrifice time. Why? As a lawyer, I was already working weekends and long hours. As a business owner, I kept the same schedule. But if you're used to a typical 9-5 job with no weekend work, time might be the biggest sacrifice you'll need to make. In any case, realize the sacrifices will be temporary. A few years. By year 4 or 5, you'll be able to let loose a bit and get things more automated. In the grand scheme of things, 4 or 5 years out of your life is nothing! It's so worth the life-long benefits of having your own business.
3. If your finances and your mindset around money aren't in tip-top shape, be prepared to work on this area.
I've written several weekly journal entries on this topic so I won't get into the nitty-gritty again here, but changing my mindset around money is probably the most critical thing I did to take g+h from a five figure business to a six figure business. So many of us operate from this place of "there's never enough" or "I'll never make money living out my dream" or "it's either (a) live out my dreams and be poor or (b) live a nice life doing a job I don't like." No, no, no. These beliefs will make it impossible for you to build a stable business that can support you and pay the bills. You have got to take a look at this area and do some work on it if your money beliefs and financial practices aren't healthy and stable.
4. Learning marketing and advertising is critical.
What task takes up most of my time at work? It's definitely not making jewelry. It's marketing and advertising. Does that surprise you? I think some people look at my business and think, "Oh she just makes jewelry all day long, what a wonderful life." NOPE. Wrong. I spend most of my day-to-day life on business activities related to my jewelry business - mostly marketing and advertising. If no one knows about your business, they won't be able to buy from you no matter how great your products or services are! I actually love that part of my business. Listen, I used to be a lawyer with very intellectually stimulating work, and I could never in a million years just make jewelry all day long. I'd go crazy! I need to be mentally challenged at work. So I'm always learning the latest changes in digital advertising on Facebook/Instagram, taking webinars on marketing, doing research on how to change my approach to business growth and revise my strategy. If this sort of stuff makes your eyes glaze over, you might want to reconsider starting your own business. I mean it. It's such a big component of your day-to-day and such a crucial element of growing your business.
I hope you've found this week's journal entry enlightening! It's always fun to step back and see how far I've come in 4 years. I like to look back at the big picture and evaluate what really made a difference, what really stands out. I've tried and experimented so much in my business - some things worked and some things didn't. And, of course, it's helpful to reflect on the past in order to gear myself up for the future. I feel like I'm at the place in my business where I know what works for me now, and it's just about scaling those things up. It's a nice place to be! I rarely feel like I'm spinning my wheels anymore (you feel that way a lot in the first couple years).
Anyways, if you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something from my experience and also my mistakes!
P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I'm in the process of creating a Weekly Journal board on Pinterest so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. I only have a few weekly journal entries on the board right now, but I'm adding more on a weekly basis. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h over the past couple years and I want to make it easier for you to read the entries that resonate most!
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