Jan. 24, 2012
Starting a Business?
Let me just spit this out real quick: I've never taken a business class. I feel a little funny giving advice on business because I feel like you have to be a millionaire or someone like Donald Trump to give advice.
Most days I even feel a little silly identifying as a "business woman" or an "entrepreneur" because I have this stereotype in my head of what that is, and I'm so clearly not that... but I AM a business woman. I AM an entrepreneur.
Because what I do feels so natural, and a lot like play (I'm just doing my passion) it never feels like "work"... I guess what I'm trying to say is that that I often forget happy herbivore is a business!
But HH is a business, a business I created and after four long years, it's now my job.
Running your own business takes a hunger I can't quiete describe -- you have to have this intense hunger to do it because running your own business is a long game. It takes years. And you have to want it so badly, be so passionate, that you don't mind working 90 hours a week. I work, on average, 12 to 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, but I love it so I never feel like I'm working. Courtney (my sister, and employee) works just as much as I do, and often our mom will call at 10pm and be like "what? you're still working? Lindsay you work Courtney too much!"
Ugh hem... but enough about the hunger and the drive and the commitment. My friend Kait asked me for advice the other day about freelancing and starting her own business -- here's my advice to anyone who wants to start their own business, whatever that business may be.
Start with the least common denominator. Start your business today and build upon what you can do right now.
For example, my friend Tori wants to be a party and wedding planner. My advice to her is call every friend she has and ask them if they have any events coming up -- a birthday, an anniversary, a wedding, baby shower, bridal shower, you name it and ask if she can plan their party, etc. for free. All they have to do is tell Tori what they want, give her a budget and in return, they'll tell all their guests about Tori and her business, etc. This way Tori can build up a clientele, and get "examples" and "testimonials" for a website and start the word-of-mouth buzz.
Another example, my friend Andrea wants to open a bakery, but obviously opening a bakery takes a lot of money, so I suggested she start selling her amazing cookies online, on etsy, send samples out to bloggers, start a blog showing off the cookies, and then this spring, get a farmers market table. All this leads to clients and revenue that will one day build up to the store front.
Still another friend, Vicky, wants to pursue art and her dreams are big, but having her own gallery or art studio is a long-term game. Focusing on her specialties: illustration and portraits, we came up with these ideas: I suggested she start doing portraits for free of friends, relatives and coworkers, so she had examples to put on a website; and Vicky had her own ideas as well -- she offered her services to a children's book author, and she's illustrating the book just to have the experience. She's also planning to set up shop at the park this spring and do face painting and portraits for those who stop by her easel.
A friend of mine who is 'successful' like me is my friend Haley. She is crazy passionate about crafts, and decided to pursue it as a career (previously, she'd been in publishing). At first, Haley started a blog with tutorials, then she started giving free classes around the city. This got her a few private clients/private lessons. Then she started writing (for free) for a magazine, just for the exposure and experience, and eventually, it turned into a job. She does crafts full-time for various magazines and websites, as well as her own, she gives classes and private lessons, and she is often commissioned by others to make or do certain projects. Like me, Haley is living the dream and so can you!
You just have to get out there and do. You have to start. Start small. If you want to write a book, you have to first sit down and write. If you want to be a life coach or personal trainer, start coaching your friends for free.
and if you have a business idea or dream, feel free to email me, I'll help you come up with a starting point you can do today.
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