By Elena Balkcom for Laurel Avenue
From graduating college, to waiting tables, to starting a business...there's been no shortage of adventure.
They say you need a certain measure of crazy to start a business, and I can attest to that.
Here are a few things that I learned along the way and may encourage you in your new business endeavors, or just in your daily grind!
1. Don't lean.
Pal, if you lean too hard on the crutch of "I don't know" then you'll never take a step forward. Or similarly, if you don't dig into learning the steps, you may end up paying way more for something you could do yourself!
Here's a real business example I learned.
LegalZoom. You don't need LegalZoom to set up an LLC, and you don't need an LLC right away to start a business! Get your feet wet in your industry, and don't feel guilty for creating your LLC AFTER your biz launch! When you're ready to create your LLC, just go to Secretary of State (sos.gov) website and do it for half the price of including a middle-man like LegalZoom. Just READ. Googling "how do I set up an LLC" can help you WAY more than just defaulting to pay for something you could learn to do yourself. Or better yet- call up a fellow girlboss who is two or three steps ahead. You'll be glad you did and you'll probably save a bunch a of $.
2. Get experience.
Anything you can do in a field you WANT to start a business in WILL help you.
Friend, any chance you have to investigate a similar line of work is a huge success. You'll find nuggets of wisdom, and maybe even a new perspective. My advice: email people who do things you're interested in. Even if you aren't coming to them with a clear idea of what YOU want to do, most people like to share with hopefuls about their work.
Most of us (startups) pour our LIVES into our work. If someone else comes along with a similar fire for what we're working on, it's not annoying, it's an honor to share!
3. Balance "Create" and "Improve-Upon".
I have a nerdy business theory...
Businesses that catch-on are the ones that build on services or technology that already exist, but also innovate a new service, a new product or a new way of doing something.
- If you're all innovation from the get-go, it's going to hard to explain what you do enough times for it to catch on right away.
- You can cook a pie just like the rest of 'em, but if you're out to change the world of pies because you're Grandma's recipe needs to be shared, then that's what I call improving upon a service that exists.
Finding that perfect balance of inventing something new, and re-imaginging something that exists, is the start-up sweet-spot.
4. Tip Your Hat to a Change of Plans
Letting God re-write the plan for your life is terrifying. Someone will probably encourage you to get a "normal job".
Letting God re-re-write your business plan (again) is also scary.
Then you look back at what you thought you'd be when you grow up and laugh at how much better the Lord's plans are for your life that your high school dreams were. He dreams big dreams for us because he knows what we're capable of, what opportunities he'll give us, and how he'll get us there.
Tons (TONS) of days, I don't understand how the HECK God has carried us across 2 years, scores of weddings, to a current staff of 3, I am blown away. When I think about where I believe He wants to take us I am wide-eyed and sip my coffee again because how the HECK are we going to get there?
And he holds it in His hands.
Email me if you need business encouragement, friend. I don't have all the answers (or even a few answers, most days) but I am in the start-up trenches with you, and it is worth it.