If there's one thing I always thought I was good at, it's not being good at things. I'm also fairly certain if there had been a yearbook award for least likely to become a business owner I probably would have won. Despite my friends recounting that I was known for being "smart", my grades were average for most of my education, and I sure as hell never thought I'd end up where I am today (partly because this job just didn't exist ten years ago).
Don't even think for a second this is a sob story because it's actually one of the things I'm most proud of. Being a boss didn't come naturally to me, especially when I started doing this here internet thing full time at 23 years old. I've grown in to my boss shoes and if I can do it, you can too! So today I thought I'd share some of my top learnings from the past four years of running a business full time:
I actually think being used to not being the best at many things is what helped me out so much in the beginning, and even now. I'm just not used to things being a quick process to start out with. When I'm starting something new or trying something I've never done before I have to be patient with myself. And that's transcends across my business too. Nothing happens overnight. It's a process and you have to embrace it, enjoy it and trust in it. There is no magic formula now - start your blog, enjoy the hours of googling until you figure out what the effing hell you're doing, trust in the journey to come where you'll spend years figuring out your niche. Enjoy the uncertainty.
Know your weaknesses
It's important to know where your strengths and weaknesses lie, especially as your business grows. For me the accounting and admin tasks should be kept far away from my own hands (I learnt to do them in the early years so I have a good understanding of them, but quickly handed them over for safe keeping). I also know the types of people I'm more inspired by and work better around, and have learnt to employ accordingly. Even within your content it's important to identify your strengths - focus and develop them in order to amplify them and elevate your brand.
Work hard in silence...
... let your success be the noise. (Not literally, Beyoncé in the background is definitely allowed - in fact it should be mandatory IMO). I learnt a long time ago to spend less time shouting about the exciting things I was working on, and more time producing them. It gives you a better sense of focus, the anonymity to take your time without feeling rushed, and let's face it who doesn't love a surprise.
Rejection isn't failure, it's redirection
Sometimes things don't work out, sometimes you'll hear a no. It's important not to take these things personally. I always see this as an opportunity for a new direction or to improve on where I am at that point in time. (this outlook also kinda applies to relationships in your personal life too)
Embrace your industry...
Absorb everything, learn everything you can about it. Be a frickin spongeeeee. Whether you're setting up a business of just leaving uni, this applies to everyone. Never loose your sponge quality because it will be invaluable throughout your working life. Even if it's something you employ someone else to help with (e.g. I employ someone to help with my images but a high level, practical understanding of photography is still crucial); learn it and love it.
Off the back of being a sponge - be adaptable. Case and point: I did not like IG Stories when it first launched - I am now all over that shizz. I HATED IGTV when it launched, but here I am three videos in, I actually kind like it. It's important to be adaptable not only for revenue (super important in establishing a sustainable business) but for relevance. We all had that friend that was the last lonely human being on MySpace right?
Work smarter, not harder.
We've all been that person at one point that pulls an all nighter - sometimes there's just no getting around it. But to do that regularly is going to cause you to burn out and make you very unhappy because it is not sustainable. I learnt the hard way folks. If you have to work 18 hours + a day to make ends meet you don't necessarily have a sustainable business*. You will get to a point where you either need to reassess your working methods - are you taking too many breaks? Too little? Are you overtired from working too late and it's actually counter productive? Is your working environment right for you? Does your software need an upgrade? It's important to make sure we're working efficiently rather than spending hours on a task that could be done in half the time if we just made a few tweaks. If this isn't possible then it might be time to consider extra help to work efficiently with you. *NOTE: this does not count for start up businesses - we've all been in that position and often you really do have to put in some silly hours to reach your goals - i.e. me working until 3am on my blog because I still had a 9 - 5. My thoughts are with you, keep going.
Watch: Olivia Burton*
Rings: Olivia Burton*, Etro, Versace
Braceletes: Chloe**, Dior, Tiffany & Co.
Photography: Joe Galvin
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*I am a brand ambassador for Olivia Burton however there is no sponsorship or product placement attached to this post. This post is not sponsored by any of the brands featured.
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