Three Things They Don't Tell You When Starting Your Own Business
Alternative title: "3 Current 'Oh Shit' Moments"
So here's the deal. I've always known that the "end game" was running my own company and making the type of schedule (and income) where jetting off to Bali was a regular thing. However, the giant missing piece to this super success puzzle - the point 'A' to point 'B'ali - was the how.
Oh Shit Moment #1: You need to decide EXACTLY what it is you are doing and why (for now*).
Up until a very wine-heavy evening at Circa with a mutual college friend/acquaintance/"that girl I pass all the time", I had no clear direction as to which passion to pursue as my full- time gig. I've always been one of those creatives who is interested in everything and always jumping around ideas in an attempt to learn and soak up all life experiences like one giant Warhol-painted sponge. It's exhausting. Fast forward to now: me and that girl (hint: it's Caty) decided on a thing and are doing our best side hustle to make dreams and sandy beaches come true.
The best part about being a creative sponge is that you (should) also know when to listen. Caty and I shook hands that night and made a promise: to figure out what this thing is by January 2016 or else. Since then we've gone through our own branding and identity sessions and are spending every waking moment we can talking to the creative community for insight. Some companies just up and start, doors wide open, saying "We're here, world! Come buy our shit!" If that has worked for you and your business, please contact me. You're my new hero / I am confused.
Before you can even begin to get into the brass tax of your business, there should be one question you're asking every. single. person. you know: "Do people even want my shit?" Then there's the subsequent, more professional, questions:
"What needs are currently not being filled in this industry?"
"How can I best reach the people who need this most?"
"What products/services do I charge for and how much are people willing to pay?"
"What products/services do I give for free because I genuinely care?"
*I'll address the tail end of this one quickly: People grow. Brands evolve. Don't fear the unknown and be open to changing along with your business; it's natural.
Oh Shit Moment #2: Your fear of money has got to go.
Those last two questions bring up something scarier than the boogie man and that creepy Chuckie doll from the 90's combined: money.
You grew up with a little of it, college then took most of that, and you now associate the M-word with stuffy corporate jobs and rich people on 40-ft yachts and 24k gold drink stirrers. How could something so sticky and slimy and green be something you actually strive to achieve and deserve to have?
Because money is energy, good or bad. It's what you make of it. And if you're spending your time and talent towards a project, you deserve to get paid and get paid well. Period. Don't be afraid to ask for it and make sure you're asking enough.
As with most of this article, these are more mental notes to ourselves.
Oh Shit Moment #3: Kiss sleep goodbye (and say hello to espresso).
If you were "privileged" enough to go to art school, you have a strong past history with sleep, or lack thereof. I'll admit, all-nighters and 5am pizza runs were all fun and games while we were young and "developing our craft", but what happens in college stays in college, right?
Starting a new venture is so mentally draining, this morning I caught myself hiding back tears of gratitude while my hair stylist kept me away from my phone for 30 minutes. Of course, I lunged towards my purse once he finished but there's something that becomes so surreal about turning your brain off for just a few minutes. Because let's be real: it doesn't turn off when you want it to most, like when not even nocturnal animals are awake or when you're racing a deadline at your day job.
It never stops.
There isn't much advice I can offer on this as I'm still living it. Maybe invest in a good concealer? Pop your tires and burn down all coffee shops within a 20 mile radius? Actually, scratch that, there isn't any advice I can offer on this. I'll keep you posted.