I’ve recently been reflecting on the first 3 months last year when I started my business and remembering all the many things I did wrong! I’m also happy they happened so I can share them and hopefully you can learn from my mistakes. So here are the big mistakes I made in the first few months of my business and what I have taken from them…
PRETENDING TO BE A BIGGER BUSINESS
At first I thought I needed to look like a bigger agency to attract work and I used ‘we’ when I talked about the work I produced. It all felt a bit fake so after 4 months I decided to get personal photos shot and I changed my website to sound more personal. And as soon as I did this I started attracting the right type of people to work with.
I had this idea that I had to seem professional and corporate and at first I didn’t put my true self out there.
Holistic, conscious, ethical business is ‘me’. I love yoga, meditation and am often labelled ‘hippyish’ but shyed away from sharing this as I thought it would put people off, this was a big startup business mistake. But these are exactly the things that people have commented on in meetings about potential jobs. All over agencies seemed overly corporate and very masculine in their energy so being myself has helped me to stand out.
SHARING HELPS YOU CONNECT WITH PEOPLE.
SHARING MY business PERSONALITY
Sharing scenes behind the business when I’ve had tough days and feeling a bit rubbish have been moments where I have really connected with people and this honesty has shown the often-missing human side behind a business.
I think as we live so much of our lives online we really are starting to crave that personal touch. Personally I love supporting smaller businesses with soul and that the person behind the business is what attracts me to connect.
Perhaps this week you could put out a more personal post, or if you are pretending to be bigger maybe start to show you are small, personal business and really value those connections you make with your clients. Be proud to be who you are as ‘you’ are your business!
REMEMBER IT’s THE BUSINESS JOURNEY NOT THE DESTINATION
EXPECTING EVERYTHING TO HAPPEN STRAIGHT AWAY
Patience is something that I have to remind myself to embrace almost daily in business! That nervous energy that fuels your startup can also fuel an impatience that can cause you to panic and make rash decisions. Comparison is often the cause of this as we look at others who are flying and having great success straight away. Rarely do we look at those businesses who have slowly been building over the years with quiet successes.
I’ve found that just breathing, being patient, making sure I’m doing a good job and being true to myself has shown that eventually things happen. But not straight away! I’m a big believer in trusting in the universe and when the time is right things will flow.
It took around 6 months for my business to start taking off and to attract the clients I want to work with. Those first 6 months were filled with often panic stricken days wondering where the next job will come from.
BE A UNIQUE VOICE. DON’T ADD TO THE NOISE.
COPYING OTHERS and not being an authentic business
When you are a startup new business you are often told to keep your eye on the competition and it’s easy to simply copy what they are doing as you envy their success. Perhaps you start to post the same type of content on social media, or copy the way they talk. It’s fine to gain inspiration from others but make sure you are doing it in your own unique way. Your potential clients or customers will see through any fakeness and disengenious talk.
By copying others you are merely adding to the noise. If you don’t want to advertise on Facebook when everyone tells you it’s the best thing to grow your business, then don’t – listen to your gut. Do what feels true to your business and carve out a unique path as an authentic business. If you copy you’ll probably not be attracting the right people for your business.
These mistakes have helped me form a unique business and I’ve certainly learnt a lot from them. As ever running a business is a constant state of self-development, experimentation and refinement. One way to know which path to take, how to make difficult decisions and when to say ‘no’ is tuning into my intuition and forgetting the noise.
You can read more about tuning in with your intuition helps your business here.
Until next time,
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Hello! I’m Charlotte the founder of Creative Wilderness. I love to collaborate with forward thinking brands. I’ve had over 10 years in the design industry working at big agencies on brands including Wilkinson Sword, Peroni, Kozel, Energizer, McCann, The Hut Group, Pilsner, Aldi, Cambridge University, Harbour Hotels and many many more.
Before jumping into design I dreamed of being a Rock star and studied music at Paul McCartneys music school ‘The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts’. I spent a few years as a pro musician where I toured, played festivals, recorded albums and also a music video. I still love playing sax and bass in bands and music and design make me feel alive and inspired!
3 things that keep me motivated are yoga or runs every morning, matcha tea and 6music!
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