I can hardly believe it, but this month marks the one year anniversary of starting SOPHIYA! How time has flown!
In the first year, SOPHIYA has grown into something so more than I could have expected it to be when I first starting working on it last summer.
I had a vision in mind, and along with my 5+ years of social media knowledge 10+ business and project management skills, I poured everything into SOPHIYA.
I have many aspirations for SOPHIYA’s future, but I thought it was important to take time and reflect on this first year. In the event you are thinking about or in the process of starting your own business, I wanted to share 6 things I learned from starting my own business.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks
Taking the leap to start your own business can be scary…but nothing will happen if you don’t take a risk.
In the months working up to the launch of SOPHIYA, I went through many designs and ideas that never made it to the collection. I spent many nights working on the pieces, worried that no one would like them.
There were many nights where I contemplated giving up and worried the whole thing would ‘fail’.
So I decided to make only a couple pieces of each design and figured, hey, if no one bought anything, at the very least I learned how to build a website in the process! (Remember that even if you ‘fail’ at something, there is always something that can be learned from the process. Failure is really about learning–and this can lead to your success).
Fast forward one year and countless hours of hard work later, it is now almost my full-time job (along with my Life With Jazz work), I have one employee and I just launched the newest SOPHIYA design–a backpack!
You never know if you don’t try.
2. It Takes a LOT of Hard Work
Anyone that runs their own business will tell you it is HARD WORK.
When it’s your own business, you are the driving force behind it. It is up to you to make things happen. It takes a lot of work, determination, learning and patience.
I often work 12-16 hours a day, and 7 days a week. I’ve stayed up until 3 AM (and will continue to do so) countless times to meet deadlines and complete projects.
And while it’s a lot of work, I do it because I love it. It’s hard work–but it’s work I’m passionate about.
3. Invest in Your Business
One of the most important actions you can take to grow your business is to invest in it.
That can be anything from investing in books, classes, supplies or employees. You must invest in yourself and your business.
As I was starting to see more growth in SOPHIYA, I was finding it more and more challenging to manage both my businesses. When I focused my time on SOPHIYA, I had no time or energy to put into LWJ, and vice-versa.
I knew I had to believe in my business (and myself) that I would be able to continue to grow it–and if I was going to do it successfully, I needed to hire someone to help me.
Hiring an employee can be daunting. It is no doubt an enormous amount of work (on top of the workload you already have!) to hire and train someone–and not to mention a big expense to your business. And if you’re like me, it can be hard letting someone take over responsibilities you can do yourself.
But as the old proverb goes “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together“.
And it is absolutely true. I would not be able to accomplish everything I have/am able to accomplish without someone helping me.
Also on the note of investing in your business, that also means you must look long-term. Since starting SOPHIYA, I’ve poured almost all profits back into the business [and set aside a percentage for taxes].
Growth also means bigger–and more– expenses. You have to be willing to think long term and take risks. Just be wise about what risks you are able to afford and consult with a mentor when you need to [my Dad had run his own business for over 30+ years and I will always go to him for advice :)].
4. Good Time Management is Key
Running and managing your own business is hectic. No day is going to be the same, and you will be pulled in so many different directions it can sometimes be difficult to figure out how to spend your time. Good time management is essential to the success of your business.
The Eisenhower Matrix is a very helpful tool to help recognize and prioritize your tasks for the highest level productivity (after coffee of course):
5. Success Is Ever-Evolving
In life, we are taught to attain “success”. But what is success exactly?
Success can have an entirely different meaning to every person. And as I’ve learned, success is an ever-evolving journey. Success at one point in time may look completely different at another point in time.
Had you asked me I was little what I considered success, I would have said making a million dollars (though I’m still not against that haha). In college (and after learning what realistic salaries were) I would have said making six figures and working as top-level executive at a big corporation.
Now my idea of success is less metric driven and more about what makes me happy: running my own business I’m passionate about, being able to create my own schedule, and most importantly–being able to spend all day with my dog 🙂
6. Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Journey
There was once a time you only dreamed of being where you are today. Don’t forget to recognize how far you’ve come, appreciate the little things and be grateful for the moment.
“Somewhere on your journey, don’t forget to turn around and enjoy the view”-Unknown