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Looking back at my journey I didn't realize how far I've come as a person and an entrepreneur when it comes to building a business.
Over the years I had to make a lot of mindset shifts that a successful entrepreneur would make that were necessary to be able to keep moving forward in my business and to reach the goals that I wanted to hit.
Today I will be sharing some mindset shifts that I had to make in order to be where I am today and grow a business that I am proud of.
Let's dive in!
1. Have a strong 'why' your 'why' is what will keep you going during the rough times
The first thing I really needed to focus on in my business was understanding why I wanted to have my own business. This isn't necessarily a mindset shift but I think it's the foundation you need to keep driving forward.
Your why is simply the reason why you started your business.
Of course one of the main reasons is that we want to make money on our own terms but it also probably has to do with the lifestyle. Here's a little snippet of my why.
I am currently a stay-at-home mom as well as an entrepreneur and before my son was born I knew that I wanted to be able to spend time with him while he was still young and the only way that I could see myself doing that was to work from home. I want able to provide for my family but still have time to live life on my own terms which I can't do If I'm working for someone else.
When business is slow, especially in the beginning stages, it's going to take a while to be able to land consistent clients or sell your products consistently and my why is what drives me forward because at the end of the day, I don't have any other income. I NEED this to work so no matter what my business throws at me I am willing to take emotion out of it and do what I need to do to move forward and scale.
2. Take Emotion of Our Your Business
When I first started my business I felt really embarrassed by it. I didn't feel like it was a real business and I wasn't sure if I was good enough to be charging these prices. I also struggled with sending people invoices that were over a couple of hundred dollars because I wanted them to feel like the experience was worth their money. Here I am today where I know my value, I know what I bring to table and I just take emotion completely out of my business because business is business. What I mean when I say to take the emotion out of your business is to get rid of your feelings when it comes to your pricing. Understand your value, understand what you bring to the table, and completely take the emotion out of pricing. When you go to send invoices just press send don't dwell over it, don't think about it just do it. I have an Etsy shop and Etsy does a great job of asking for reviews after a product is sold and when you get your first low one-star or two-star rating ouch that hurts. But after a while, you just have to understand that these people either ran into a problem with your product or there was a mis understanding of quality or expectations.
The perfect way to resolve the issue is to look at it from the customers' point of view, don't argue with them just apologize and resolve the issue with a refund or in my case, I sell digital Canva Templates so I would go in and fix the issue and sometimes send them a free matching save the date template.
The larger you become bad reviews are just going to be a part of the business even if you have the best store and the best customer service because you're not going to be for everyone. As long as you are willing to understand your customers and respond to conflict without adding emotion to it and putting the blame on your customer you can move past the negativity.
It will hurt at first but once you keep your head up high you will get better at separating your emotions from your business.
3. Just Because You Built it Does Not Mean People Will Come. You Need to be Vulnerable Enough to Put Yourself Out There and Market Your Business.
Two years ago in September 2021, I dived into my business full-time and quit my 9 to 5 job being a designer at a print shop.
I've been running my business as a side hustle alongside my 9-to-5 job for years and it wasn't until the end of 2022 when I looked at my income and realized wow something needs to change because what I'm doing is not making me enough money to get us by.
That was a turning point for me because I realized okay, I actually need to start marketing myself and I can't just rely on Word of mouth. 2023 rolled around and I started to speak on a couple of panels, attended more networking event, ran a couple of live web design webshops and wow. In July 2023, I earned an amount equal to my total earnings for the entire year of 2022.
Notice that marketing isn't just about running ads, its simply putting yourself out there and shouting from the roof tops that you have a business and everyone should know about it.
Marketing doesn't have to be paid marketing theres a lot of free ways you can start with to put the word out there. Start posting on social media once a week, share a little bit of your work but then also share value with your audience as well.
As a graphic designer, I like to share graphic design tips on how to make things look better because I know a lot of businesses make their own graphics so I try to speak directly to them and be as helpful as I can.
If you don't have something consistently bringing you new leads then you're not going to be able to land consistent clients or consistent customers. Marketing is a tool to constantly put your business at the top of your ideal clients or customers minds so that when they finally need your services or products they already know you and have trust in you.
It is going to take a while to build the confidence to put yourself out there so start small by posting a picture of your face on Instagram so your audience can get to know the person behind the business. You don't need to dive into paid ads right away. Get to know your customers more and gain confidence through free marketing. This can be Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Email just get out there and talk about your business, what you do, who you are, how you can help people etc.
4. You Do Have Time, You Just Need to Be Organized and Add it to Your Calendar If I learned anything from having a two-year-old toddler it's that with routine and an organized schedule you can hit your goals. I only have about 3 hours each day to actually work on my business and when I have to work in my business with client work I have even less time to work on my business goals. What helps check things off my list and helps me to reach my goals is by having a physical planner and mapping out my to-do list daily. I also have a Google Sheet with the time in half hour increments on the left-hand side running vertically and days of the week on top running horizontally. I use this sheet to time block what times I don't work, and the times I'm working in my business. Being organized like this and taking an extra 15-20 minutes a day to map everything out and create a game plan really does make a difference in productivity. Seeing how much time I have blocked out for a certain project lets me focus in that allocated amount of time and it's what helps hit my goals. We all have busy lives and by being organized you are able to have more time for yourself and be more productive. If you find yourself scrolling on Instagram for 30 minutes to an hour that time could've been put to good use, you just need to be more mindful of your time and have your end goal in mind. If you have a big project that you wanna get done for your business let's say you wanna make an online course you totally have time for that. You just need to put it in your calendar and know that maybe for two or three months you're working on the weekends so you can hit your goal and it's just for a season it's not going to be for the rest of your life it's just a season.
5. If You Want to Scale and Grow You Need to Invest in Your Business. Money is a Renewable Resource. When you're just starting out it's really hard to wrap your head around investing in your business whether that's through a website, logo, or employees because you're not making a lot of money at the start of your business.
We hold on tight to that emotional connection that we have with money and we feel like as soon as we hand the money over it's never coming back but that is so not true. Of course, if you're handling your money in a way that's impulsive and doesn't help you reach your goals then sure you can lose your money that way. Im not saying that you should throw your money at everything and anything but you need to be comfortable with spending money in the right areas at the right time of your business. After you work 5+ clients or have had success selling some of your products it would be smart to invest in things like a website for example. A website is a long-term investment that's going to continue to make you money in the future. A website is the digital storefront for your business it's a place where people can learn about you, see your starting rates, know what kind of value you bring to the table and even be a landing page for Google to send customers your way. If you need a cheap way to build a website check out my website templates at https://www.zsquaredstudio.com/webtemplates. It's a great way to have a strategic website for a couple hundred dollars. If you're just starting out there's no need to invest thousands of dollars on a website or branding or hiring 10+ employees because you're not quite sure where you are in your business yet. You need to work with some clients or sell to customers and get their feedback so you can get a feel for how it is to work in your business. That way when you do want to create a website later on you know the questions your clients might frequently ask or what they are struggling with and after working in your business for 3+ months hopefully you have refined your process a little bit so that when you want to bring in employees or even a virtual assistant you understand your own processes and how the back end of your business works.
When you go to invest make sure it's at the right time in your business and what you're investing into is helping you hit your long-term goals and will help you scale and make more money in the long run. Once you're more established and you've 2+ years in your business definitely think about investing not as spending money but as investing in your business so you can make more money or have more time. Whether it's hiring employees, a virtual assistant, or even subscribing to an app or program that's going to help automate your process it's going to help you scale and become more successful. Remember that everything starts small Amazon started as a bookstore in a garage and then as they scaled and grew they started to bring in people on the team that would help the success of the business and now they are one of the largest businesses in the world. There is no way that Amazon would be as successful as it is now if it didn't invest in the business. 6. Look at Everything With an Abundance Mindset
lt's super common to think that since there are so many other people doing the same exact business as you there's no room for you or there's not enough money to go around but the truth is we all have our own ways of viewing the world and doing things. You need to know that we all bring something different to the table, that we have different teaching styles, approaches, and values that there is room for everyone, and that there is enough money to go around. If you're not looking at things with an abundant mindset it's really going to drag you down and cut into your drive and passion. Having that drive and passion for your business is going to keep you going and help you scale.
7. Keep Your Blinders On, Avoid Scrolling On Instagram To See What You're Competitors Are Doing.
I love and hate social media. I love how we can quickly connect and network over the Internet but I hate the comparison game when it comes to social media.
I actually took a two-year break from social media because seeing what other businesses were doing made me feel bad about my business because I wasn't doing all that stuff that they were doing and it really brought me down.
If you find yourself comparing your business to a similar business or if you scroll on Instagram and you start to feel terrible about your business you need to stop scrolling on social media. Put your blinders on and worry about your business and your growth because what everyone else is doing might not even work for your business. Those strategies might work well for them but you need to find what works well for you.
When reels first came out people were dancing on video and pointing at words. If you don't want to dance on video because it's not you then don't it. Again put your blinders on and do your own thing. Maybe that's a reel of you working in front of a computer instead because that feels better for you. Once you start focusing on your own path then you can really get rid of that feeling of comparing yourself to everyone else
Recap I hope these mind shifts help you as they did me lets do a recap:
Have a strong 'why' your 'why' is what will keep you going during the rough times
Take Emotion of Our Your Business
Just Because You Built it Does Not Mean People Will Come. You Need to be Vulnerable Enough to Put Yourself Out There and Market Your Business.
You Do Have Time, You Just Need to Be Organized and Add it to Your Calendar
If You Want to Scale and Grow You Need to Invest in Your Business. Money is a Renewable Resource.
Look at Everything With an Abundance Mindset
Keep Your Blinders On, Avoid Scrolling On Instagram To See What You're Competitors Are Doing.
The mindset in business is so important. I truly believe it's what sets a thriving business apart from a failed one. Running your own business is a lot of hard work and if you dive in with a healthy mindset knowing that sometimes you fail but it's not a failure it's a learning experience you're going to do great things. Thanks for listening thats all I have for you today, happy designing! Z Squared Studio is a Brand and Web Design Studio based in Juneau, Alaska. Check out www.zsquaredstudio.com for custom brand design, logo design, or web design.