[Guest Post] 5 Important Tips for Starting Your Own Business

Starting a business is no small task. In this week’s guest post, Beth-Ann Wilson shares 5 tips you should consider before diving into the entrepreneur lifestyle.

Do What You Love & Never Work a Day in Your Life

There is a saying that if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. Well, that sure sounds great, but the hard truth is that when you run your own business, even if you absolutely adore what you are doing, even if it’s a “side-hustle”, you will be working a lot and often at odd hours. The way that I have been able to make that happen in my life and in my business is by reframing and redefining what I think of as “work” by making it as fun and creative as possible. Don’t forget to get outside, make time for friends, make time for self care, and don’t feel guilty for having a job that you enjoy and is fun!

If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail

Another old adage that folks are fond of is “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I certainly can appreciate this sentiment, but I also want to point out that over-planning can be just as detrimental. To borrow another cliche, sometimes it is best to “strike when the iron is hot.” Trust your instinct and pull the trigger! Night Owl Gallery happened a little bit by accident and pretty abruptly. Almost 5 years later, I am glad that I didn’t overthink it and I continue to fly by the seat of my pants, just with a little more experience under my belt!

Haters Gonna Hate

Be prepared for jealousy and indifference. Most of your friends and family will be happy for you and supportive of your endeavor! However, there will be some Negative Nancies that will try to diminish your work and your accomplishments. There will be people that you love and support that do not return the favor. Do not let them get to you!

Expectation vs. Reality

Running your own business may not turn out to be as glamorous as you think it will be, or at least not all the time. You may daydream about drinking champagne in a hot tub while contemplating if you should get a Lambo in a color that matches your eyes… or maybe red? Or black because black goes with EVERYTHING. I’m sure that might be some entrepreneurs’ reality, but for most of us we are going to be juggling some pretty unsexy things. Things like, lack of sleep, FOMO when you have to work, shopping for insurance, paying taxes, finding the best rates for raw materials, trying to stay on top of social media posts. All that while continuing to do the things that made us want to start our own business to begin with. Stay focused, be consistent, and remember to have fun!

Lean on Me

You’re going to need help and that’s OK!  We all start out knowing that we will need customers to support us, but what about the other people in our lives that keep our business running smoothly?  Time and energy spent networking will always be time and energy well spent.  It is good practice for small business owners to support other small business owners.  You are going to need to find the best vendors, an insurance agent, a CPA, a chamber of commerce or business association liaison, employees, contractors, etc.  Find a mentor if you can.  The best referrals are by word-of-mouth.  Get to know these people.  Be friendly, ask questions, ask for help, offer your help and expertise in return.  I guarantee that if you do these things, these people will end up being your best assets.  They will call on you if the need arises and in turn will refer more customers to you.  It is a win-win.  When it comes down to it, we need to be there for each other now more than ever.

Beth-Ann Wilson

Beth-Ann Wilson

Beth-Ann Wilson is a Baltimore-based painter, gallerist, and community activist. Beth-Ann opened Night Owl Gallery in Highlandtown in the fall of 2016 and hasn’t looked back.

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