5 lessons from my first month as an entrepreneur

When starting my business I read a trillion business books, practical advise from every aspect and ticked slowly but surely every box that I had to in order to get my business up and running. I didn't read a single book about how to mentally prepare for entrepreneurship. Turns out you need more than a giant latte every morning.

Riikka Soederlund Entrepreneur Tips

Don't fear Failure

Somewhere in the midst of finally getting my store open, organizing, logistics, starting a social media presence, handling my Google ads and doing all of this as a side hustle next to my day job I started to doubt myself. I didn't even realize it at first. There were days when I simply gave myself permission to take the day off. Days when I simply pushed decision making forward and finally days when I just didn't focus on my business at all. When my make up bags didn't fly off the virtual shelf, it was easy to think it was simply because nobody wanted them. My idea wasn't as great as I thought it was. It took some real convincing from my friends and family to make me understand that I hadn't really even started trying yet. That the initial setup was just that, initial. The real work hadn't even begun. Fear of failure was preventing me to take the necessary steps to build success. Not that I still would know what those steps are. But standing still certainly won't get me there. So don't just make a game plan to get your business opened. Make a game plan how to run it from day one.

Dare to Change things

My original business assumption was that very specific Google ads would bring me customers who would buy my product instantly. After all, there aren't other premium makeup bags with compartments out there so I knew I was filling a need. But not all those who search for it will be interested in my bag. Maybe they are really searching for something else. I hadn't really planned for this eventuality - I was missing a plan B for driving traffic. Intuitively I knew that Instagram is the right platform to find beauty enthusiasts who are the natural target audience for my bag. Now it has become my main channel of traffic to the store. But getting a high quality content plan up and running certainly isn't easy. Again, biggest obstacle has been my own unwillingness to come out of my comfort zone of creating text ads for search and start a much more visual storytelling. My point is this: no matte how much research you've done, there are still surprises. You learn by doing.

Take your time

Side hustle or not, running a business takes time. And not just in the form of a two hour slot a few nights a week in your calendar. But really time to think, innovate, dream, plan and maybe most importantly take care of yourself. I didn't realize that the most important asset of my business is, well, me. If I'm not 100% then my business doesn't run 100%. After all, I don't employ anyone at this point, it's just me running the show. So you better take care of yourself. I suggest scheduling a day or two every other week to really give yourself time to think of your business. Attend a seminar. Sit down with your circle to discuss ideas. Re-vamp your social media. Create a game plan for the next month. Yes, you can multitask but dedicating time will help you prioritize.

Ask for help

This is so important. I'm a very independent person, I hate asking anyone for anything. So it has been truly humbling to understand how valuable help is. Not just actual tasks that I really need help in performing like accounting or logistics but also help in the form of people who are willing to listen to me, give feedback, criticize, evaluate, suggest improvements and weigh options with me. Every single conversation I have had about my business has given me something, pushed me forward and given me insight that has helped make the brand, the product and the business better. So get an advisor or two and ask them to help regularly. Sit down monthly and take an hour or two and just talk business. This will force you to prep and plan as well.

Belive in yourself

This actually summarizes my four previous insights. But to really give you an idea of how tangible the mindset is to your success I wanted to share how I struggled and tried to solve this. Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster. There have been days when I feel like hiding under my covers and never come out. I've found help in motivational meditation that has helped me build my confidence back. This in turn has helped me to reach out and say I can't do this alone and I've gotten incredible support not just from my friends but also online communities (there are millions, just find the entrepreneurial group you feel is for you and join!). The thing I struggle most with still is time management. I haven't really cracked how I can find a balance between my business and everything else. But acknowledging that it's something I still need to do, is a good first step so I'm not worried.