Now What?

So you've decided to start your own business. You have this great idea. You don't see a future in your current position. And you are willing to take that risk and invest in yourself. Now what?

I have been entrepreneurial since I had my first website, A Page Just for Kate. I saw Titanic in the theaters during high school three times because I loved Kate Winslet, who played Rose, opposite of childhood crush, Leonardo DiCaprio. I even went to the movies for the first time by myself in Berkeley to see her next film, Hideous Kinky. To build my website, I shopped eBay (Ophelia16 - over 500 positive remarks) for international magazines for rare photos and articles we don't have in the States. I would buy a magazine, tear out the pages that I needed and asked my father to scan them so I can post it on my webpage. But what about the rest of the magazine? There had to be other people in this world that would love to have the other articles and photos I am not interested in. And how about I add in other articles and clippings so it increases its value? So I began collecting and selling clipping sets on other celebrities on eBay. I would go to nail salons and go 'dumpster diving' in the mail room of my advertising agency, and grab magazines for free. Phil, our mail guy, would always set them aside for me. I made quite a bit of money. I didn't have any employees, I used recycled envelopes from my office, the buyer would pay the postage and it just took time. The most I ever got was $100 for a set of Vin Diesel clippings. That only fueled me to keep going.

I also supported my sister in signing up with Pre-Paid Legal, started planning events and bartending at private parties, paid way too much to start my business with Wellness International Network, signed up as a Stella & Dot Stylist, am an operating partner and invested in my restaurant, Dirty Water, am an aspiring successful blogger and just recently signed up as an Ever Skincare Specialist. Of this list, five are currently active because they continue to benefit me. See now why this blog is called One Busy Bee? With my announcement of me joining Ever Skincare on Facebook to my friends and family, my sister's comment, Melyssa Green, Co-Owner of On-Point Machining, was that I was making her tired. I'll sleep when I'm dead. I see an opportunity, and I'm going to take it.

After I started each one of these adventures, I wrote down my goals, I created a plan and I mentally prepared myself that this is not going to be an easy road.

Write Down Your Goals
When you sign that AT&T contract for the hot new iPhone upgrade, you're saying you understand the terms and will be paying X amount per month. You also know the consequences when you do not fulfill your obligations. Writing down your goals is like a contract with yourself. You understand the terms, you know what you have to deliver and that there are consequences or setbacks when you don't. Declaring your goals, writing them down, posting them in a place where you can see them everyday and sharing these goals with friends, family, investors or even strangers that don't believe in you now will hold you accountable and help motivate you to keep moving forward. 

I was browsing inspirational quotes on Pinterest and came across one that said, "Don't just talk about, BE about it." When I put my mind to something, I do all that I can to make it happen. When I tell my cousin, "Sure, I'll jump out of a plane with you!" I may have been nervous the entire flight up with knees uncontrollably bouncing but I suited up and got on that plane, didn't I? I didn't chicken out.

I also had a blog post after I had lunch with some girlfriends. I got there early and had some time to chat with my friend, Layla. We are new friends and I don't see her as often but I was telling her about DW. For not knowing me extremely well, it was really nice to hear her say that she recognizes that when I say I'm going to do something, I do it.

Write down your daily, weekly, monthly, annual and long-term goals. As a Stella & Dot Stylist, you have great mentors, have access to recorded phone calls, training videos and Jessica Herrin, the Founder and CEO, is inspirational and incredibly approachable. You make your money and build your customer base by booking trunk shows. All you have to do is ask. In training videos, they tell you to reward yourself after you receive an X amount of 'no's.' Being rejected is never a good feeling but the more 'no's' you receive, your next yes is a lot closer. And you can reward yourself with a slice of cake, or another pair of Stella & Dot earrings or going to see Kate Winslet's latest film. When your goals are easily attainable, they're not challenging you and your goals should be revisited.

Have a Plan
...says the Event Planner. You have your goals written down, you've told everyone and their mother about them. When they ask how business is doing and if you did that thing you mentioned was in the works the last time they saw you, you can say how sweet them for remembering and say yes, business is amazing and we now actually have two of those things. But how did you get there? For each of your goals, you have to have a plan of action, a plan b and when to go back to revising the goal as now your plan does not apply.

When you set up a plan, goals within goals are created. You need X, Y and Z done in that order and they each have their own deadline. But don't forget, in order for X to happen, A, B and C have to happen first. I love flowcharts and timelines. They visually help you stay on track, you can add notes to why certain tasks take a certain amount of time, you can color code items to assign responsibilities and you can understand that not completing one task in the timeline that was provided alters the rest of the timeline. You are your own project manager.

As an Independent Event Planner & Coordinator, I think my brides appreciated my bluntness in my expectations. I have been planning events for 17 years and it is in everyone's best interest to honor my deadline requests. Because in reality, last minute changes are going to come up that is beyond my control. I PLAN on these  unknown occurrences and special circumstances and allow myself time to find out what is exactly needed and why, communicate the options and limitations and costs associated, ask for final decisions and execute.

Mentally Prepare Yourself for the Road Ahead
Understand that this new business venue is your choice. You have no one else to blame but yourself. You will be working long hours. You will be learning as you go. You will not be able to make everyone happy. You will get an earful of doubtful comments. You will make mistakes. 

However, you are taking the risk that most people don't have the guts to take.  You are your own boss. You don't answer to anybody! You have to believe in yourself first and foremost. If people see lack of confidence or doubt in yourself and your business, the people that did believe in you may second guess their decision, the quality or standards of your product or service will begin to lack and your customers will spend their money and time elsewhere.

They say businesses fail within their first year. It is inevitable you will make mistakes. Maybe you didn't send an email in a timely manner, perhaps you accidentally overcharged a customer or you hired a friend that isn't meeting expectations. Failures are opportunities to learn. Some business owners dwell over big and small mistakes. Understand and accept that it has happened, learn from it, execute any changes needed to ensure the mistake does not reoccur and move on.

When I make a mistake, it makes me feel absolutely terrible. I have learned to never fudge the truth or hide something I may have overlooked for whatever reason. Hopefully I can recognize my error before my customer or client does. It is always better to immediately declare an 'uh oh' and present a solution for it before they confront you about it. I look for the same value in my staff and business partners. 

Well, new entrepreneurs, go forth, shout your goals from the rooftops, develop your plan and prepare yourself for a challenging but rewarding adventure ahead that was created by you!

I would be interested in your journey as an entrepreneur. Please comment below with your name, business, URL and a little blurb about it. I look forward to your comments. 

- Bernadette
Photo by Dylan Douglas Photography
Communicate with other entrepreneurs on Brazzlebox.
See Dirty Water's page HERE.

This is #4 of 30 daily blog posts as recommended by a fellow blogger. Color U Bold says her views have tripled over a month due to posting everyday as step 1.  I am attempting to create more content. Thanks for following this journey.


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