Today I am sharing some of the big business mistakes I made when I launched my first business and how to avoid making those same mistakes. I hope that you can use these tips and strategies to help with starting a new business, or to help you grow and scale your existing business.
Mistake 1: Trying to Figure Out Everything on My Own
I honestly thought that I could just learn at my own pace as I went along, but this turned out to be exhausting! I strongly recommend finding a mentor in the same industry or someone with a business model you admire. Basically someone who is doing what you’re doing that you can turn to for support. Reach out to this person and see if they are willing to mentor you and this applies for everyone, even if you already have a business, or you are thinking of starting a business.
I think this is so crucial because not only does it give you a head start, but you will have someone that you can turn to for advice and feedback. This mentor can help you along the way, point you in the right direction, and deter you from going down the wrong path. Let’s be real – there are so many paths in entrepreneurship, and so many people (especially mamas) who are trying to do it either alone, for cheap, or for free. Consider how a mentor could be a great investment to your business.
Mistake # 2: Viewing Everyone Around Me as Competition
I felt like the people that were doing photography were my competitors. I looked at them and thought to myself, “I can’t tell them my secrets, or we can’t share location ideas.” That competition mentality held me back so much in my business. It wasn’t until I joined a community of photographers that I understood this idea of community over competition. And I know that you’ve heard that before and everyone wants to feel like they embrace that.
However, it can be so hard when you see other people in your industry doing a great job and doing it better than you (from your perspective). It can feel so defeating. I remember those days, looking at other photographers’ work and just constantly comparing myself to them, and feeling that I would never be as good as them. Comparison has the power to steal your joy and diminish your victories. It can stall or prevent momentum and growth, and it will greatly influence your decisions.
These feelings of comparison and inadequacy come from the idea that we’re not enough or good enough. As soon as I started seeing myself in a different light things started to change. I started making connections with other photographers and became really good friends with them. We supported each other and we even gave business to each other when the other one was booked. It was an absolute game changer in my business, not to mention actually getting out there with other people in my industry, who were complementary to my business and really starting to utilize other people’s audiences.
I encourage you to leverage social media as a way for you to get in front of new audiences and to network with complementary businesses. It may seem daunting and awkward at first, but if you are genuine and you are coming from a humble place of wanting to connect, collaborate and support other businesses then the possibilities are endless.
Mistake # 3: Not Starting an Email List
Having an email list is absolutely vital to the success of your business. I’ve shared this before on a previous podcast episode that is all about creating and nurturing an email list (Episode 14: 5 Steps to Creating + Nurturing an Email List). I can personally attest to the fact that my photography business has benefitted from having an email list. Quite honestly, I would say that your email list is even more important than Instagram. Yes, Instagram is going to help you grow your email list, but if you’re starting a new business today, start the email list right away.
Every time you get a new client, add that client to your email list. Every time you meet someone new, let them know, “Hey, I’m growing my email list, I would love to add you to it.” Just start collecting emails and then when you are ready to start email marketing, then you can really start to tackle that.
Remember, email marketing is going straight into people’s inboxes versus going onto Instagram, where the algorithm gets to decide whether or not your stuff is going to get seen. So you have a much higher conversion rate if you’re using email marketing.
Mistake # 4: Using My Business Account as a Slush Fund
The last mistake I made was using my business account as a slush fund and not having the financial aspects of my business set up properly. This is a huge mistake that I see a lot of mompreneurs making, especially when they’re just starting out. It’s understandable because you don’t know all of the legal terms and ramifications as well as what’s expected of you. This is the guidance you would receive from a mentor, who would assist you in deciding on the next step.
It’s definitely one of those things as a creative, when we kind of feel more pulled towards the creative side of our business and not so much the finance and administrative side of our business. But it’s absolutely crucial that we know the financials and that we understand the structure of the business, so that the business can actually thrive and grow.
There are so many more mistakes that I have made as a business owner, but to recap the ones I spoke about today:
- Not investing in a mentor soon enough.
- Not embracing community over competition and allowing comparison to derail my progress.
- Not creating an email list and focusing on the wrong things.
- Not setting my business up properly and using my account like a slush fund and not knowing my financials.
I hope that you take some of this information and start to put it into action. Start to think about how you can take what you’ve learned and avoid some of these mistakes that I’ve made. I am so excited to be there alongside you and help you find peace and passion and motherhood and business.
As always mama, I am here rooting for you and you are not alone on this journey.