I received a question on Instagram from one of my girls this past week. She asked, “Do you have any advice for a 20-something who wants to start a business?”
There were SO many pieces of advice I wanted to pass on. However, I didn’t want to bombard the poor soul with alllll the hard lessons I’ve learned over the years.
So, I honed in on a few that I felt were most important. I’ve included these below, just in case, you know, you find yourself thinking about starting your own thing 😉
- Start Small and Live by the 1-1-1 Rule. Instead of trying to serve everyone, grow every social media platform, and do all the things, start by building and perfecting 1 product, 1 platform (or audience), and one marketing process at a time. This is the #1 thing I’d go back and tell myself when I was first getting started.
- Decide if you want to be a Walmart or a Target. I heard this at the Business Boutique conference last fall and I loved the comparison. Here’s what I mean: Walmart is known for their low prices. Target is known for quality and a beautiful shopping experience. In other words, don’t sell yourself short and you don’t need to make your “angle” that you have the lowest or cheapest prices. Don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth. This doesn’t mean you have to be greedy or that you shouldn’t bless people with discounts now and then but please hear this: you are valuable even if you feel like an imposter. I’ve heard business gurus say something along the line of, “either make it expensive or free, but don’t make it cheap.” Good, right? When you make something cheap, you communicate that you believe it’s cheap. And you need a ton of buyers to make it worth while. When you make something a bit more expensive, you can sell less volume and add more value. It’s not slimy. It’s savvy. Don’t be afraid to charge, sis. (Proverbs 31:18)
- Get legal. Even if you have a caused based business, such as a shop that donates a portion of proceeds to a charity or ministry, I’d highly recommend starting as simply as possible. In other words, you don’t have to go through the insane headache of being a non-profit to be generous and even function like a non-profit (at least when it’s just you and you’re just getting started). Instead, I’d recommend filing as an LLC, which essentially limits your liability and protects you from being sued of all your personal belongings if you ever had an issue or were accused of something. It limits your losses to what is in the business but still allows you file taxes as an individual without the corporate hassle / double taxation 🙂
- BONUS TIP: TRACK YOUR RECEIPTS AND PUT MONEY AWAY FOR TAXES FROM THE BEGINNING. Seriously. This was a HUGE mistake I made my first year when I started my Etsy store. I hadn’t made a whole lot of money, and I was just so excited about what I was doing, that I didn’t even THINK about financial management or taxes…until Uncle Sam came knocking. I ended up owing a couple thousand dollars (which I did NOT have saved up) and my dad had to cover me until I could pay him back! I may not have owed that had I actually tracked and saved my receipts so I could legally report all the expenses I incurred in that first year of business, too. So, make sure you track your expenses (use an app like Receipt Bank to keep it simple and avoid holding on to stacks of paper receipts).
These are just a handful of tips but I believe they are some of the key things every aspiring or new female entrepreneur needs to know when she’s just getting started.
Cheering for you sister!