The 5 Steps to Being Successful at Small Business Ownership

by Jenny Ford


PSYCH! (Okay, Okay, I know it's not the 90's anymore, I'm 30- cut me some slack.)

There is no recipe or “one size fits all” process to being a successful business owner.  But, let me begin by saying, I’m nothing special. I don’t presume to be an expert at small business ownership based solely on my 3 years or so of business management and ownership.

I have, however spent countless numbers of hours reflecting upon my life and the steps I’ve taken thus far into my entrepreneurial journey. Below are a few of my reflections. (Please note that all of my reflections are subject to change, as I grow older and wiser. Fingers crossed.)

1.     A small business owner must possess a great deal of self-confidence and self-awareness.

As your own boss, you often will need to self-assess and grow without the help of others pointing out your strengths and flaws. No one will care about your “baby” the way you do. When you aren’t working for someone else, the duty of progress reports and evaluations has to be your own. And that takes a willingness to be open to accept, understand, and learn from your own mistakes.  And while you are being hard on yourself, you also have to remain one hundred percent confident in your vision and your abilities. It is a hard balance, but completely doable, when you have picked and created the right business. I believe if you aren’t able to balance those two things, you may not be in the right business, or business ownership may not be for you.

2.     A small business owner shouldn’t believe in “luck” or “talent” as much as they believe in “practice”, “hard work”, and “dedication.”

“Luck” and “talent” may seem to fall from the clear blue sky. And, maybe, sometimes they do. But most of us normal people cannot rely or fall back on these gifts. The truth of the matter is that most people who get called “lucky” and “talented” did not fall out of their mother’s womb that way. Countless numbers of hours spent practicing a certain skill or interest, exhausting levels of dedication, and a stubborn determination to create the things one wants to create are typically what comes before those moments one person says to another, “oh wow! You are so talented!”  In the great words of Britney Spears, “If you want a ___________, you better work, bitch.”

3.     A small business owner doesn’t make excuses; he or she makes a way.

One of my greatest pet peeves in the world is when someone loves to talk about the things they want, but all the reasons they can’t have them. It’s so weak, it’s so lame. We are all more privileged than someone else, and less privileged than someone else. Almost every person I know has been awarded amazing and incredible opportunities and support in one way or another. If you want something badly enough, you will work to get it. If you aren’t there yet, maybe you haven’t found the thing that will drive you to work that hard yet. But if you don’t try, you’ll never find it. You’ve gotta fight for it.

A small example of what I’m trying to say can be illustrated with a story about one of my closest and dearest friends, whom I love and respect so much. This girl loved taking photos. And not just silly photos, but interesting and well-styled photos. Good photos. She may not have viewed it as a “practice”, but in fact, it was. She did it every day. She didn’t have a $40,000 camera package, but she did have an iphone. And you know what happened? Those good photos started becoming really good photos. Which started turning into amazing photos. Which led her to start expanding her tools and knowledge. I can’t wait for the (very soon) day when this girls “talent” buys her that $40,000 camera package.

I bring up this story because this person used what she had to become great. But a lot of people wouldn’t do that. Many people would say, “whoa is me, all I have is this dumb iphone and I’ll never be good like that person who was “lucky” enough to afford an expensive camera package.“

Make a way, not an excuse.

4.     Smart small business owners covet their time, and surround themselves with people who keep them inspired and motivated.

On the heels of that last story, I think it’s so smart to note that becoming really good at something takes a fair level of inspiration and motivation. If you surround yourself with self-motivated, driven, and passionate people, it will add fuel to your fire. Spend time with people who your really, truly, respect.  People who are a strong and driven as you are. They will help you turn into the person you are becoming. If you walk away from a relationship feeling positive and motivated, it’s a good sign that’s a good relationship, and well worth your already certainly very strained time.

5.     Good small business owners must genuinely care about, and want to help their clients.

This one may be the most important of all. If you truly desire to help your clients, your work will remain true and sincere. Whether your goal is to provide a great service or product, you have to really care about what you are doing and whom you are doing it for. Yes, as a business owner, you want and need to make a living off what you do. Yes, sometimes you will end up with a difficult client. But what you do without love is hollow. Try to find ways to renew your love and passion for your craft or service daily. Because once it is gone, it’s time to move on.

In Conclusion, 




#GIRLBOSS (again)

by Jenny Ford


One more nugget of wisdom from Sophia Amoruso, Founder of Nasty Gal and author of #girlboss.

Instead of spending time trolling the forums and obsessing about what other sellers were doing, I focused on making my store as unique as possible.

Wonderful advice for any business owner.


#GIRLBOSS

by Jenny Ford


I tried the obvious route of hourly jobs and community college, and it just never worked out for me. I’d been told for so long that the path to success was paved with a series of boxes you check off, starting with getting a degree and getting a job, and as I kept truing and failing at these, it sometimes seemed I was destined for a life in the loser lane. But I always suspected that I was destined for, and that I was capable of, something bigger. That something turned out to be Nasty Gal, but you know what? I didn’t find Nasty Gal. I created it.
— Sophia Amorusa, #girlboss

Go pick yourself up a copy. 


Just a share...

by Jenny Ford in , ,


Standing at the precipice of beginning a new business can be quite daunting. Should you dip your toes in the water to see if it's warm, or should you jump right in and learn as you go? 

There really isn't a "right" answer. I think us entrepreneurs must prepare to the best of our abilities while learning trust our experience and strengths to get us through uncharted territories. 

Lucky for those of us living in this day and age, we have such amazing resources and materials at our fingertips constantly, aiding in our decision making and informing those leaps of faith, and dips of toes. As much as I love to create my own content, I just had to share this fabulous article by Kat Williams of Rock n Roll Bride. She shares curated advice from wedding professionals: what they wish they would've known before they started their businesses. Some say they are so happy they grew slowly, and some say they are so fortunate that they hit the ground running. 

I think the most wonderful thing that I could take away from all of the comments of said professionals, is that you just have to do it. Do what you love, and allow yourself to succeed at some ideas and fail at others. Life is a learning process, and experience is the key. You can't be afraid of being wrong sometimes. All of these individuals moved forward. 

So, I say to you, others in my place, whether you leap or dip, just move forward and trust yourself. The only way to walk to the market is to keep taking steps.

CLICK HERE TO LINK TO ARTICLE

Until next time, 


Working with Money

by Jenny Ford in , ,


As I've stated before, sometimes those of us with a creative inclination tend to shy away from the stiff, stale, world of business endeavors, finances, spreadsheets, Excel, and the like. Fortunately, my fiance, is my opposite in many ways. He is a scorpio, I am a Taurus, I went to school for Production Design , he went to school for Producing. He is creative though, but mostly he is creative with money. I however, treat money with holy reverence. I know it can make or break me, and so mostly I just make it the sacrifices that I know will keep it appeased, so that it doesn't smite me. Basically, I just want to have enough of it to not have to think about it. 

This brings me to the topic of my post today. Last night Nick came home with 3 copies of the book "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" to give away to people and explained to me that about 90% of his thought process on money is laid bare in said book. Now, normally, the mere sight of a book like this would make me gag. But, in truth, I often envy Nick's crazy ability to seemingly create money from air. So, I swallowed my pride, got over myself, and decided to read.

 The clearest point I came away with, is that the way I think about money needs to change.  And, in a close second, I realized that financial education is important. 

 
"Most people went to school to learn how to make money, and never learned how to make money work for them."

I, like many hardworking Americans, have been of a mindset my whole life that one must work really hard to deserve to the money they make. The author doesn't advise against working hard to make money, he just advises that once you make money, instead of accumulating depreciating objects, or even saving, that you put that money to work for you. That same money can essentially function as "employees" that bring you income, even when you are not phsically "on the job sight."                                     

So instead one should accumulate assets. Assets are anything that can make you money while you sleep.

1. Businesses that do not require your presence 2. Stocks 3. Bonds 4. Incoming Generating Real-Estate 5. Notes 6. Royalities from Intellectual Property such as music, scripts, and patents. 7. Anything that appriaciates in value.

Whatever the asset, he suggests you choose things you love, because then you will take care of it.

So, why am I writing about this on a blog that clearly is representing a business that requires a lot of hands on, always present, needs ME to operate, time? Managing your money wisely is one of the smartest and easiest ways to keep your business- the one that you want to spend day in and out doing- afloat.

Starting off in any small business endeavor requires A LOT of time and money. Sometimes it is hard to come across both of those things in the beginning. But, if you are smart, and make your money work for you, instead of the other way around, you can really begin to build something great with less stress. 

Anyway, read this book ( even though it looks a corny as hell.)

Until next time,


BEING AN ARTIST AND A BUSINESS OWNER: DISCIPLINED LESSON LEARNING

by Jenny Ford


As an artist/designer, the idea of taking on my own business seemed both incredibly rewarding and humbling. It has been a process of realizing, accepting, and confronting the reality that I am ignorant. 

I am not ignorant when it comes to the business i am interested in, In fact I am well trained and full of confidence when it comes to design, creativity, managing production, handling production budgets, working with personalities, etc. I am ignorant about business.  

So, for all of my other creatives out there, I am choosing to create a business side to my blog. I have a creative side, and I am developing a business side.  

On this side of the blog, I simply wish to share with those individuals who are in any point of their "how to make my art a business" fight- and say, I am with you, and this is what I'm disciplining myself to learn, in a constant fight against my own ignorance.  

Cheers to more and more posts! 

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