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6 Things I’ve Learned from One Year in Business

Starting your own business can be as a stressful idea, and for some it can be. For me, I was very hungry to get started, and happy to say it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.

Why did I start? I was at a crossroads in my life. Do I continue working a job and helping someone achieve their dreams and goals, or work toward my own goals and dreams? When looking at my goal list of owning and operating my own business and it was still unchecked, and that bothered me.

With the support of my wife, we decided I should believe in my skill-set, and take a leap of faith. The idea of operating my own online-marketing company utilizing the skills obtained from NSCC Business Marketing Designation would now become a reality.

I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the SEB (Self-Employment Benefits) Program and worked locally with NOBL (Northern Opportunities for Business Limited) to get my business off the ground, and never looked back.

What did I learn after a year in business? Many things. So, I’ve narrowed it down to 6 key points.

  1. Research - The world is a big place. Many people offer similar products and services, and having an idea about what you are going offer will help a consumer or business. Keep up-to-date on this. Many new things happen, economics are up and down, and learning new information will help you make smarter business decisions.

  2. Get Started – It’s time to put your skills to work. It is good to have some data to understand where to start, however, if you continue to wait your goal and dream is just an idea. You will learn more while in the middle of everything, how do adapt to change, make decisions, learn what will work, and what doesn’t. You can’t learn that from not trying it first, the knowledge you gain is invaluable.

  3. Prospecting can be Difficult – Remember your research? You can see that there is a need for your product or service, and that people want or need your service. Putting in the time to have meetings and try to build your clientele is crucial, but it’s not a guarantee. In my case, I’ve met with clients who were all for utilizing my online marketing services. You have the meeting, you give the dog and pony show, and you can see how excited and invested the client is. However, they don’t close. Why? For many of these businesses, online marketing and social media is still a new avenue for businesses. It’s an unknown territory because they have always done it one-way - traditional media. Print, radio and yellow pages, which is extremely expensive with no trackable data. Trying to initiate change to a new thought process takes time. This has been the big factor in gaining new clientele. The key is – Never give up, many of these clients have called me back later when they were ready.

  4. Paid Once a Month – When you are used to working for a company and getting paid every two weeks it seems safer. It feels like you have more money because it just shows up in your bank account. When you own your own business, you send your invoices, and when you receive the cheques, and pay your business expenses, you get your portion to pay your own bills, groceries, gas and hopefully a little left to put away.

  5. You are the Decision Maker – When you have worked for someone your whole life, you have to ask to do things, have meetings to get approval. As a manager of a store, you have company policies and a head office to turn to for advice. When you work for yourself, you are the jack-of-all-trades. You are the CEO, Purchaser, Marketer, Sales and Customer Service Representatives, HR Department and the Bottle Washer. When you are making decisions for your business, you have to understand if you make a decision, whether it’s good or bad, it is yours to make.

  6. Your Mother will always be your Biggest Fan – My Mother is a huge supporter. She will like and share any Facebook post I’ve ever created for the business and that’s always a great thing to see her be a proud supporter.

Creating an online-marketing business with strong social media ties was something I knew I would enjoy. Reflecting on the year, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. You learn from trying new things – what works, what doesn’t, and I can live with that.

I hope that these reasons will help you go after your dream of starting your own business, or for those who have their own business helped you reminisce to when you first started.

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