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Starting, operating, and owning a business is a very “learn as you go, learn as you grow” endeavor. There are tons of resources out there, but I believe you learn the most through experience. Throughout the years, I’ve tweaked so many things about my business and how I operate business. From communication with clients down to my operations behind the scenes, I’ve learned (and am still learning) what works and what doesn’t.
If you’re like me, you’re the owner, secretary, accountant, creator, PR, etc. and it can get pretty crazy no matter your niche. You have to be willing to learn and try new things to stay relevant as well as manage. Below, I’ve put together a list of things that I’ve learned throughout my years as a small business owner. In effort to keep this blog from turning into a novel, I narrowed my list down to the first few things that came to time. There are tons more and I’ll be sharing them in waves. So let’s get into the first wave of “things”.
1. Learn to give customers and potentials as much information up front as possible. When people reach out to me, regardless, of the platform, I try my hardest to prevent the back and forth communication. Also remember that people don’t know what they don’t know, but as the owner of your business, you will learn the most common questions that people have. Include the answers in your initial response. It will save you so much time and your customers/clients will be better informed and prepared.
This also includes your website (or wherever your services/products are listed). Have all of the information listed so that the client can immediately decide to book you.
2. Learn to make templates- this has helped me soooo much. I’m getting so many wig orders at a time and I like to keep my clients updated with statuses and completion dates. Every week, I use my email templates to reach out to my clients about their wigs. I’ve saved time and I was able to stay on top of this type of communication. These templates can be used on social media, email, or text. Even if you’re like me and don’t conduct business via DM on social media, you can have a template to explain the best way to find your information as well as how they can reach and book with you.
These templates may take time to develop just like #1.
3. Learn to stay organized- there are many different ways to stay organized and as you grow you will figure out what works best for you and your business. For me, I need calendars and lists. I’ve recently just purchased a large dry erase calendar for the wall in my office. Wig making has spiked over the last couple of months and while it’s overwhelming at times, it has helped me to understand the level of organization I needed to maintain. I also have planners that I like to use to delegate time to various business-related tasks. Lists help me to remember things from tasks to ideas. As an influencer, I’m inspired by many things that I do and witness throughout the day. I try to remember to write things down in the moment so that I don’t forget. This is an extra expense that is totally optional, but my business phone also helps me to stay organized. I can keep better track of text conversations with clients, as well as manage my time effectively by unplugging (see #4).
4. Learn to have a schedule and a plan – for this helps with wig making and planning content. As a business owner, you need a marketing strategy. How will clients and future clients learn about your services? How can they see your products in action? How will they learn about any sales? How do you promote your business? My primary platform is Instagram, but I use it to drive traffic to my website which I have full control of. Once you figure out our platform(s), set up a posting schedule and plan your content ahead of time. This helped me because when I’m busy, I neglect my social media and as a result, my engagement drops.
Back in May, I participated in Mattie James’ consistency challenge. We had to determine posting schedule and stick to it consistently. I was determined to stick to it even though I was super busy. I planned my content 3-5 days in advance (most days). As a result, my following and engagement increased dramatically.
Having a schedule also means planning to unplug in order to spend time with who and what matters aside from business. For me, I like to work on content and wigs late at night or early in the morning while my kids are asleep. They can be a huge distraction, but I also like spending uninterrupted time with them. I also try to make it a habit to unplug from my business phone after hours and during weekends and holidays when I am not working.
All in all, plan your work and work your plan.
5. Learn that people will invest in a brand that they know about and can relate to – have you seen a brand and ever wondered, “what does the face behind the brand look like?” I’m the face of my brand, but that isn’t always the case. I’ve learned to show some of what goes on behind the scenes of my business. I used to try and keep work and personal very separate, but I’ve seen an overall increase by sharing my story and letting people in. We tend to glorify this entrepreneurial lifestyle, but it’s HARD! People will also appreciate the transparency and the grind, and they may be inclined to support. I’m not saying post your income and sales, but show “a day in the life” or perhaps just show your products and services in action. Client selfies and testimonials will go a long way.
As mentioned before, I have much more to share, but I’ll save it for a later post.
If you’re a business owner out there, I’d love to hear some of the things you’ve learning as you grew. Please share 💕