A few years ago, I made the decision to quit my full-time corporate job and embark on the journey of starting my own business. With my skills in website and branding design, I took a leap, left the corporate world, and launched Ivy Lynne Studio to serve clients in the Charleston area and beyond. At the time, I was a new mom to two little girls and craved more flexibility and freedom in my life. Looking back a few years later now, I realized there were three key things I could have done differently when starting a business after leaving my corporate job. In this post, I’ll share these insights with you, hoping to provide guidance and inspiration for anyone considering a similar path! Hindsight is 20/20 and all we can do is continue to grow and evolve as we learn from experience. Without further ado, let’s dive into my three tips!
1. Get Crystal Clear on Your Who/How/What
When I first started my business, I believed that understanding my “why” was the most important aspect. I wanted to have the freedom and flexibility to be a present mom while serving clients in my own unique way. However, I soon discovered that getting crystal clear on my “who,” “how,” and “what” was equally, if not more, important.
Attempting to serve everyone is not an ideal way to grow. I know it can seem counterintuitive in the beginning when you’re eager to work with ANYONE willing to pay you. This doesn’t mean you can’t work with people outside of your target audience, it just means that your messaging and marketing should clearly target one specific kind of person. By honing in on a target audience, you can tailor your messaging and marketing efforts to resonate with them more effectively and eventually you will regularly attract your dream clients!
Defining your service structure is another critical step. Will you offer one-on-one services, be a coach or consultant, or sell products and courses? If you’re like me, you probably have LOTS of ideas for how to serve people. But in your early years, it’s important to stay focused so you can really excel at one thing and continue to build a reputation around that. Starting with one client and one service offering can accelerate your success and allow for focused growth.
Consider how you will market your offer to your target audience. Implementing simple systems like an email marketing platform and setting up business profiles across social media platforms will help you build a slow and engaged audience. You may not be ready to go all in on these in the very beginning, but just laying the foundation will lay for growth in the future.
Take action: Define your ideal client avatar and one specific service offering and begin marketing with that in mind.
2. Join a Community Right Away
Another mistake I made was not seeking out a community of entrepreneurs sooner. I initially worked pretty much on my own, learning primarily from online resources. While online learning is valuable, nothing compares to the power of in-person connections and one-on-one interactions.
After a few months into my business journey, I started immersing myself in my local entrepreneurial community. This decision changed everything for me. By engaging with fellow entrepreneurs, I gained valuable insights, wisdom, and referral opportunities. Connecting with like-minded individuals amplifies your success and prevents the feeling of being stuck in your own head.
Take action: Join (or create!) your own local networking group. There are likely many meetups or networking events happening in your area. Connect with and learn from other entrepreneurs who are at different stages in their journey from you.
3. Redefine Your Mindset Around “Selling”
Selling can be daunting, and I initially struggled with this aspect of business ownership. However, I learned to shift my mindset and view selling as a form of serving. If you truly believe in the value of what you offer and witness the positive impact it has on your clients’ lives, selling becomes a means of helping others achieve their dreams.
Changing my perspective allowed me to increase my prices with confidence and approach sales conversations differently. I began to see myself as someone who provides genuine value and assistance rather than someone trying to convince people to pay for my services. When you focus on serving others and finding the right fit, selling becomes a natural part of the process.
Take action: This takes practice. Approach each conversation with potential clients from a place of genuine interest about their dreams and goals. Frame your services in a way that can help them get there (if you truly can help) and watch the magic happen.
Starting a Business? My Final Thoughts
Reflecting on my journey, those are three key things I would do differently if I were to start my business all over again. Getting clear on your target audience, connecting with a community of entrepreneurs, and redefining your mindset around selling can make a significant impact on your success.
Whether you’re considering starting a business or you’re already a business owner, I hope you find these insights helpful. Remember, every stage of business requires continuous learning and adaptation.
If you’re new to business and looking for some support, check out my free resources page to access free trainings and guides to help you get started.
I also invite you to book a free strategy call with me so we can discuss your big dreams and goals and see how we can get you there faster.