There is no easy journey to being an entrepreneur. It's full of bumps, surprises, and sudden detours. Surprisingly, most entrepreneurs would prefer it that way. We wear it daily with pride as a badge of honor. That’s not to say that I wish I didn't make mistakes. That doesn’t bother me, but rather, if I could have started out with the information below, my business could have been a little bit better and a little less stressful. Let me share these five things I wish I knew before I started my creative business with you and hopefully spare you from a few mistakes down the road:
1. Make Sure You Have Separate Bank Accounts For Biz And Personal Funds Vs. Optional Bank Accounts Let's talk about taxes here and how crucial it is to have those separate accounts vs optional ones. The benefits are so everything is separate when it comes to filing taxes because of #writeoffs.
Separate bank accounts (business and personal) and outsource your books and taxes. #bestdecisionever It may be useful to carry out business transactions through a personal account when you are just starting your business. However, as your business grows, you need a special account for your business.
A separate business account makes it easier for you to handle your business because your business and personal expenses will be recorded separately, making it easier to track spending and income solely for your business and budget accordingly. That way, you won’t have to keep a mental note of what’s personal and what’s business and detangle it all from one account. As your business expands, you may reach a point where time constraints or the sheer volume of your monthly bookkeeping makes managing your own books nearly impossible. This is where it is useful to outsource the work to a bookkeeper or an accountant to do your books and taxes.
2. Create Solid Boundaries If you’re available to your clients at all hours on all platforms, your clients expect you to be available 24/7. Set time aside for yourself FIRST and set sustainable boundaries between you and your clients to keep the relationship consistent and manageable for both of you. Boundaries are essential for any client relationship. Creative entrepreneurs often enable negative client habits to continue for fear of disrupting or losing a client. This sets a dangerous precedent that could lead to more serious issues in the future.
As an entrepreneur, you must determine what boundaries are relevant to you. Before you start working with clients, figure out what your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual limits are. Without boundaries, it can be hard for clients to know where they fit in your business and can lead to confusion and a lack of confidence in the working relationship. Setting limits with your clients is never a bad thing. Your professionalism defines you as an entrepreneur, and a mutually respectful partnership creates confidence and positions your client for a brighter future.
3. There Are Plenty Of Clients (And Dollars) To Go Around Collaboration, not completion. Operate out of abundance, not scarcity. There are enough clients and there’s enough money to go around. Lean into collaboration as much as humanly possible instead of competition. You're not taking money away from someone else by charging more.
If you are still unsure of the difference between scarcity and abundance thinking, read this: Scarcity thinks, "I didn't get this work, I'm not good enough, I'll never get a job!" when you get the confirmation from the client letting you know they're moving on to another service provider. “That wasn't the best match for me,” says abundance. “My dream career is always waiting for me to find it. I'm going to keep looking.” Many businesses invest much too much time analyzing their rivals. While it's important to keep an eye on what works and doesn't work for those in your field, it should never be your primary focus.
Why? Constant comparison is anxiety-inducing and doesn’t always convert to improvements on your own projects. You can also get caught up in the comparison game, which no one enjoys (and no one ever wins).
Instead of competing, what do I propose? Working together. Collaborating, particularly as a creative entrepreneur, will help you develop your business while also forming lifelong bonds with other entrepreneurs.
4. Set Yourself Up Right From The Start Set yourself up right from the start with a system like Honeybook for client communication, contracts, questionnaires, scheduling, invoices, and more. Make things easier on yourself (and most importantly your clients): don't do contracts in Google docs, for example, but use something that’s easy for clients to get in, do their part and return the document to you in as few and easy steps as possible. I cannot just stress enough how much I love Honeybook and how it helped me automate my business. HoneyBook is client relationship management software, which is a fancy way of saying that it helps you organize your clients, workflows, and schedule. Basically, it's there to help you run your company more efficiently by eliminating the need for 15 programs and sticky notes all over your desk. It’s a program that will help you with end to end operations of your business. Using this will definitely free up your time to do more value-adding tasks for your business.
5. HIRE A DAMN COACH
It is so worth it! Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster so ALWAYS have someone to help you with strategy and mindset. You need someone to recognize your blind spots. Investing in a coach means investing in yourself and your business. Hiring a coach will definitely benefit you because you will gain knowledge from an objective standpoint. That means no biases, just pure truth that will make you question your mindset and even your personality but, rest assured, coaches have been taught how to assist others in their growth. The work can be hard, but you’ll end up more secure and confident in your business with a game plan to reach your goals.
Don't be like me and wait until you're burnt out and desperate for help three years in. Get a coach as early in your business journey as you can to have all of their perspective and knowledge at your fingertips to grow your business strategically and with confidence. Coaches have excellent BS detectors that will help you figure out when and how you are deceiving yourself. While the majority of successful people work hard, have some luck, and are "self-made," we all reach a point where we hit a wall and have blind spots. Many of us have untapped potential in places we've never investigated or tried. A good coach will be able to spot this and help you turn it into growth opportunities for you and your business.
So there you have it! Which one of these 5 things will you be trying out first for your biz? Or did you do all of these and how was it?
I’m excited to see your comments below!