Happy December 1st! It's time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the new year. In January 2016, I celebrate two years of being an entrepreneur. Year 2 was a big learning curve and I'd like to share 10 new lessons learned:
1. Craft YOUR story.
When I first launched my styling business, I felt uneasy about not having fashion related work experience or personal stylist credentials. It seemed like all successful stylists worked at Vogue or Bloomingdale's as a previous career. But one day, I realized that my journey took a different path and it was okay. My entrpreneurial journey started at Dress For Success - that's my story and it's what makes me unique.
2. Follow up and follow through.
So simple and such a critial step in running your own business. All that networking, all those meetings, all that planning is productive only if you follow up with people and follow through all the way to the end.
3. Previous experience counts.
Did you know that I was a dancer growing up? Or that I spent 8 years working in marketing before I left corporate America to be a full time mom? My previous dance experience helps me feel comfortable in front of the camera and working at Citibank and Time Inc. taught me the basic principles of marketing - both of which contribute to my entrepeneurial personality.
4. Always learn.
If given the choice, I would always choose to be the beginner in the room rather than the expert. There's much more opportunity to learn something new!
5. Ask for feedback.
I love asking for and receiving feedback - it's customer research that's immediate. Recently, I attended a feedback workshop given by Jamie Sussel Turner, author of Less Stress Business. Jamie taught some great techniques for feedback requests and it can be as simple as asking, "What can I do to make this a better experience for you?"
6. Take advantage of having a seasonal business (if applicable).
Author Chantal Panozzo wrote in the NY Times: "Americans live to work, it's culturally ingrained. If we're not busy, we're not worthy." Over the summer I felt guilty about not working, even while on an Alaskan cruise with my extended family. And then this happened:
7. "I'm so busy." Snooze.
I went to a networking event once where 8 out of 10 people talked only about how busy they were. I get it. We're all busy. We're all working hard and juggling various responsibilities. But that "I'm very busy" story does not make anyone interesting.
8. Pave your own path.
There's zero structure to being an entrepreneur, you have to be self motivated and resourceful. It also helps to be tenacious - which is a lesson I learned while training for the Ironman. Obstacles and challenges are definitely going to happen and you have to find a way to keep going.
9. Always do your best.
Hello? Is anyone there? Somtimes it feels like no one is watching. I mean really, what's the point of social media? It can feel like complete nonesense. 100 likes. 5 comments. Who cares? But people ARE watching and paying attention. This year I had two unexpected opportunities: 1) CURIOUS mentor for The Paid Stylist and 2) Style contributor for The Stir. These were not opportunities I sought out and I learned to always put my best work out there.
10. Celebrate accomplishments and thank those who helped along the way.
Thank YOU. 💋
If you enjoyed reading this Lessons Learned post, click here to read the first edition.
Thanks for reading and see you in 2016!
professional photo credit: mikifoto