LESSONS LEARNED MY 1ST YEAR IN BUSINESS
Launching Kathleen Mapson & Company has been one of the most exciting, terrifying, thrilling, and overwhelming experiences of my life. Although knowing that starting my business was absolutely the right thing to do, what I was called to do, and what I know I have been blessed to do, there have been many moments of self-doubt and uncertainty. Oddly enough, I even thought about throwing in the towel because of moments of frustration. And to be even more transparent, those moments have turned into months - seven months to be exact.
My Truth - Keeping It 100 When I wrapped my last project of 2015 back in December, I was kind of in a funk of some sorts. I was wrestling with my heart and mind about my business, having creative block (much like writer's block), and throwing myself a little pity party. Being a wife, mom, working a full-time job that could take up to 2 hours one way in this horrid Atlanta traffic, and trying to grow my design business was becoming too much for me. The time just wasn't there no matter how hard I tried. Going to industry events, shows, meeting with other designers, handling client projects - I just couldn't do it. And since I couldn't 'show up' the way I wanted to, I didn't want to do anything related to my business. And it was hard. Like really hard. And I was slightly devastated at considering closing up shop or putting my business on hold for awhile.
After sharing my thoughts with my tribe, they helped me bring things back into perspective. I realized that 'showing up' doesn't mean I have to do it all, all the time. It simply means doing what I can when I can, and being fully present when I decide to do so. It means saying yes to the events, outings, and client projects that work for what I am trying to build and saying no to what really isn't a good fit. It means not overwhelming myself when I don't have to and not overthinking every single little thing. I'm working on this one! If you know me, you know I am notorious for doing this. And it means being patient with my personal and entrepreneurial growth and enjoying the journey.
So, I'm back in the saddle. I've dried my tears, prayed over my fears, and have resolved within myself that the mindset of 'showing up for everything' and 'on all the time' doesn't have to apply here. And it is all good. =) Balance is key. Working through all that has also taught me a few more valuable lessons. I hope they will encourage you in your journey too.
What I Now Know For Sure
Starting and traveling through any uncharted territory can be scary. So I gave myself permission to fully feel and be present in all of it. What I now know for sure:
- Trust yourself and the power within you. Know that if it is burning in your heart and continues to do so long after you think you have gotten over it – maybe you haven’t actually gotten over it. Whatever 'it' is - get out there and try and give it all you’ve got. When you actually put effort in to it, rewards will come out of it.
- Just do it! Now that doesn’t mean to just do it. What it does mean is come up with a plan that you know you can execute. Long-term goals are great, but short-term goals are equally as important. And you get to celebrate yourself a little more along the way.
- Work with what you have and be okay with it. As things progress, so will you, your resources, your connections, and everything else. Don’t look so far ahead that you can’t appreciate where you are in the journey. Doing so may cause you to get off track.
- Do your homework. Whatever you desire to do starts with learning your business, it’s community, the movers and shakers, and those that you admire. Take courses, attend conferences, community events, and webinars not only about your specific business, but also on how to run a business in general – marketing, financing, social media, photography. You will be surprised at how many ‘free’ things you can find to get things going, but also consider those that have a fee. Good information is not always free. You should want to pay someone for their insight/knowledge if you know it can help your productivity and growth. This is also a part of investing in yourself and your business.
- Find a mentor in your industry. It is a wonderful thing to learn on your own, figure out your own way, and encourage yourself, but also consider talking to someone that’s been there and done it. It doesn’t mean your way will be the same as theirs. Actually, your way will be very different from theirs because we all have our own paths and bridges to cross. But we can all learn something from the successes and failures of others. It’s up to you to figure out what to do with that information.
- Build Your Tribe! Your tribe is your crew. You motivate each other to keep going, share goals and ideas, and cheer one another on. Your tribe is there to be a listening ear, help you navigate your situation, be honest with you when you least want to hear, and genuinely desire to see you succeed. You are not in this alone and you shouldn’t be. That’s what your tribe is for.
- Be legit. Find out what your state or county requires to operate your business legally. I know, I know…but that means I may have to pay taxes on what I have earned. Yes, you may. But also consider the rewards – you are operating your business legitimately, you can ‘do business’ with other businesses that may ask for your business information for their tax filings, and you can include in your taxes all the expenses that it takes to make your business operational. And let's not forget the peace of mind of doing things in order.
- Keep moving no matter what. The only time there is no success is when you are not doing anything. I believe that all those late nights, God sees you. All those sacrifices, God sees you. All the times you have cried, worried, prayed, yet remained faithful, God sees you. I believe as long as you stay the course, God will honor your request.