Becoming my Own Boss
It really didn’t feel that long ago that I started By Invite Only but it has been 8 years since I became my own boss. I started learning how to make jewellery to supplement my allowance for school. I remember visiting local jewellery supply stores and asking the shop keepers on how to connect the parts together. Now, you can learn anything and everything just by googling and watching youtube.
If you’ve just started out or thinking of starting your own business, it can be a very nerve wrecking experience. I do hope that these lessons I learnt would help you along the way.
1. Your customers are the most important, not you.
Being my own boss meant that i didn’t have to answer to anybody. It means that I have to answer to everybody. Every customer who purchases a product from you then becomes a mini investor. They are the reason you fail and the reason you succeed.
Because of this, you also have to listen to them. Listen to their likes, dislikes and what they need you to change. If you plan your business around the needs of your customers, you will go very very far. It’s ok to not get it 100% right the first time, just remember to keep innovating and changing based on their feedback.
And when you feel stuck, your customers should be the first ones to ask “what should i do?”
2. Don’t follow a business model. Create your own.
Like many new startups, I learnt by observing what my peers in my industry were doing. Many brands I knew of
– produced new collections according to seasons,
– stocked consignment in multi-label stores
– sold their goods wholesale
– attended expensive fashion trade shows regularly.
I thought to myself, if everyone is doing it, it must be the right way and if i followed it, i will be successful. That model did not work out for me, AT. ALL.
– launch new deisgns every 3 to 4 weeks
– focus online (80% of our revenue) and select pop up stores/flea markets
– don’t sell wholesale but allow my customers enjoy the product at a reasonable price without the markups
– stopped spending money on trade shows but focus on consumer events
And within the month, my revenue increased by 400%.
I learnt that every business is unique and what everyone else is doing does not mean it’ll work for you. Spend time finding out what your business needs and more often than not, is from knowing your target audience or customers.
3. Don’t overthink, just do.
The more you think about making a decision the more you end up not following through.
Most people make the mistake of waiting to see what would happen next or just simply the need to have all their cards lined up before they make the next move. In my experience, the end goal or product usually is very different from when you started.
When the opportunity presents itself to you, seize it. Take a moment to consider your pros and cons and then act on it. Don’t overthink, just do something that contributes towards it. Whatever you do, it’ll bring you nearer to your end goal. Even if it doesn’t come to anything, you know you’ve tried and you can safely strike it off in pursuit of better opportunities that would come by.
4. Be Careful When Working With Friends or Family
It’s a great idea to work with close friends or family members because you know you enjoy their company and you probably already trust them a great deal. THINK. AGAIN. And again. I’ve heard horror stories of friends who turned enemies when they realized that work and play are 2 very different things. A great friend and person may not be the best partner or collaborator as work styles and ethics may clash.
If you really want to work together, always examine the person in his or her professional environment or try out a small project together before going the distance. It is always stressful when things go south and friendships end. Do your due diligence and be clear from the start.
There are many more tips i’d love to share with you but these are the top 4 lessons I’ve picked up over the years. I’m going to develop this series and write more about my experience as an entrepreneur. I’d love for you to let me know what you’d like to read about or if you have any questions for me regarding your business. Shoot it below in the comments section and I can’t wait to hear from you