As I celebrate my nearly 7 years in business there are just some things that have been more awesome than others. I have had some victories!
- I did a big promotion and somebody actually bought something! YES!
- I finished a project with a client and I met all my promised deadlines! AWESOME!
- I spent an entire weekend with my family and didn’t have a technical business crisis! HALLELUJAH!
Sprinkled in between those victories have been some seriously lame-sauce moments.
Lame-sauce moments like…
- I worked for 6+ months towards a huge launch of a new business..only to have my website crash on the “Big Day”. BOO!
- I got carried away filming a Facebook live and forgot to pick up my daughter at the bus stop. #momfail
- Prior to hiring my current CPA (who rocks!), the finances/taxes of my first year of business were a total nightmare. Never again.
Luckily I smile about the victories and can (finally!) chuckle at my classic failures as a mompreneur. Looking back on nearly 7 years of business I must say that there are some great choices I have made along the way that have made my home life happier, my brain less stuffed, and my business more effective.
Here are 3 principles that have really helped my business blossom.
Principle #1: I ran every area of my business at the very beginning.
My current business is fairly complex. We have an e-commerce store. We have a ‘members only’ login area. We embed video. We send out weekly emails to tens of thousands of subscribers each week. I pay 12 instructors monthly commissions. We host giveaways. We accept foreign currency. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Is this me bragging? Heavens no. Just know that there are thousands of details that go into my seemingly simple site!
Truth be told, I know every inch of my business even though I no longer run every inch of my business.
When I started The Photographer’s Element, it was just me. I ran the show. I set up every blasted detail of the website. I googled into the wee hours of the morning trying to figure out how to get a security certificate for my site. (Did you know httpS is a big deal when taking peoples money?) I researched plugin after plugin after plugin to decide how to protect content to paying-only-members. I spent hundreds of hours re-doing code to make things format right, setting up drips (don’t know what those are? It’s okay…we’ll cover them soon!), and understanding the basics of graphic design in photoshop.
I am so grateful I invested so much time in learning every ounce of my business. I can stand confidently behind my prices, because I know the value of what is being offered. I can take great care of my customers, (and train others to do the same!), because I know every inch of the behind-the-scenes of my business.
Because I learned to run my business all by myself, I truly value those I hire that make my business more efficient. When it takes me 60 minutes to produce a mediocre ‘buy now’ graphic, and it takes my designer 63.4 seconds to produce one…I PAY HER WITH JOY! That is money well spent, and more time in my pocket.
Principle #2: I worried more about quality than quantity. As an online teacher, my student reach is potentially huge. While all of the classes we offer are a combination of pre-recorded video, pre-prepared lesson PDF’s, and pre-determined homework assignments, every student has the option to work LIVE with an instructor during the class. This personal touch was so important to me as I began dreaming up my business and yet every business mind I talked to said ‘It isn’t efficient to offer things that are one-on-one’. While I took a lot of advice from these great business minds to heart, I couldn’t let go of my desire to offer a personalized learning experience for photographers. Yes, I could make more money if I simply created courses and only sold them as virtual downloads. But, I would miss that warm-fuzzy “I’m doing the right thing!” feeling that I get when I work individually with these buddying artists. The Savior Himself has placed importance on doing certain things one-on-one, and that was an element I fervently wanted as part of my business model.
Because my goal is personalized and quality experiences 92% of students who take a class with me end up taking another class within 3 months.
More importantly, I feel awesome inside providing these personalized experiences. Business should fulfill some part of you – way beyond the dollar signs.
#3: I didn’t have my cake and eat it too…and that’s been a good thing.
“Eat it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Thrift is a practice of not wasting anything. Some people are able to get by because of the absence of expense. They have their shoes resoled, they patch, they mend, they sew, and they save money. They avoid installment buying, and make purchases only after saving enough to pay cash, thus avoiding interest charges. – James E. Faust
There is no doubt that the Brethren have been clear to the members of the Church regarding debt. They talk clearly about the burdens it can bring into a home, the risks of the economy’s roller-coaster path, and also the areas in our lives that debt might be necessary. Education, a vehicle, and a home. How does your business relate to those areas? All of our lives are different, and so our answers might be different. If you are in a position in which your business income is not necessary to provide the necessities of life, I would beg you:
Do not go into debt for your business.
Here is one big reason why.
There is nothing more rewarding than earning the upgrades in your business. There is nothing more sweet than enjoying every stage of growth in your business, all built upon your efforts. There is nothing that will build confidence (or eradicate fear!) more than knowing your business is a self-sustaining machine that will never put your family and future in jeopardy.
What if you challenged yourself to get by (in the early stages, or slow stages, of your business) because of the “absence of expense”?
Believe me. The longer you get into business the more chances you have to ‘window shop’ the latest and greatest. While I am the biggest fan EVER of efficiency, and using tools to maximize your business….let’s EARN those tools by the sweat of our brow! Peace will accompany your efforts, and that is something money can never buy!
Which of these three principles ‘speaks’ the most to you? Which will your help your business the most? Join the discussion!
Tell me about it, and join in on the discussion in our Facebook Group, we affectionately call it ‘The Tribe!‘. “The Tribe” full of women, like you, who are navigating the unique path of Faith, Motherhood, and Business, and doing their best to further His work.