I think about business all the time... well... a lot of the time, haha! I never knew I enjoyed business, but my journey has taught me that beyond my passion for photography is a passion for small business. There is just something about it. Being able to create something and have a means to share it with others, all while creating business systems is something I get really excited about. #nerdalert.
Something else that my journey has taught me is that no matter where we are in our journey we have more to learn. Owning a small business means we will be in a constant state of growth and learning, because things change. People change, businesses change, technology changes, customers change... everything changes. So if you are on your own business journey, buckle up, it will be the hardest most rewarding career path you could choose. But how do we get from floundering in our business to casting vision and seeing our business grow?
KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHERE YOU WANT TO GO
If I would have read this a few years ago, I would have thought, "I think I know myself... I know I want to run a small business... I can try a few things to figure this out." But, one thing that small business will teach you is that knowing yourself is more then just thinking about things that you like or things that you think you are good at... that's what I did, haha. Let's talk this out.
I believe that God created in me a passion for small business... I've been dreaming about small business since I was in college. The hard part about this was that I had no one to show me the ropes, I was lacking in confidence, I didn't believe in myself, and I was scared out of my mind. It was easier to find a typical day job then to try to run a small business. When I opened my first shop in 2013 I knew one thing, I wanted to work for myself. That's it, nothing else. I had over come a bit of fear, quit my typical day job, and I was on my way. Here is where things went wrong. I didn't have a long term plan, I didn't write down my business plan, and I wasn't even quite sure what I was good at. I simply knew I was willing to try to figure things out. That, my friends will only get you so far, and my journey is the perfect example. I went from opening an Etsy shop, then I changed my product, then I closed my shop, then I focused on Lifestyle blogging, then I offered services... can you see where this is going? I didn't have a plan or a vision.
So, how did things change? Long story short, I got tired and started looking inward instead outward. I picked up a few business books and started reading. I didn't have a plan right off the bat, but I started really looking inward at what my strengths were, what my weaknesses were, what kind of business I wanted, how I wanted that business to operate, and how that business would operate in the future. And I prayed a lot. I knew to get it right I had to give it to God. I knew it had to be His business and I knew I had to trust Him as He guided me.
What are my strengths? Not just things that you think you are good at, but what do you really excel at? Turns out, planning and organizing my business was a huge strength of mine. Hanging out alone for hours on on end was a strength (with the occasional friend stoping by and coffee dates on the whim, I can't be completely alone. :)) Sharing my journey in a teachable way was a strength.
What are my weakness? I'm not the type of person that loves to drive around and scout locations... this is not a strength of mine. Meeting new people on the fly is not a strength of mine. I love people, but I love having people over to my house where I can serve them food and we can hangout. This is when I learned that portrait photography was not a strength for me. I love portraits, but I loved them for myself, I loved them has a hobby, not as a business.
How do I want this business to function in the future? For me I see businesses in two different ways. One, a business that can run online from anywhere. Two, a business that functions locally. Portrait and wedding photographers function locally. They may run their business online, but they still meet with people locally and in person. I learned, after moving across the country a few times, that it was not ideal for me to run a business locally. I knew the business would have to run online from anywhere.
Asking yourself these questions (and many others) will help you start casting a vision for your business and once you really understand how you want your business to function and how you will function in your business, then you can start building a business for growth. You don't have to have it figured out right away, but laying a foundation will get you started. How is your business journey coming along? xoxo. Samantha