Article edited and updated on Oct 18, 2021
The word entrepreneurship has always fascinated me since I was 19 years old. I have done a few projects that led me to my desire to be a business owner. I created a t-shirt line, moved on to hand-made accessories, and then designing bridal lingerie for a short period.
When I got married, I let go of building a fashion brand and started building a digital lifestyle magazine, empowering women of color on topics related to them. Through that, I created live empowerment events creating brand awareness and reaching my target audience. It was also a way to bring traffic to my digital platform and meeting women who wanted to reshape their real lives. At the time, the events were very successful and truly inspiring.
I managed my digital lifestyle magazine for over three years, and then I completely lost the website by accident. I got very discouraged and could not recover it back. So, I had to let it go and move forward.
Today, I am working on multiple projects, and I will share them all in the future. But, I am noticing that being an entrepreneur is not as glamorous like it seems.
What they do not tell you is that the beginning stages are always complicated. Being an entrepreneur takes a lot of hard work, dedication, heart, and consistency.
It is great to have passion for what you do, but you cannot sustain a business on just that alone. Creating a business is more about your customers. How will your product or service help improve the lives of your potential target market? Is there a need for your product or service? What are you offering that is different from your competition? It is a must to have all the answers to these questions and more. Without it, you will not have a functional business to thrive on.
I know there are a lot of business owners who say that they created their business with zero money and still found success. That may be true for some, but it does not work for all. For example, if you decide to start a business building a designer label, money is required for your brand to grow. You have to consider the cost of fabric, sewing supplies, trimmings, notions, small-batch manufacturers, etc. You will always spend the money somewhere, whether in marketing, advertising, business cards, fabrics, websites, etc. If you are serious about having a business, you will pay the cost to make it happen.
Networking, building connections, and being able to have resources is crucial as an entrepreneur. Having a network will be much easier to build and grow your business, especially when you can find similar people who relate to what you are going through.
Creating a business will feel lonely at times, and if you do work alone, do not let that overwhelm you to the point where you get distracted. Go with the flow and start strategizing intentionally to network with a small company, a school, a local organization, social media, community forum, etc., to get yourself or your business name out there.
Successful entrepreneurs also fail to share with other aspired entrepreneurs that there may be a possibility of not making money from your product or services for a while. You will have to be okay with temporarily being broke, especially if you believe in yourself that much to make it successfully. If it is an option, I suggest working part-time somewhere to help you have money in your pocket.
You will also be busy funding, investing, marketing, and strategizing for your business to take off. Planning is a huge requirement when building a business. You have to be willing to invest in your own business before anyone else does it. To get your target audience to believe in your brand, you have to earn it.
Take the time to learn as much as possible when it comes to building your business. That can be from understanding the requirements of an LLC, knowing when to file your business taxes on time, having the appropriate business licenses affiliated with your business, building relationships with vendors and wholesalers, sourcing/sampling, manufacturers, and more.
If possible, hire a professional to help you understand certain aspects of having a business, such as an accountant for taxes or an attorney for legal advice.
Another piece of advice not discussed often is seeking a business mentor. You want a trustworthy business mentor and someone you highly respect professionally. It does not matter if their business success is small, medium, or large. You want to learn as much as possible from your mentor’s mistakes, their successes, as well as helping you understand and mold you into a strong entrepreneur. Having a mentor will also hold you accountable for taking the necessary steps to grow your business.
Being the boss is never easy because there are so many responsibilities you have to do in building a brand or business. It’s exciting to move forward in accomplishing. Yet, it can be frustrating, exhausting, and at times you will want to quit. The best advice is to never give up on your dreams and finish to the end. The reward will pay off, and it will all be worth it.