post by Stephanie Nelson
December 12th marks the anniversary of the official start of SBN Marketing. And 2019 marks our 8th year in business. According to statistics, I’m in the minority in a few ways when it comes to small business owners.
- Only 25% identify as female.
- Only 14% are between 30 and 39 years old (I was 36 when I started SBN Marketing); only 25% are 40 to 49 years old (I’m 44 now).
- Only 19% started their business because the opportunity presented itself.
- And roughly 50% make it to see five years in business; 66% fail during their first 10 years. (Fingers crossed for two more years! ha ha ha)
Over the last eight years, I’ve learned A LOT…most of it stuff I never thought I’d need to know. So here are a few business tips I’ve gleaned.
Trust your gut.
This took me a LONG time to learn, but I think I’ve finally gotten it. If your gut tells you that a potential client is a bad fit, it’s not the right time to buy a certain piece of hardware or software, a service folks are asking for is not in your wheelhouse, etc, trust it! Every time I’ve listened to my gut, time showed me that I’d done the right thing. Every time I’ve second-guessed myself, time has shown that I shouldn’t have done that.
Build a network you can trust.
People will show you their true colors, if you just give them a chance. Take the time to get to know folks. The ones you need to keep – and keep close – will show up for you when you need them – and as an entrepreneur, you WILL have those times. The fellow entrepreneurs I’ve surrounded myself with provide an ear and helpful advice when I need it, which is always appreciated. On the flip side, the ones you need to walk away from or keep at arms length will let you struggle. Sometimes, they’ll be the ones to MAKE you struggle. Just keep your eyes open, and the folks in your network will categorize themselves.
Recognize when you need a break…and make it happen.
Whether you’re working for yourself or you’re working for someone else, we all hit the metaphorical wall at some point. When you’re a solopreneur, it can be hard to recognize that wall and even harder to take a moment for yourself. When you’re a solopreneur in an industry that expects you to be “on” 24/7 (like social media), that difficulty expands 10-fold. But if you don’t take that moment to yourself, you’re not doing anyone any favors. Your work suffers. Your health suffers. Your relationships and friendships suffer. Find a couple of hours here and there to get a massage or mani/pedi, take a long lunch, sneak in a nap or just step away from the computer, phone, and tablet.
Your reputation is everything.
A lot of work this year came from partnering with other agencies. Most of those agencies offer services that we also offer; we were merely filling a gap in a service they wanted to offer. Technically, on some level, these agencies are SBN Marketing’s competitors. Yet I’ve been told by multiple people that it was my reputation for being honest and transparent that made these agency owners comfortable with bringing us into their fold over other folks that could have done the same. Do not underestimate what the world says about you.
So cheers to us for eight years hanging in there and another cheers to many more! Whether you’ve been in business for yourself for a while, just getting started, or getting ready to make the leap, trust me – if I can do this, we all can. We’ve got this!