So you want to be a boss, already a boss or thinking about becoming your own boss – No matter where you are in this process, let me be the first to say “CONGRATULATIONS!!” and now my little celebratory business dance…
Okay, just wanted to celebrate you a little bit because whether you’ve been a boss or thinking about stepping out on faith to become one – it’s a celebrated moment. You should give yourself a BIG pat on the back for making what some call THE BIG LEAP!!
However, while becoming your own boss is exhilarating – it can also be very scary and you’ll doubt yourself many times during and going through the process “Can I really do this?” “Why am I doing this?” or “Do I really have the skills to do it!” and I will say “YES! YOU DO!!” otherwise why would the thought even come to your mind..
These were all thoughts I had when I ventured out into blogging and now/recently into my own writing and creative design publication business, happily entitled “RoshondaBCreative” – I create flyers, social handles, brochures, newsletters, resumes and so forth for others. I even can write up blog posts, content and copy-write as well. As a matter of fact, just last week I received my very first customer whom wanted me to create a flyer, she loved it! and for the first time in history outside of doing everything for “free” (more on that in a jiffy). I got my very first payment!!!! I was elated, excited and it gave me that extra push to confirm, I was in my right lane.
But before that happened, I had to get my business etiquette together. After-all, I had never ran a business before and had no idea as to what it really detailed. The only thing I knew is that I had to be professional because “first” impressions are lasting impressions and I’m a firm believer in “How you start” will definitely set the tone for how everything else in your business will run. Over the years, I’ve worked alongside some good and not so good business owners. Even if the business owner was not that great, there are still lessons that I took from them because in business everything won’t be rosy, there will be shortcomings and mistakes made but it’s how you handle those grey areas that will determine it’s success whether your business is BIG or small.
Listed below are a couple of “Tone Setters” I believe every business should have:
1st Tone: Get Your Paperwork Together
When I first learned that I wanted to turn my passion into a business, the first thing I did was get my paperwork together. What I mean by this is – I looked for contract templates, proposal templates and business card designs. I even took a free business class to find out what my business would be registered as, either an LLC or if I’d be considered a Sole Proprietor. If you’re just starting out I would suggest going ahead and getting your name registered at least as the cost is minimal. Once your business takes off, then I would go deeper into getting it trademarked and so forth. While you’re in the process, don’t forget to come up with a BOMB slogan! Something that identifies your business characteristic.
However; the main thing is making sure you have your contract, prices, proposals and business cards ready because when you announce “Open for Business?” you may not have time to get those things prepared because no one likes a messy business man or woman.
2nd Tone: Communicate Properly
Oh gosh! I’ve seen some really messy communicators in business. If you say you’ll get back to someone in 24 hours, please make sure you do that. If you tell someone you’ll have their product ready in a week, please make sure you hit the deadline on the head or before. If someone sends you a message, please answer them and if you don’t answer within a specified period of time, just say “I apologize for the delay in getting back to you” first before you go into what their need may be.
Having good communication skills in business is a TOP priority and very essential to your business. Good communication can build your business, Bad communication can and will tear it apart before it gets off the ground good. Remember: Words travel faster than lighting!!
3rd Tone: No Freebies!
You’re going to always have that person that wants you to do something for free! However, you have to set the tone and let them know that you’re running a business and this time, you need to get paid. I remember accepting a job from a person that I knew very well. They needed me to update a resume they’d gotten from someone whom they stated “Didn’t do a good job” – they asked how much I would charge because they were going out for a job and desperately needed it the following day. I told them $5.00 and that evening I put everything aside just to get their work done. I sent it promptly the next day as suggested and after that…..silence….
I get an email about a week later telling me they ended up not using the resume and therefore because they didn’t use it, they figured they didn’t have to pay me my $5.00! Now don’t get me wrong, I know you might say that’s nothing but my TIME was everything! It was then that I decided to put a stipulation on payments. Anything $50.00 or less, I need the full payment unless we discussed you giving half down first. Value your time and your business enough to get your money upfront because your business doesn’t run off of “non-payments”
4th Tone: Don’t Be Afraid to Say No or Be Intimidated to Sell Yourself Short
When you first start out in business you may want to say YES to everyone and while that’s great in a rainbow world, you’re going to have to exercise your right and say NO! Only you know how much time and effort it’ll take you to complete a project. Think about that when you take on jobs, don’t allow someone to come into your business space and tell you what they want and what they need you to do. You’re the BOSS, you set the rules and tell them what YOU need them to do in order to complete their work.
Most times when this happens we feel as if we’re going to lose clients based off of our demands for our time and craft but that’s not the case. Don’t succumb to selling yourself or your product short, I mean you have to make a living as well…..what you start out doing for that one client will set the tone for what you do with other clients. If one client feels as though they can get over, guess what! That spirit will soon surround your business and the next thing you know, you’ll have other clients coming along wanting a handout or for you to sell yourself short & your response to that should always render a BIG NOOO!!
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These are just a couple of experiences I’ve experienced with “finally” starting my own business. Your business is like a newborn child in which you want to protect, nourish and watch it grow and grow and grow. Remember to stick to your guns and set the right tone because your business is depending upon you to shape and feed it. How you start is definitely how you’ll finish…
Do you have any business tips or stories? Share them below in the comments!