I TOOK CLASSES, READ BOOKS, LISTEN TO LECTURES BUT HAD I KNOWN THESE KEY GEM STONES FROM THE START I MIGHT HAVE BEEN BETTER PREPARED.
There are so many misconceptions of trying to start your own business or brand. I, for one, honestly believed if you followed all the steps or advice someone gave you then…voila, you’d become successful. However, after reading every article, book, and joining as many support groups as possible I realized it was much more to this then I could have imagined; and it wasn’t an easy answer. So I’m sharing some of the things that I learned but wish I knew before starting my own brand or business:
1. BE CONSISTENT AND KEEP GOING. We often get frustrated because we aren’t seeing any peak of success. For instance, I’ve been doing Dream Bella since 2011 and I just started to find my groove, build up my audience and engagement in 2018. Even though I wasn’t seriously consistent until 2017, I’m starting to see the growth of her, now imagine if I’d buckled down six years ago and kept going, been consistent. Exactly! Regardless of how many road blocks and dead ends I've came across I should have just rerouted and proceeded to find another avenue. I realized that I wasted a lot of time just stopping rather than following it through.
2. TRIAL AND ERROR IS YOUR FRIEND. We think any type of temporary fail or unsuccessful attempt means that we’re failing at our business. When in actuality you should look at it as your own personal study group; with just you that is. The point is, every time you try something and it doesn’t go as planned study what happened and what went wrong; then try something different or correct what whatever went wrong. For instance, when I was taking advice from a support group, I was told all these different techniques to try to build up my Instagram following. I was told to do a color scheme or pattern theme to make people attracted to my page and post more than 10 times a day, however, I did all those things and they didn’t garner me much success. It did manage to leave me feeling overwhelmed and not having enough time to focus on the purpose of doing all of these things which was my business. So I began to study what I was doing and what other people who were in the same line of work were doing too; who did have a nice following. I notice that they weren’t doing the whole hop on one leg, spin around while blindfolded act and was managing just fine. How could this be? I learned that some people were buying followers and that others had followers doing all of the tricks, but one thing for sure was they didn’t have the engagement. So I figured out what I was doing wrong and it was that I wasn’t doing me and not using those advice to fit or benefit me. My followers really didn’t care about how I organized my time line, or if I posted 10 times a month as long as I was engaging and showing them content that involved me, therefore I adjusted and tried again.
3. FAMILY AND FRIENDS ARE NOT YOUR SUPPORTERS Well let me clear that up, now that I have your attention. Family and friends are not your supporters the way you’d want them to support. Of course you have those who just don’t support at all, but we’re calling those people "toxic" family and friends ( In the words of Jouelzy) who you probably should be staying clear from anyways. Nonetheless, stop assuming that because you have a bunch of family and friends who like you or who always like your posts that they’re going to be your audience or customers. They’ll support in their own way. For instance, when I have a family or friend who recommends me to do someone’s makeup, or share my blog posts, or even like my posts; that’s support to me. They might not be yelling your name from a rooftop and mentioning you to every Tom, Dick, or Harry but it’s something. Plus, allow your family and friends to be just that, a friend and family when needed for that late night venting session or that hangout spot. Trust me, if they believe in what you do and you actually show you’re serious about it, they’ll come around. Just don’t put that pressure on them or you, because you’re setting expectations on others to be responsible for your business success.
4. YOUR START ISN’T YOUR FINISH How you start building your business or brand may end up not being the direction it took. Like anything or person it has to evolve and it can’t evolve if you’re fixated on how you want it to be. Now, of course it’s your business and you ultimately have the control and say on how it will manifest but don’t start freaking out if its evolution isn’t exactly how you pictured. When I first started Dream Bella it was supposed to be a service for print ads and photo shoots. A partner (at the time) and I were going to do these editorial shoots and market towards boutiques, fashion designers, and clothing lines. I never really wanted to blog nor did I want to do YouTube tutorials, and sure enough every time I felt like I was getting fully invested with doing those things I would pull back and stop. Yep, that was some of the issues that triggered my inconsistency. I just didn’t like the direction of where it was going. Didn’t matter if I liked writing up blog post or not; it wasn’t the vision of Dream Bella. Now who’s to say that Dream Bella wouldn’t later evolve into being some type of marketing firm or become another entity that I can market later on but, at the time I was stuck and couldn’t see the forest from the trees. So just because you’re going in one direction when you really want to go in another, just give it time, it’ll circle back around. However, in the mean time, if you’re enjoying it.. ride it out and see where it’ll lead you. It may take you some place where you couldn’t even fathom so just keep an open mind.
5. STAY TRUE TO YOU It’s only human to observe what others around you are doing and get frustrated, envious, and just depressed at their success; or what you think is success. The fact is, if we aren’t there to see the ends and outs we don’t know what it took for them to get there. In some cases, they maybe in the same position as you but doesn’t mind faking it until they make it. That may work for some, but that isn’t my steelo so I stick to what I know, which is transparency and truth. The bottom line is, don’t focus on what you see others doing but channel that energy into your work and molding your brand. I remember I use to get so upset on how makeup artist who started long after me would have more clientele and customers, but I had to channel my energy into my work. I also had to recognize that my focus isn’t just to be a makeup artist so my journey and outcome is going to be much different. Now, I could have easily start to focus on getting more clientele but that’s just taking me away from the direction I was meant to walk. If I didn’t stick to what I do and how I do it I could easily become astray from the course at hand. No one can do what you’re doing the way you’re doing it; so stay true to who you are and what works for you. Although, it may seem as though what she or he is doing is working, it doesn’t mean that it’ll work for you. When I began writing my blogs, I would write about what I saw other people post their blogs on such as: 1.Celebrity fashion 2. Celebrity news. 3. High-end designers. But I realized that wasn’t a big interest of mine and I’m sure my readers could tell it was forced. Whereas, when I started to write about subject matters that I related to, I could see readers become a little more engaging. I say a little because I’m in the process of still building. Regardless if you choose a niche just make sure it’s a niche that is you.
All in all there is no right or wrong way to start your journey as an entrepreneur, so don’t focus on finding the answer or solution; but rather enjoy the process and journey of getting there. Sometimes we’re so focused on being successful we don’t live in the moment of becoming successful. Even though I gave you some insight please use it in your own discretion and apply it where needed. Listen, this might not be for you because again I say there is no one or right answer.