In this blog post, I want to tell you about the top 5 things I wish I knew before I started my business and brand SelectedCrafts.
I never thought that building a business was going to be a walk in the park. Neither did I expect how much time and effort that goes into every little part of a business.
My mission is to build a beautiful life that I love. Starting a business was a very important part of achieving that for me. I still consider myself to be very early in my journey, but there are definitely things I wish I had known before I started SelectedCrafts.
5 things wish I had known before I started my business SelectedCrafts
1. Building a business is a slow process
When I say that it is a slow process, I don’t mean that I was surprised that it would take time to build a business from scratch. I was aware from the start that there would be an endless to-do-list of ideas and not nearly enough time to do all of it. But in my vanity, I thought that this would be easily resolved if I was just really tough with the prioritizing and planning of my time. I do pride myself on being fairly structured and organized.
But the problem is fundamentally not a lack of structure. Life as a business owner includes a lot of unforeseen challenges. My day-to-day life includes a lot of unplanned on-the-spot problem solving which takes up huge portions of my time. There is also no amount of structuring or planning, that can remove the amount of time you need to spend on mapping out the direction of your business. Those desitions take time to reach and they should, it is the future of the business we are talking about.
In my opinion, I’m not spending time doing the wrong things or being unresponsible with my time. I think business-building is a very slow process. If I had known that from the start I might not have pushed myself so hard in the beginning. I wish I had known before I started how much time I would end up spending on every…single…detail.
2. Building a business is frustrating
I expected that there would come times when I felt frustrated and had trouble to overcome my obstacles. Somehow I thought that the frustration would be directed outwards. I thought I would feel frustrated over things beyond my control. Things like waiting for answers from authorities or needing system support. In reality its the exact opposite, I direct all the frustration inwards.
I offend get feelings like; my business isn’t growing fast enough, my designs aren’t good enough or that my business idea is a disaster. All of these notions change my mood in some way or another. I can get extremely impatient and I compare myself too much. Sometimes I struggle to see my learning-curve as anything other than a big failure. If I didn’t work on preventing these feelings every single day they would probably get the best of me.
Every day I remind myself that my journey is not like anybody else’s. to build tools to help me cope with frustration. I surround myself with a loving group of friends and family. I tell myself to not compare my beginning with other people’s middle. In all manner of ways, I try to build a healthy lifestyle.
In the end, it will be worth it, I might currently be moving forward in a somewhat frustrating slow pace. But like in the fable with the turtle and the hare, I’m sure that slow and steady will win the race. I’m not going to compromise the quality of my products or the quality of my brand.
Although I wish I had known in advance, how much of the daily range of emotions, that would be frustration.
3. There’s a reason to why it exists so few home decor blogs
This might be a more practical point, yet it is one of the things I really wished I had thought about before starting. Before I decided to set up my brand or this blog.
The reason that almost nobody writes about home decor and interior design, is because it takes time and is expensive. It takes a humongous amount of time to make quality content. In order to make home decor and interior content that’s interesting for readers. It needs to provide an extraordinary value, be to-the-point and include breathtaking graphics. It’s not impossible to provide that, but a business owner’s hours of the day are limited.
I remember a class in university where we studied interior photography. Being in a Swedish university the examples were naturally from the Ikea catalog. We had a discussion of the composition of the image. At the end of the class, we were asked how much money we thought was needed to produce a full-page image. Just one image out of hundreds in the Ikea catalog. Apparently close to 100 000 dollars/euros, though that’s was some years ago now.
For some reason, I didn’t think about this fact when I started my blog. As you might have guessed, I don’t have the equipment, knowledge or money to produce Ikea-quality images. Photography is probably the main reason that there are so many blogs about the topic of blogging because it lets you reuse your existing images.
I worry about the quality of my content a lot, but I have decided to not let that stop me. I will do my very best to provide value for my readers and customers. As I learn ways to improve my writing and design it will get better. I can always go back and improve things later. The most important thing is probably to keep moving forward, learning new skills, testing new ideas and perfecting my craft.
4. A brand voice won’t magically appear
I have worked in media and marketing and I know how long time it takes to find a brand voice as it is called. That’s the thing a business gets when there’s a clear idea about what makes their product special and how the branding is going to look. A company with a defined brand voice will also have marketing and development strategies in place.
I knew that building a brand from nothing was going to take a long time. Secretly I still wished that I would be the exception when I started. I hoped that my products would somehow be perfectly designed, for my ideal customer and that they would go viral overnight. Even though that did not happen, I think that wish for instant success was important to get me started.
SelectedCrafts has a long way to go. There are still a lot of questions and obstacles to overcome before I can reach the destination of a fine-tuned brand voice.
I still secretly hope that SelectedCrafts will “take off ” one day but instead of wishing for it I’m working towards it.
5. You need to invest before you delegate
Before I started my business I told myself that I would be a smart and responsible business owner. I told myself to work “smarter not harder” and that I would delegate work if I had the opportunity. The only problem is, you need to pay for that.
Delegation of work was one of the more romantic ideas I had about starting a business. Initially, I failed to see that before a business starts making continuous sales and income. Delegation simply is not an option. Before delegation comes investing. Even if you run a 100% pure online business, investing in the proper tools are expensive.
My starting budget for this company was modest. I thought I would keep too free tools and options in the beginning. I still do in some cases. The only problem with free tools is that you simply won’t get the same quality as with paid solutions. In some cases, I just had no other option than to invest in the proper tools. I need the tools that let me provide the level of quality I want to provide.
Right now I still have investing to do, before I reach the level where I can pay to delegate parts of my work. I have become painfully aware of the time vs money dilemma. You just can’t have both when you start out unless you have a crazy start budget. Quite frankly I think it will take years before I can start delegating. I still need to use any profit I gain to invest back in my business.
I wish that I had a better understanding of this when I first started out.
I went into the whole starting a business process as open-minded as I could bring myself to be. Even though there are certain things I wished I had known before I started. Not knowing can also be liberating in a sense.
I think problems exist in three states:
- When you know, that you know.
- When you know, that you don’t know.
- And lastly, when you don’t know, that you don’t know.
For instance, I know I have to add my receipt to my bookkeeping. Here I know the problem and the solution. I also know that I have to research how to set up a Youtube channel. In this case, I know the problem but not how to solve it yet. Lastly, are the things I simply don’t know will become problems in the future. I can’t really plan for that.
If I could have foreseen the obstacles I would run into, I think it would have made me feel disheartened. When I go back to this blog post a couple of years from now. I’m sure there will be other things I wished I had known today. But I much rather keep going forward and face each situation as it appears.
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Don’t forget to check out my art printables in the SelectedCraftsStore.