Real title…. “10 Things No One Tells You About Running a Small Business Even Though I Know There Are 1000s More Items I Could Add To This List.”
- You will work easily double the hours you work at a “normal” job. But it’s okay, because you love what you do and have a vested interest so what’s a personal life anyway? Side note: You may even be in conversation and someone will act as if you are LUCKY to own your own business so you can set your own schedule and have flexibility. If flexible means working every second my eyes are open, then yes, my schedule is quite flexible.
- There’s rarely a day where things go 100% smooth. For instance, all of a sudden the wireless printer won’t connect or the Internet goes down and we can’t process cards or maybe we receive an entire box of BROKEN items. No smooth sailing around here. Ever. (Luckily for me, Tyler works nearby and is always here assisting us in a hurry #blessed)
- You’ll meet LOTS of really cool people. The more I dive in on this adventure, the more grateful I am for the friendships I’ve created with our amazing family here at TSR and especially the ones that are in this “small business venture” with me. It’s so nice to know you aren’t alone in the insanity (special s/o to Rebecca Miller at Peggy Jean’s Pies for her constant reminders that we lead similar lives… pies & monograms go hand in hand, y’all)
- It’s impossible to keep every customer happy. We try so, so hard to make this NOT be a thing but in all reality, you just can’t make everyone happy no matter what you do. It’s a tough pill to swallow as a business owner that pours so much time and energy into the products and service we provide BUT nonetheless, for every ONE disgruntled customer, we’ve got HUNDREDS of happy ones so it all balances out in the end. Right? Someone say right so I feel better.
- There are a LOT of expenses. Like, for real. Wow. I won’t bore you with any of them or make you scared by any amount but just know it’s EXPENSIVE to run an efficient small business.
- You will be tempted to worry about your “competitors.” I’m a pretty competitive person by nature. As a business owner, however, I’ve learned to focus on myself and what we’re doing here at TSR and not worry about anyone else. Plus, I don’t have time to worry about anyone else and what they’re doing because we’re far too busy here (best. problem. ever.)
- Some days, you will feel like you’re on top of the world. You get up early, went in and nothing was wrong, you made a TDL (to-do-list) and started tackling it. You even wrote a blog post. Those days are good days. I may be ambitious in saying that today, March 1st, COULD be one of those days. I realize I’m writing this at 10 AM so all H-E-Double Hockey Sticks COULD break loose today but fingers crossed.
- Never undervalue the importance of hiring professionals when you need help. Look, I got this iPhone 8+ just so I could take better product photos. But ya know what, they look like straight up flip phone photos next to the ones done by our photographer, Laura Rowe Photo & Design. And by all means, do NOT get me started about the time I thought I could teach myself graphic design and create a new logo when we rebranded. No, just no. Hire someone that is a professional.
- Never undervalue the importance of hiring EXCEPTIONAL employees + spoiling them!!! I wrote an entire blog post on my team when I first hired them all in November after some major business changes at TSR. I loved them then and I barely knew them. If I wrote a blog about them now, it might rival a Nicholas Sparks book. Mad love for them and that’s how it should be!
- Lastly, you must realize you don’t know everything. I thought I knew what I was doing. I had worked in the industry for a similar business before, spent my undergraduate years developing a business plan, got my Masters degree and PERFECTED said business plan, opened a small store online first to establish a customer base, and then expanded to our storefront. Those are all the “correct” steps, right? I know everything, right? WRONG. I learn something new every day and I love it. If you want to be a successful small business owner, you’ll have to let go of the “I-Know-Everything-Mindset” and embrace the “What-The-Heck-Is-A-Facebook-Algorithm” mindset reeeeal quick.