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Five Business Lessons of a Fledgling Entrepreneur

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Welcome to KIS Blog: A taste of local fashion, food & wine and luxe travel

Five Business Lessons of a Fledgling Entrepreneur

Lauren Zwaans

It’s been a busy month in the KIS Communications office, but life as a new small business owner isn’t without its challenges!  

Seven months on, I thought it was a good time to reflect on my business journey so far - and the lessons I’ve learnt.

I’m the first to admit that while I’m a communications expert, other aspects of business are less my forte - so there’s been many lessons learnt along the way - and I’m sure there will be many more to come! Here’s my top five to date…

Lesson 1: Value Your Networks
While I head out to client meetings almost daily, running your own business can still feel lonely at times. For the first time in my career, I don’t have colleagues to bounce ideas off of, and I don’t have a CEO, manager or supervisor to give me feedback and direction. 

While on the one hand it’s incredible having this level of autonomy, on the other hand it can definitely feel a tad isolating! Thankfully, there are plenty of communities and support networks for business owners. I’m a member of Sass Collective - a community for female entrepreneurs - as well as Spence Club - a club for young female professionals in South Australia. I find both of these communities extremely valuable and this past year has definitely taught me the value of my networks!

Lesson 2: Pivot, pivot - and pivot again
One of the best tips I was given by a fellow entrepreneur was to be prepared to pivot. I think when you start out in business there’s a natural tendency to say ‘yes’ to every project thrown your way. After all, you have to eat! However, finding your niche is important - as is responding to your customers’ needs. Overwhelmingly, the copy I write is brand and marketing copy for the digital space, so it’s great that I’m naturally becoming clearer on my business’ core offering over time.

 Stella & Dot CEO Jessica Herrin says in business you need to "believe in yourself beyond reason".

Stella & Dot CEO Jessica Herrin says in business you need to "believe in yourself beyond reason".

Lesson 3: Take every opportunity for professional development
If only I really understood the immense value of professional development opportunities when I was an employee! While I probably once took PD for granted, I definitely realise its value now. Podcasts have become my go to (I particularly like Soulful PR with Janet Murray and the Thrive Global Podcast with Arianna Huffington) and I take every opportunity to up-skill to bring my clients extra value and stay up-to-date.

Lesson 4: You can’t be good at everything - stick to your strengths
This has been a tough lesson. My year 12 English teacher gave me a quote on a printed card on the last day of school by David M. Burns. It said: “Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong; because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life.” 

This lesson has been particularly true since starting my own business, as there are many elements to running a business - like financial management and administration - that aren’t my strong suit! Fortunately, I’ve learnt that for the most part outsourcing these tasks is the way to go. That way I can focus more of my energy on my client work and the work I do excel at!

Lesson 5: Believe in yourself beyond reason
You only need to look at the stats to realise that many start-ups fail (more than 70 per cent in fact), but as entrepreneur Jessica Herrin of Stella & Dot says, in business you need to have “a fierce level of confidence”. Speaking with Ali Brown on Glambition Radio, Herrin, whose business is worth an estimated US$300 million, says as an entrepreneur you should “believe in yourself beyond reason”. 

“Even when experts bet against you, bet on yourself,” Herrin says. “It doesn’t matter if probability or circumstances are against you.”

Self confidence in business is a lesson I’m still learning, but it’s certainly early days!

Image credits: shaycochrane.com, more.com

I’m interested in your thoughts.. What lessons have you learnt in business?

Need assistance with your communications? I can help you there! Email lauren@kiscommunications.com.au and let’s chat.