Lessons Learned as an Entrepreneur

 

For those of you that don’t know me, I work in software development full time over at Booz Allen (formerly SPARC) and I also have my own business, Coastal Kelder, which is a DIY blog that turned into an Etsy shop and I also sell my products in shops throughout the US!  Since I work full time, my side business gets my nights & weekends… so I put in a lot of hours over the course of a week to keep my development team at work running smoothly, as well as growing my own business.

I’ve had my blog since 2013, but my online shop opened in 2015 and really took off in 2016, so I’ve been juggling a lot in the past 2 years and have learned a few lessons that I want to share with my fellow women bosses out there:

You Can’t Say Yes to Everything

This was a hard lesson for me to learn, especially as I was starting out.  I felt like I had to say yes to any request, because I needed the business, wanted to help a friend or just get my name out there.  As my business has grown, I’ve shifted to only say yes to custom requests that make sense for me and my business.  Yes I can do just about anything, but do I want to?

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

Whether you always put the administrative side of your business at the bottom of the list, or have a huge deadline and need extra hands, know that it’s okay to ask for help!  I have a hard time delegating, but have learned that I can’t do it all and especially do it all well, and started outsourcing the things that don’t bring me joy (like book keeping).  I’ve even taken friends up on offers when I had a huge order and just needed more people to get it all done – work smarter, not harder 🙂

Work / Life Balance is Crucial

Again, since my nights & weekends are the only time I have to give to my business right now, I am extremely conscious about how I spend those hours.  Each week I think about the items I have to get done for my business, as well as what personal things we have going on like date nights, dinner with friends, weddings, my workouts, games, home projects, etc.  I mentally plan out my nights so I can be productive and complete my to do list, as well as enjoy my life.

You need to have time away to just sit on the couch and be lazy occasionally and prevent burn out, plus it’s can be a great way to re-energize.  And I’ll never give up our football Saturdays in the fall… I just find other time to make it all work!

Value Your Time

This one not only sums up the previous 3 items, but make sure that you value yourself.  Say no to things that don’t make sense, don’t waste your time when someone else can help and make sure to keep your sanity and take time away. You only have 24 hours in a day, so don’t waste it!

With that said, don’t underestimate the value of your time either.  The time I spend on a project is typically the most expensive part of the price.  If someone doesn’t think your offering is worth the price, then they aren’t the right customer for you. Don’t compromise what you offer and know that time is one of the (if not the) most important things you can give!

 

I’ve learned these lessons over the last few years, but still find myself struggling with them occasionally.  Luckily my husband & mom are always keeping my well being in mind and keep me honest.  I find that when I can do all 4 of these things, I actually have extra time to be selfishly creative, which in turn makes me happy and reignites my passion for creating and sharing!