What Advice I Wish I'd Gotten Before Starting My Business

What Advice I Wish I'd Gotten Before Starting My Business

Nearly every time we interview a creative entrepreneur, we ask what advice they wish they’d gotten before starting their business. Here’s what they told us.

Start small

Several creative entrepreneurs mentioned beginning with a modest approach, evaluating the business concept, and proceeding with caution when expanding.

“It’s critical to have passion for your idea and to make the necessary sacrifices and investments to get it off the ground…Ultimately, you have to prove out that your business model works and will deliver against planned expectations. If you can self-fund and start small to prove your concept, doors will open to support your growth needs, including traditional bank funding. This approach could be your key to scaling while retaining full or majority ownership.”

Lucie Voves, Church Hill Classics

Have patience

It’s important to have patience and be committed to putting in the time. Success doesn’t happen overnight, so it’s important to set realistic expectations.

“Be patient. It’s easy to get frustrated when things don’t go our way or when we don’t see immediate results. But remember, good things come to those who wait.”

Chau Saenz, Chau Saenz

“Have patience. There are two things that are true: everything is going to cost more than you think. And, everything is going to take longer than you think. Just be patient and stick with it.”

Soraya Benitez, MommaBear Organics

Gain business skills

Of course being creative is important, but it’s equally important to have a grasp on the business side of things. This includes understanding finances, planning, marketing and operations.

“I wish someone had told me that while passion drives a business, it’s the constant adaptation to market needs and meticulous planning that sustains it. Embrace change, and always be ready to evolve.”

Pallavi Pande, Dtocs

“Financial advice! I think it’s the thing that gets in the way for us creatives. It is not a strong point of mine. When I say that, I’m not referencing simple everyday finances and personal finances. I’m talking about finances pertaining to business, like equity, income statements, and profit and loss statements. If you didn’t grow up in a family business, this kind of stuff, you never get into it until you start a business of your own. It is definitely something you can learn, but if it was things I knew prior to starting it would of saved me a lot of money and positioned my business.”

Janyelle Milton, J. Marie Premium Sneakers

“Keep your tax stuff organized! The artist in me needs to find the accountant in me. The ability to bounce between being creative and the responsibilities of owning and upholding a business are equally important. Setting aside time to take due diligence can save a lot of aggravation at the end of the tax season.”

Beth McLacklan, Elizabeth Lee Artistry

Network and make connections

Many interviewees emphasized the importance of having a strong network, finding mentors and actively participating in their local community as essential for business growth.

“Looking back, the one piece of advice that would have been incredibly beneficial when I started Hudson Avenue Company is to embrace the power of networking and seeking mentorship. Building a business can be a solitary journey, but it doesn’t have to be.”

Gloria Young, Hudson Avenue Company

“Looking back, I wish I had a mentor who could have guided me in owning and appreciating my artistic abilities.”

– Bonnie Monteleone, Plastic Ocean Project

Practice self-care and ask for help when you need it

When you run your own business, work and life can get tangled. Several entrepreneurs we interviewed found it important to take care of their well-being and find a balance between work and life.

“It’s okay to ask for help! Don’t try to handle everything on your own. It’s okay to take breaks, you don’t need to burn yourself out to achieve great results.”

– Elisa Lyew, Elisa Love Bites

“I wish someone had emphasized the importance of effective time management and work-life balance. Running a creative business can be all-consuming, and it’s crucial to find a balance that allows for both productivity and personal well-being.”

Madhuram Prabhakar, Madhuram’s Eggless Cooking

Be resilient and embrace mistakes

Many interviewees believe that mistakes should be seen as valuable learning experiences rather than as failures.

“When you embark on a creative journey, there are many twists and turns. Pursuing your passion is never a straight line. My advice is to be resilient, roll with the punches, and be willing to adapt to changes. Always be open to learning as technology and times change and you want to be relevant. Most importantly: don’t give up!”

Rekha Krishnamurthi, Divine NY

“That every part of the growth and development is important. That means in the beginning, when there are many business uncertainties, you are learning how to solve them and gain confidence. The obstacles you tackle now make you stronger and more resilient for what’s to come.”

– Mary Chatowsky Jameson, Saltwater Studio

And now it’s your turn: What’s one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you first started your business? Share it with us here—we may use it in a future article on Artisan Joy.

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