What I wish I knew before starting my business - 5 tips

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What I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Business 

by D'Arcy Benincosa

5 Wisdoms For Those Just Entering Entrepreneurship

What I wish I knew Before starting my business

If you are running your own business or thinking about starting your own business, I just want to give you a high-five. 

People. This is hard work and is not for the faint of heart. If it were easy, more people would be doing it. But they aren’t. 

And you are. So—high-five. 

Once, I was a young, starry-eyed D’Arcy, just starting out in the world of entrepreneurship. I was naive and unexperienced…and I now look back at that season in my life and really wish someone had opened up to me with the sorts of mind-blowing wisdom I am about to leave with you.  

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Business

1 – Do Not Do As Many Trades As You Are Probably Doing

When you have a product that really helps people, you will find other businesses knocking down your door with offers of trades. For example, if you are a photographer, expect to get lots requests for headshots at first. 

It is easy to enlist the help of trades when you are first starting out, to both save money and to get your work out there. And trades are not 100% bad but you need to do them strategically and in a way that protects both you and your business. 

Always have contracts in place.

Always have contracts in place, even for trades. I found, when starting my business, that a lot of people did not keep up their end of the bargain and it was damaging to my soul. 

I would give them amazing photos and never receive what I was promised. 

So have them sign releases (so you can use their images) and sign contracts (that clearly outline what is being traded). 

You Also Don’t Have to Do It For Free

Instead of just giving your work away for free, consider charging. Maybe forgo trades all together—especially trades that don’t really help you—and just charge. 

Charging shows you value your work and yourself. 

2 – Start With a System

Before really growing in your business, make sure you have a good daily workflow in place. Use a calendar, planner, client management system (like Honeybooks, Dubsado, etc) and stick to it. 

Most of us start with long to-do lists penciled on scrap pieces of paper. We jump from one task to another, often not finishing what we have started.  

Having workflows in place and being proficient in time management will only help accelerate your growth. 

Pencil in your top tasks from your never ending list and try to get 3 done in a day. Don’t try to tackle the world. 

Batch your days so you have specific days set aside to edit, to market, to grow your social media. 

And establish set work hours so you won’t feel tempted to get coffee with people during your work day. 

You can do all of this on your calendar, in a good planner, or through a client management system. 

3 – Know There Will Be Obstacles

Believe, expect, and know that problems will happen—and that YOU have the knowledge to deal with them. 

There is not an entrepreneur out there who has not faced a hurdle that felt insurmountable at the time. Equipment will break, people will not be happy, and there will inevitably be miscommunications. 

Business is a constant flow of things going right and things going wrong. 

But know that you, the goddess that you are, have it under control.

My rule of thumb for dealing with obstacles is this: 

Don’t be emotional. 

Don’t take business setbacks as a personal attack on you nor take it as meaning your busienss is failing. Setbacks happen. Things break. You may make a poor financial decision. 

Wait to Respond

If you are dealing with an unhappy client, always wait 24 hours (or at least the night) to respond. 

During that time, think about the best way to serve them while still keeping your own boundaries. 

Never respond emotionally to a client. Respond from a place of calm, clarity, and gratitude.

Learn From Your Mistakes

When you mess up—’cause you will—learn from your mistakes and move on. Don’t let it destroy you. Let is motivate you. Let it create rowth. 

Expect things to go wrong and don’t let it destroy you when they do. 

4 – Do Not Ask Family and Friends For Advice

Just don’t.  

Why?

The intial reaction of most of your friends and family is to protect you and keep you safe. And this is fine and is all done out of love. It is, after all, how we evolved to keep us safe. 

And as you may know, over here at D’Arcy Benincosa, we are all about Playing It Brave, stepping out of our comfort zones, and living in abundance.

If your family and friends are not in the middle of your business, they will give you advice based in scarcity, not fear. And you want to avoid that at all cost. It will do nothing but hold you back.

My advice? Get in a mastermind and get a business coach who will give it to you straight, set you on the path to abundance, and guide you to a successful business. 

What I wish I knew before starting my business

5 – Love yourself. 

This may sound cliche but it is so so true. 

When you run your own business, you are going to naturally want to put everyone else first.  Your children, your spouse, and your clients – it’s easy to always put their needs above yours. 

We crave success and think that to be successful it is all or nothing. 

And while I am not at all suggesting you neglect your children, your relationship, or your clients, you do need to be constantly aware of your own pesonal needs, making time for yourself and honoring your own feelings.

Start scheduling a self-love routine early in your career. Your body and your mind will thank you. Meditation, yoga, and bubble baths have all been places I can go when I need to look inward and foucs on myself.

Have strong boundaries (ie: set work times, no emailing after hours, etc.) is another way to honor yourself and help keep your mental health game in check.   

Loving ourself also comes with the practice of forgiveness (towards others and ourselves), intentional kindness, and making our bodies a priority with healthy food, regular exercise, and the benefit of being outside, enjoying Mother Earth’s magical healing energy.

Start Your Business with a Strong Foundation

So there you are, the 5 things I wish I knew before I started my business. I know that if I had started my business with these things in mind, I could have avoided a lot of heartache and setbacks. 

One of my favorite things with coaching fledgling entrepreneurs to help them avoid the same mistakes I made, giving them room for quick and intentional growth. 

Do you want to go deeper into Play it Brave? And BIG? And BOLD? Come listen to the Play it Brave podcast and binge your way to a better business and a better life.

Want to up level your portfolio so that it screams elegance and luxury? And brings in a luxury paycheck? Check out my most popular course, The Profitable Portfolio and be on your way to $10k wedding clients.

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Not booking $10k+ weddings?

Play

It Brave

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tune in now

A few of my favorite business tools:

CREATIVE LAW SHOP

Contracts, Privacy Policies, and more. Use code DARCYB10 for 10% off!

goodlight Presets

Struggle to match your digital to your film? You've met your match. Use code PLAYITBRAVE to get $50 off!

pic-time

Say au revoir to lazy galleries! Use code DARCY to get your first month free.

tonic site shop

Crappy website? Say no more. Get 20% off a template with code PLAYITBRAVE. You're welcome.

Learn my simple tweaks you can make that will have you attracting your dream clients with the portfolio you have TODAY.

free guide

Have no time to submit
to publications?

Don’t let your images gather dust on a hard drive – GET THEM SEEN (and gain street cred too).

free training

Not booking $10k+ weddings?

binge-listen

Play

It Brave

podcast

A few of my favorite business tools:

CREATIVE LAW SHOP

Contracts, Privacy Policies, and more. Use code DARCYB10 for 10% off!

goodlight presets

Struggle to match your digital to your film? You've met your match. Use code PLAYITBRAVE to get $50 off!

pic-time

Say au revoir to lazy galleries! Use code DARCY to get your first month free.

tonic site shop

Crappy website? Say no more. Get 20% off a template with code PLAYITBRAVE. You're welcome.

Have no time to submit to publications?

Don’t let your images gather dust on a hard drive – GET THEM SEEN (and gain street cred too).

free guide

Learn my simple tweaks you can make that will have you attracting your dream clients with the portfolio you have TODAY.

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