Taking basic business classes (accounting, for example) or even going all the way and pursuing a degree in business can be super helpful in helping you run your business, whether it’s your side hustle or your full-time gig. Obviously, learning anything and everything that you can business-wise only helps you to be that much more savvy, strategic and knowledgeable when it comes to pitching clients, making sales, closing deals, keeping up with your finances and more. But, there are many individuals out there who have never even taken the first business class and are running successful businesses that generate solid income, track expenses and pay taxes just fine. Know that while having a business degree is certainly wonderful and helpful, it is definitely not necessary to have when you are running a business.
I have a degree in Visual Communication and am educated and professionally trained in graphic design, but I’m TERRIBLE at math. By that, I mean that I literally have to get my iPhone out to calculate sales in stores and add double-digit numbers together. I’m not afraid to admit that — and that I’m definitely the perfect example of a right-brain user. Creativity? Absolutely. Numbers? No, thanks. Can I still run a business? You bet.
There are three easy things that I’ve done that help me run my business on a daily basis — and they will help you run your business, too, even when you haven’t sat in the first Accounting 101 college class.
1. Have a little fear, some crazy and a whole lot of passion.
This whole entrepreneur/running a business thing isn’t for everyone. Even some people with business degrees don’t always end up loving what they do and really “making it.” As long as you love what you do, the work will still be there and hard at times — but it will still be more enjoyable and rewarding. Because you’ve poured your time, talent and heart into it, when your business reaches success, you will be able to say that it’s because of YOU. The highs are high and the lows are unfortunately very low, but remembering why you wanted to run your own business in the first place is key. That ambition and “crazy” love will keep you going on the tougher days. Remember how lucky you are to get to do what you love and make a difference in your clients’ or customers’ worlds, every single day. Not everyone can say that.
2. Be a professional and an expert — know your stuff.
Be an absolute expert in your career field or industry — be the go-to person that someone can seek out for answers that they need. Your clients come to you and pay you because you’re the professional and the best at what you do, not them. Own your expertise and over-deliver — whether you’re providing a service or selling a product. And, even if you’re a new entrepreneur just starting out, also remember that the more you are available to be of help, the more that people will remember you and seek you later for PAYING work, even if they’re not paying you right now. Give things away for free (like downloadables on your website if you’re running an online business or a small gift to take home if you’re running a shop on the street.) People will appreciate it and respect you for it. More often than not, they’ll come back to you later for your actual services or products. Keep in mind that running your business the best ways you know how with your own skillset, tools and knowledge is all that matters. You can always hire a virtual assistant (VA) if you get loaded down with the everyday management of your biz, blogging and social media, an accountant to crunch your numbers and help you file your taxes or a business coach (like I recently did!) to help you look at your business differently, figure out what’s working and what’s not, implement new strategies and ways to do biz — and most importantly, help you to attract more dream clients.
3. Play with trial and error.
Speaking of working and what’s not, always remember that what works for a while, doesn’t always work forever. Running a business is all about trial and error, testing things and how to adapt to change when it needs to take place. What works for your business and helps you get to a certain place in the first year or two, doesn’t always get you to the same place by the fifth year. Software applications, ways to advertise and sell and social media platforms are ever changing when it comes to managing your clients, services and finances. Your audience’s needs change. Word-of-mouth referrals, within a few years, will sometimes run dry and you’ll need an online following or e-mail list to fall back on, when it comes to solidifying new clients. Your brick and mortar shop will hopefully always be successful, but if something fails and it doesn’t last, you might consider selling your products on Etsy or opening an online shop that’s part of your website. Sometimes, certain ways that you run your business will always work. But other times, other ways won’t always and you need to be prepared to adjust your sails and keep moving forward. Keep an open mind — learn what others in similar industries are doing and mimic some of those practices or tools in your own unique ways and see what happens.
So, you don’t have the business degree, but you’re a kick-butt entrepreneur who is excited, driven and doing the work. Do you have a logo designed? A website and social media platforms in place? Branding is one of the biggest secrets to a business attracting followers and paying clients — and achieving overall success. Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and ultimately help you to decide if you can DIY it all or if you need to hire a professional (like me!) If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!