Starting your own business can be a mammoth task, no matter what your background. It is also an incredibly exciting time when you’re full of ideas and goals that you want to see through to fruition. New offers! New clients! New possibilities! Everything feels so fresh, new, and full of possibilities.
Unfortunately, for many new business owners, the sharp realities of running a successful company may find you in a pickle: compromising your values and ideals in order to grow more quickly. Turning a blind eye here; using a questionable marketing tactic there; compromising priorities, ethics, or values for a short-term win. Those grey areas can turn murky fast and leave you wondering who you've become and what kind of monster your business has turned you into.
It doesn't have to be that way. There are ways to start a business without compromising on yourself. Here are a few ideas to help:
Define Your Core Values
In Dreamblazing (which is free in the member area!), we begin by defining what success looks like for you. That includes your values and beliefs. You can't feel successful if you're compromising your integrity - no matter how many goals you hit or boxes you check.
Define your core goals and ideals clearly. Know what you're playing for and what really matters to you beyond your creative business. When you start a business, you will have many ideas about how you want to run things, and some of these will inevitably change as you go.
It's also helpful to know your non-negotiables - the things you simply refuse to compromise on. It will allow you to be more flexible elsewhere whilst sticking to your guns when you have those difficult meetings and conversations. Defining your ideals is a first, vital step towards protecting them, and writing them down in a clear, concise manner will remind you and help you communicate to others exactly where you stand on the things that matter most to you.
Utilize Partnerships and Outsourcing Early
Delegation, outsourcing and partnerships are often woefully underutilized by new business owners. You may think that you need to wait until you're a larger or more established business. Not true! Even if you've got a small company you can find help. Part time VA's and other remote workers abound. Or check out ‘Basics of Starting a New Business: How a PEO Can Help’ to learn how a Professional Employee Organization can assist you in hiring necessary staff without the added costs and effort of setting up your own payroll structure.
Make Time For Planning
The planning phase of starting a business is one that many people skip over or rush. I get it. You want to get things going NOW and you want to be successful yesterday (especially if you're a Fusion Creative like me!). This planning time is vital, though, and you should make the most of it by taking it slowly.
Allow yourself thinking space to consider all the possibilities ahead, and all the potential roadblocks in your way. By conducting your planning thoroughly, you’ll be protecting yourself and your integrity for the future. You’re far less likely to have to compromise on one of your ideals after an unforeseen problem if you have already considered the possibility and developed a solution that fits your values. This kind of planning is not always possible in a crisis, so taking your time in the first place is a hugely valuable thing to do.
Planning for your goals and dreams - as well as potential crises - is what separates successful business owners from those who pack it in a year or two after they begin.
This isn't an exhaustive list, just a starting point. I'd also recommend gathering trusted advisors as you build, plan, and grow your business. Friends you trust to tell you the truth, a coach to help you see potential stumbling blocks and plan ahead, and a community of colleagues who have your back. If you're still looking for that fit, join us in the Creative Freedom Incubator. There's a tier that's right for where you're at in business and we'd love to welcome you to our family!