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Saturday, June 27, 2015

11 things I've learned since starting a small business

  1. I use way more hashtags than I care to admit... because, #marketinng!
  2. I am now that annoying person on Facebook (sorry guys, I’m trying not to flood your newsfeed with events and posts from our business… I know you are looking for pictures of puppies, babies and buzzfeed listicles).
  3. There is an unhealthy correlation between my feelings of self-worth and the number of new "likes" our page receives in a day. Hey, admitting you have a problem is step one, right?
  4. Friends are incredible resources with seemingly infinite skills and talents you may not have even known about (like graphic design, web design, video editing, photography, race organization knowledge, local permit requirements, just to name a few)
  5. Friends & family members will do almost anything to support your small business, just shy of tattooing “our friends’ small business is THE BEST” across their chest- and let’s be real, there are even a few who might do that… 
  6. Oh em gee, I have a network?! I remember how desperate I felt to “make connections” after college because everyone stressed the importance of networking. Now, at 28, I am astounded by the network that has organically woven itself around me. All my bright, goofy, outgoing, fun-loving and talented peers are becoming successful entrepreneurs, academics, government officials and business professionals. 
  7. I’ve learned the value of a dollar. It took months of hard work, planning, investment, anxiety and self-doubt before we finally used our Square app for the first time. I will never buy another sub sandwich or coffee without thinking twice again. 
  8. Warning: the people working at Square,Inc will do nothing to alleviate your start-up anxiety. Speaking of number 7, just a heads up- if you purchase a square app, the square app people will send you bi-weekly emails saying things like, “we’ve noticed you aren’t using your square app” and “is there anything we can do to help you get started with your square app?” right up until you finally process that first payment….
  9. Technology has made entrepreneurship a viable option for young people with limited resources. At every turn, there has been an app, website service, meet-up group, or online company available to meet our small business needs. From marketing, payment processing, and online scheduling to hosting a race, finding sponsors, connecting with consumers, and finding local printing companies, technology has altered the capital requirements that would normally be a significant barrier to young people trying to enter the market. 
  10. People are good, kind and generous. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness and support of the community, strangers, clients, other businesses in Duluth and of course, our friends and family. (Have I mentioned how much this process has revealed to me about the awesomeness of my friends?)
  11. Go for it. Ideas are a dime a dozen- for all your great ideas, there are one hundred others with the same great idea. Be the rare person who takes a risk and acts. Don’t be afraid to pursue that wild idea you’ve been contemplating for the past few years- all the world will conspire to help you succeed.

“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” 

“All The Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin’ In The Sun,
Talkin’ ‘Bout The Things
They Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda Done…
But All Those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All Ran Away And Hid
From One Little Did.” – Shel Silverstein, Falling Up

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