New Business. New Fears. New Successes

If I told you that starting and running my own business was a piece of cake, I would be lying. I spent 11 years of my marketing and communications career working for a company. Whether it was media behemoth Viacom or a local agency, I reported to a

boss, received a paycheck, and went about my merry little way. I had structure and precedence to guide me every day, which was awesome.

Fast forward to today, I recently celebrated the first anniversary of my marketing agency, HALCON Marketing Solutions. I am extremely lucky that I survived my first year. That said, I still have a very long way to go to achieve all my dreams for HALCON. My journey has only just begun.

If you're thinking of venturing out into your own, I have a few #REALTALK words for you.

Don't be enamored with the idea of being an "entrepreneur" or "business owner."

Running your own business is no joke. I’ve spoken with a few individuals who are so focused on being able to say, “I have my own business” that I wonder if saying the words is more important than doing the work to get there. Before you take the leap, you also have to be mindful of all the pros of working for your current company (i.e. security and peace of mind). Owning your own business is not glamorous, especially in the beginning stages. I cannot stress enough how big of a decision it is, so you must spend the proper amount of time dissecting your reasons and asking yourself all the “whys.”

Don't assume "being your own boss" means you're working any less.

When you work for a company, you may take your work home with you here and there, but you do not have the success of your overall business on your mind. When you have your own business, this “thing” that you created becomes your baby. The business, your employees, the quality of your products and services all of a sudden become a representation of you. Before you take the plunge, think about how you want to run your business and decide on your typical work hours. However, remember with a big undertaking like this one, expect late nights and early mornings as you get your business off the ground.

Don’t forget to do your research!

Before you start a business or even a blog, make sure you look at your competitors, the market, and your own personal finances. Is your market oversaturated with businesses like yours? If so, how is your business different than the rest? Why would a customer want to go to you and not someone else? Do you have enough money saved up if revenue is slow? How much money do you actually have to put in to get the business off the ground? What are all the unforeseen costs? There are so many questions to answer. Make sure you answer them all!

Marketing, Marketing, Marketing!

When you start your own business, don’t expect customers and clients to just flock to you as soon as you build a website. Marketing in all its forms is integral in building awareness for your business and generating leads and prospects. Marketing is also an investment, not a mere cost. What I mean by this statement is that expecting revenue to come in 24 hours after a campaign begins means you’re looking at marketing solely as a cost you need to recoup as soon as possible. Becoming a brand and being top-of-mind with customers is a process. Once you launch your business, remember to have a marketing plan to attract your target audience.

I don’t want to scare you from starting your own business, but I am also all about #REALTALK. You should follow your dreams, but I am also a believer in being responsible. There’s a certain level of self-awareness needed in this whole journey. It’s important to dig deep and figure out why you want to do this. What are the real reasons you want to “be your own boss?” Pair this self-awareness with data and your research, and you’re already setting yourself up for success.

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