second year small business

Weekly Pep Talk: Fighting FOMO

We have all heard it preached: the comparison game is a bad one to play, especially when it comes to your small business. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is all the more prevalent in the small business community because of social media. And while I don't want to demonize Instagram and Facebook, I want to offer some context and tools to combat small-business FOMO. 

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1. Success is not always quantifiable

The number of followers someone has is not necessarily an accurate measure of their profitability or integrity as a company. I cannot tell you how many times I have come across other wedding photographer's profiles that had 3-4 times the amount of followers as me but were doing half the amount of weddings and making half the amount of money. This is NOT me bragging--simply saying that followers and likes do not equal profit margins or even reputation. There are several small business owners that I know that have a strong presence in their community and a robust referral system that have less than 1k followers on Instagram. The next time you come across a fellow business owner/competitor that has a greater following, remember that quantity doesn't not guarantee quality, and that an actual sale with actual people who will sing your company's praises is always better than a few extra digits on a social media platform. 

2. Different doesn't mean Better or Worse

When you see that someone has been featured, shared, or picked up by the big shots, don't freak out. Stressing over how you can get noticed is just going to take your focus off the things that are going to directly influence your business. Their experience, whether it was being published in a magazine, featured online, or whatever, might differ from your experiences, but it doesn't make them better. So your products or services haven't been published yet? That's okay! The experiences you have with your client/customer base is unique and integral for the growth of your business and keeping up the grassroots connections with your clients is infinitely more important to pursue than just being featured. Sure, being featured can be really helpful to growing your business, but if that is your main pursuit you could forfeit your integrity as a business. The next time you feel that FOMO creeping in when you see a fellow business owner share their news of being published, don't hate! If you truly want to be next, you have to be ready for it by ensuring the quality of your company in the waiting seasons. 

3. Missing Out on Something is Inevitable and HEALTHY

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The simple truth is that it is impossible to be at everything and do everything all the time. For those of us who have tried, we can all safely say it is not sustainable. We fail, usually miserably, and compromise our health and sanity in the process. We cannot possibly be amazing at instagramming, storying, blogging, product photography, client meetings, business development events, brainstorming, finances, taxes, inventory, email, etc., all the time. Something has to give, and guess what? That is true of everyone. So you get on Instagram and that person just posted a perfect photo and it is getting a ton of likes and comments, and you start feeling self-critical and anxious that you're not doing that. Just pause. Chances are if they are doing Instagram really well, there is something else that they're missing out on to make room and time for their IG posts.They chose prioritize that over something else, and that's okay. For your own sake, prioritize and do the core things well. Master the first things first. Yes, you're missing out on some things, but so is everyone else. If you miss out on a BD event or a popup shop to create more inventory or design better stuff, you might miss out on some sales or meeting new clients, but that doesn't mean you're missing out on chances to grow and learn in other ways. If you miss out on posting to Instagram today because you need a break from social media, that level of engagement can't be compared to the time of peace and rest you gain in an un-plugged space.  

 

Fight that FOMO friends! 

Joanna

 

PosyMarket Talks: Being Taken Seriously About Being a Small Business Owner

 
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Meet Laura:

She's the Girl Boss of PosyMarket. An online shop for all things vintage and adorable. 

When we were seeking collaborators Laura reached out about contributing. Below is her thoughts and opinions about being taken seriously as a small business owner. 

Want to know more email her at posymarket@gmail.com

Want to shop her store -> Click Here

Follow her on Instagram -> here

 

I was at a friend’s dinner party recently and folks were going around the table sharing what they do for a living. When it was my turn, I said that I own a vintage shop. And, as always follows, I was asked if I had an “actual” store somewhere and when I responded that I don’t, the conversation died.

I used to scramble and attempt to explain all that I do and ways that I sell, but stopped when I realized I’d already been dismissed. So, year after year, I’ve focused on ways to grow my business and be “successful,” but I recently concluded that I’ve been working toward others’ idea of success and my desire to be taken seriously by them.  

The beginning of a new year is when I map out the months ahead, where I’ll sell, where I’ll buy, ways to expand my reach with new customers and ways to encourage repeat business from past customers.  But this year, I’m adding another to-do regarding this serious business…talk it out and then let it go. Better yet, focus on being taken seriously by the one person whose opinion really matters: me.

Over the last year or so, I keep noticing a similar thread when I talk to other makers and vendor friends: we’re all wanting to be taken seriously. Whether that means a certain number of likes or new followers, getting into an actual brick-and-mortar space, wholesale customers or financial stability. We all want the acknowledgement and have developed tricks for getting it.  Like how a maker will not mention their non-related full-time job, because they don’t want their handmade business to seem like a hobby. Or folks like me, avoiding the “mompreneur” label for fear it’ll seem like our business is something we do to fill the space until the kids come home. (And, as a side note, how many business articles mention the number of kids a male business owner has within the first paragraph of the article?!)  Or owners that have P.O. boxes so that their home address doesn’t diminish their look, or, speaking of, trying to “dress the part” so that you exude your brand in every possible way. (The wonderful Grace Bonney of Design Sponge posted about this on Instagram, how she’s finally letting go of that wardrobe worry.) The list of “what-if’s” goes on: what if I…raise my prices, build a fancy website, teach classes, get a business mentor, participate in bigger and farther markets, talk about my company as “us” and “we” when it’s just “me,” collaborate with local businesses, host a pop-up, on and on and on. How many “when’s” and “what if’s” will it take to be taken seriously?

My advice.....

It’s the same that I give my eight-year-old daughter when she needs a boost: chin up and let it roll off your back. Surround yourself with a nurturing, creative, empowering network of like-minded makers and business owners. Share your frustrations and laugh about the naysayers. Don’t compare yourself to others; look at what you’ve accomplished.  Focus on your own goals and not the milestones you think others will recognize.  Be brave.  

I started taking steps toward this last year and they were crazy scary, so much so I had a very thoughtful doctor (and EKG!) tell me I needed to calm the heck down. A goal of mine has been to participate in bigger, regional markets and shop long-distance sales, getting outside my comfort zone of a 20-mile radius.  This meant, for the first time, disrupting my home life, making work trips, piecing together childcare and even having my full-time, in-an-office-working husband work from home so I could be gone. It meant renting a van and getting hotels.  It meant real-deal expenses and big-deal pressure.  And I made it through…learned a lot, dramatically improved my booth design, reached a lot more customers and made new dealer friends, but most importantly, it was the push I needed to say, “I’m really doing this. This is my work and my job. I am taking myself seriously. There’s no going back.” And it feels damn good!    

The 5 Minute A Day Business Building Challenge

We've compiled 6 items that can each be done in under 5 minutes that will not only boost your business but engage your audience, gain new followers, and push you forward in your entrepreneurial goals. 

1: Take an Original Photo

We're not talking an award winner but a photo that is authentic to you, your business, or a personal goal. Post that photo on social media. But it's more than just posting make sure you use appropriate hashtags that not only attract your ideal client but also gain the attention of fellow creatives in your field. 

2: Email Vendors & Thank Them 

Have you worked with a vendor recently? A wedding planner, florist, or calligrapher? Tag that business in a photo you took of them or your collaboration and publicly thank them. These vendors may even repost your photo or recommend you in the future so it's always a good to create positive and lasting impressions. It will benefit your business for years to come. 

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3: Reach Out To Someone You'd Love to Network With

What's the harm in sending an email? I've personally connected with a dozen or so photographers and other creatives in the the area  that I would have never otherwise met.

It's these little messages that can ultimately lead to great friendships, collaborations, and maybe even referrals to grow my business in a new market. These same principals remain true when you're establishing your business. 

4: Ask for a Review

You worked for your clients, now get them to do a little something for you. Send your clients emails with links for them to leave you a review. Reviews are a MAJOR selling point on peer-to-peer sites, wedding sites like WeddingWire or The Knot, and even Etsy. Reviews can really influence your customers so make sure you to reach out to the clients who have had favorable experiences. 

5: Drop a Business Card

Carry business cards with you everywhere you go. I can't tell you how many times I've been at an event and overheard someone ask about a wedding photographer, family photographer, or even event coverage. I've also handed out my friends business cards. Dropping a card to someone and introducing yourself goes a long way, and it shows your prepared no matter where you are. Even in the virtual world, if someone is looking for a recommendation throw your name out there. This is a great way to gain exposure of a new market and meet new people.

6: Take a Break

On occasion its helpful to take a step back, take a breather, and relax. Some of my greatest brainstorming ideas have come from driving in the car and trying NOT to think about work. Just like a machine, your brain and work ethic can suffer from overproduction and occasionally needs a little reboot. Don't neglect yourself. 

There you go! These are some quick and easy ideas of how to build your business in under 5 minutes. What are some of your 5 minute challenges you'd like us to incorporate into the list? We'd love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below. 

 

 

5 minute small business challenge