Ever thought I wish I worked for myself? I should start my own business and run it my way. Many wannabe entrepreneurs fight that first step – the step that takes them way out of their comfort zone and into the unknown. They keep asking their friends and family whether the time is right, and the truth is that there’s never an ideal time to start your own business. Take it from The Retail Duo, if you wait for exactly the right time, you’ll never do it. About a year ago we decided to take the plunge (during a pandemic) and just say YES to the possibility that we could create a great business together - and we haven’t looked back since.
How did we know it was time to launch our business?
Cross your t’s and dot your i’s
It is fun to get excited about launching a business and there is something to be said about saying it out loud and watching it come to life. However, the back end of the business is not always glamorous, BUT it is essential. Having items in place such as agreements, contracts, legal documents, waivers, insurance, and of course registering your business name, and HST numbers are all critical. Calling upon your network is a great start, but you may also want to invest in hiring professionals to keep tabs on things. Turning your side hustle into a revenue generating machine can happen faster than one may think. So, we highly recommend the you set aside time before your official opening date- cuz its going to be a wild ride once you launch, and you will want to enjoy every single second of it.
Branding assets are a MUST
Be clear on who you are as a business. If you do not have that in place, then it may be time to set aside some brainstorming and again consult a professional. (Cough, cough – we do that too!) Knowing your target audience and tone of voice is essential. Colours, fonts, graphics, and images that properly project who you are and how you wish to be viewed are make it or break it aspects of today’s online reality that will literally sway a client to choose you over someone else. Think beyond trendy colours and images and take time to make your logo and mission statement right.
If you build it, they will come
The huge task that is a website is something that can become very time consuming but one task that is highly rewarding. Analyzing what services and content you would like to feature is a big first step. Adding in imagery and supporting text doesn’t just happen overnight. Testimonials from clients also add value and are a must on any site. Consider a booking or calendar system. How will clients contact you and how will you schedule appointments? Will you have an email list? Blog features? Have you created a price list or menu? These are just a few topics to cross off your list. One thing is for sure when you press that ‘go live’ or ‘publish’ button – it is for real now! In our experience the saying holds true – “if you build it, they will come”. Suddenly, literally overnight we became “real”!
Even if you feel that social media is not your thing, it is important to ‘get in the game’. Start small and be consistent – would be our two top takeaways. Also, know what medias work for you. For us we love Instagram because it is so visual – a true complement to the visual work we do. It almost serves as a photo album for us too. With the links now to Facebook that covers off another channel for us. LinkedIn is important to us because we not only value our network of supportive colleagues, but we always are inspired by others. With more shares and interest than our other channels we like to focus on LinkedIn through our comments, re-posts, and blogs.
Content in the wings
It matters not which social channel or website format you select as a starting point but building content and having your own personal, high-quality photos is something that nobody can prepare you for! In our case Diane comes from “living the stylist life” so she is familiar with the time and attention that goes into building content and arranging photoshoots… and then the time-consuming step of editing said photos. It is a good idea to again, call in the pros prior to launching your business and having a library of images to pull from. For us we gained momentum right away and were asked to send head shots, bios and other images for features and collaborations. On top of meeting with clients and running the business we would have never had time to add in a photoshoot!
Everyone asks us “how did do you guys start your own business so quickly?”
The truth is we just broke it down into small steps and built upon the brand little by little. Then, we kept saying yes to job opportunities that we felt connected to and forged forward with conviction. Was starting a business a lot of hard work? Affirmative. But was the juice worth the squeeze? Absofreakinlutely!