4 Lessons We Learned From Our First Year In Business
We did it, housemates, WE DID IT! The ladies of the House of 334 just celebrated our first anniversary, and Year One was way better than expected.
When Andrea–our resident business and social media strategist–approached Kim and I with the idea to pool our talents together to create the House, we quickly jumped on board. As professionals with years of experience on our own, we felt we could help even more people, particularly fempreneurs, if we worked together. So we created the name, hammered out our mission, and started grinding.
In just a year, we’ve racked up multiple clients from across the professional spectrum–corporate, non-profit, and solo entrepreneurs–and we’ve been super busy in a way we didn’t quite see coming. But it’s been an amazing year full of hard work, dope clients, and surprisingly hefty profits.
As we head into Year Two, we’ve set our intentions and goals for the year–including an ambitious profit goal–and we’re excited to get started on actually making it happen.
But before we dive all the way in (ok, who are we kidding, the grind hasn’t stopped), we wanted to take a few moments to reflect on what we’ve learned in our first year of business.
When we first came up with the idea for the House of 334, we spent a lot of time getting clear on who we wanted to serve. And while we didn’t want to be TOO stringent about exactly who our ideal clients would be, we absolutely knew our target market wasn’t “everyone.”
Starting a business can be nerve-racking and making money is a real concern. But you cannot appeal to everyone and expect to be successful. You have to speak to a specific audience and serve them to the best of your ability. You may end up reaching a wider section of people in the end, but that’ll be because they recognize your excellence and want to be part of it, not because you have no clue who you want to work with in the first place.
Systems matter, especially when business begins to ramp up. In the beginning you may be able to tend to all of your brand’s needs by hand, but as you add clients or services, it’ll get harder to keep up. Early in our biz life, we invested in project management, conferencing, and social media tools that have continued to pay dividends today.
Yes, you’ll have to spend a little money up front, but hopefully you’ll be making enough to cover it…and then some.
Speaking of money, don’t be a afraid to charge what you’re worth. In the beginning, a lot of entrepreneurs either slash their prices just to build their portfolio, or they feel uneasy about charging market rates for their products and services because they think they don’t have the experience to do so. That’s BS.
Before you start selling anything, determine your “happy rate”–the amount that feels fair based on the products/services you provide–and continue to raise your prices as your business expands.
We certainly started out charging much, much less than we were worth in the beginning, but we’ve been steadily correcting that error ever since.
Sh-t happens, and you have to be able to roll with the punches. While every entrepreneur has a plan, things are constantly changing and you’ll have to be able to change with it. Never be SO caught up in your projections and outlines that you become so rigid you can’t pivot when your business needs it.
In short: Definitely plot out where you want your business to go, but just know that sometimes you’ll have to throw it out the window and change course so you can really thrive.
What lessons did you learn during your first year in business? Drop them in the comments section below!