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FRESHMAN YEAR: What I Learned My First Year in Business

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Going behind the scenes at RANGE BEAUTY.

FRESHMAN YEAR: What I Learned My First Year in Business

Alicia Scott

May 3rd, 2018 brought along the anniversary of launching SKNY DIP Cosmetics and August 28th, 2018 brought along the birth of RANGE BEAUTY. A little over a year later, here I am still alive with only a few minor scars…WHAT!? HOW!! And with this year comes lots of things I learned since launching. Check out my top 6 lessons learned below:

 

1.       Hobby vs Company

·         You don’t have to decide right away but if you’re stuck between “this is fun to do sometimes” and “I would give my left nipple to do this full time”, you’re going to have to pick a road my friend. For me, I knew right away that I wanted to create a long-term lifestyle solution and not just a temporary side-hustle. When you decide the bucket you’re in, this also helps the mindset and outlook you have on your start-up. Is this just for some side dough for extra spending or will this be your ticket to self-employment? Am I cooking up a small batch here and there in my kitchen or am I researching the type of manufacturer I want? Do I tend to it in my free time when bored or do I commit every free minute to it reaching success?

2.       Perfect is Non-existent

·         I had to get the notion out of my head that everything had to be perfect before I launched. There is no such thing as perfect! Not in love, friendship, wardrobe, or business. Friends and family would ask when I would go live and my response kept changing; “soon”, “maybe next month”, “aiming for this year”. I had to set a realistic date and commit to it! I learned the difference between a “perfect” launch and a “professional” launch. Of course, I wanted my packaging, name, logo, website all to appear professional and customer friendly, but that does not mean perfect. Not to mention the complete brand overhaul I did after launching anyway!

3.       Start Small

·         I was trying to bust out the gate with Maybelline product range. Girl, nah. It’s easy to be so excited about your company that you want to have everything for everyone once your site is up. Being a self-funded, small business owner, this did not make sense for me. Pick your key product, your key solution and stick with it enough to see a trend with your consumers. Once you see sales roll in, so will feedback from customers and non-customers about what they hope you’ll offer. Assess the feedback and see if it falls in line with your brand vision and build your product portfolio from there. Remember, products should always be created with a problem in mind, your product is the solution.

4.       Go broke or Bust?

·         Take an honest look at your income and expenses, like real honest, that means those bottomless mimosa brunches every Saturday too boo! Now, look at how much you need to invest into your business. I realized it was okay and I was okay with keeping my 9-5 until I saw fit while running a company. My 9-5 helped fund the business while my passion for my company provided the motivation to do whatever I needed to leave when I felt comfortable. Don’t let people tell you you’re not invested just because you want to stack up a little more before jumping out the plane. Are these people covering your now 100% self-funded health insurance? Didn’t think so.

5.       Do Bad All by Yourself?

·         It’s very easy to get so wrapped up in your new startup baby that you don’t want to involve or receive help from anyone. At first, I wore many hats! I think it’s important to know different aspects of your business on a micro and macro level. Since I was working my 9-5 and then coming home to work on my company, certain segments began to become overwhelming. Graphic design was not my expertise and I was still learning how to utilize social media as a business versus an individual. I had to open myself up to assistance. Bring on the interns! Utilize different schools and internship posting boards for people looking to gain experience without having to empty your account on actual employees. Look into those blogs, buy those books, take online courses. Utilize the resources around you to help when it feels like you bit off more than you can chew.

6.       Celebrate Those Wins Damnit!

·         Jada Pinkett Smith recently released her “Red Table Talk” series and spoke on how expectations are thieves. She explained how expectations will steal the gifts that are sitting right in front of you in that exact moment. You become so focused on the bigger picture of how you expect something to be, that you miss the whole blessing already in front of you. This is so true in life but also business. Jump for joy over that first sale, bust the bubbly open when you meet your launch date, whether it’s your first $10 or $10,000 cheer for yourself! Don’t allow those moments to die away without celebration just because you were expecting something more or different. Allowing victories big or small to just pass by without acknowledgement can eventually lead to you asking what you’re even doing this for in the first place.

 

Every person will experience their own ups and downs, twists, confusion, wanting to give up, all of that when launching their first business. The above may or may not apply to you but I do hope it gives a little insight into some things I learned along the way.