When I decided to leave my career as a TV news reporter to start my own video production company, I had no idea what to expect. The only thing I ever wanted to do was become a journalist, so becoming an entrepreneur just wasn’t even a thought…until December 2012. That’s when it hit me that there was more out there. I realized that I could continue pursuing my passion for storytelling without working in the chaotic world of local television news. I craved balance and I had always wanted to try documentary filmmaking, so in August 2013 I closed my eyes and jumped. It was both thrilling and terrifying, but here are five business lessons I’ve learned in the past 5 months.
- If you build it, they will come – I remember hearing this in the old movie “Field of Dreams”, but didn’t appreciate it until now. I developed my business, Stories to Inspire, for 8 months while working my full-time job. It was no easy feat, but I made sure the website launched on the week that I left and worked hard to leave in good standing. I knew my reputation would be key to my success. Having the website ready helped me snag clients immediately after putting the word out.
- You are capable of more than you realize – Running a business seemed overwhelmingly daunting at first. The idea of getting from here to there seems impossible sometimes. But, as my friend jokingly told me “one step at a time young grasshopper.” Everything I didn’t know, I found online or asked someone who did know. I am constantly networking and watching tutorials to learn new programs. And often times, it comes down to trial and error. I won’t lie, it can feel very, very uncomfortable to step outside of your comfort zone, but when you have no choice but to sink or swim – trust me, you’ll find a way to swim.
- Your clients are your boss – As a TV reporter, I had two or three bosses who didn’t bother me much as long as I met expectations. Now every client is a boss. I strive to meet their video needs and bring their vision to life on camera, and even though I am technically my own boss – the client has the final say.
- People will support you – It still amazes me at how many people have been willing to offer advice, services and send me opportunities. Don’t be afraid to lean on your network. If people believe in you and what you are doing, they will go out of their way to help. People like to see others who are following their dreams.
- Have tunnel vision – As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get distracted with other opportunities. I call it the “shiny penny syndrome”. Don’t chase too many things at once. Stay hyper focused on whatever product or service you are passionate about and gifted at. It’s your moneymaker.
If you are considering starting your own business or questioning whether to pursue your dreams, you can do it with hard work, preparation and determination. The first step is to make a decision. I believe in you.