Whether you’re a seasoned businesswoman or still in the early stages of launching your brand, running your own personal empire takes a lot of work. I learned this lesson a little over a year ago, when I was a 21-year-old fresh-faced graduate with a shiny new degree and a business that was mine to run.
I’m a writer and editor living in Vancouver, Canada. For four years I worked at my alma mater’s campus publication, and at the end of it all I was handed the reins. With both excitement and nervousness I took on the task of running that crazy ship, and I learned a few truths about the pressure of running a small business along the way.
It’s not all glitter and gold. There were a lot of late nights spent tapping away at a keyboard and a handful of tearful breakdowns over the immense scope of it all. The first of many lessons I learned was that communication is vital.
As a communications major, you’d think I’d have this all figured out. The truth is, one learns to be an effective communicator through mistakes. Lots of mistakes. I didn’t mind if, as a team, my colleagues and I fell behind schedule.
As long as I knew what was missing, I could breathe, because I could come up with a backup plan. Not knowing what I needed to do to get a newspaper out the door at the end of the week – essentially fumbling around in the dark – definitely made things more complicated.
Having good communication skills, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. The next big lesson will be learning to delegate. The truth is that you won’t be able to do everything by yourself. I tried and failed, and in the end I had to accept that I couldn’t do certain things, and that was OK!
I had to take a step back and look at the big picture while assigning small tasks to my team members. Plus, if you’re a perfectionist like I am, you’ve got to learn to break free of the habit of nitpicking.
And of course, I also learned to never lose sight of your passion. If you don’t have the fire in your belly to see your project through to completion, don’t expect someone else to have it for you. That’s why you started your own gig, right? So get out there and start turning your dream into something tangible. Just don’t forget to ask for help when you need it, and remember to have fun!