I’ve been a business owner for a few years now and a lot has changed from when I first started out. Part of this experience is that you are oftentimes learning as you go. I know that when I first began TGA, I looked to other business owners for advice on what I should do. Some things I still implement to this day! I am a wedding planner by trade, but I hope that no matter what line of work you are in (or planning to be in one day) that you find these helpful! So, here are my 5 tips for running a business:
1. Make your business legit Whether you decide on making your business a sole proprietorship, LLC (limited liability company), or a corporation, making your business legit is a great first step. When we first started TGA, we were a sole proprietorship. As the business grew, we moved over to an LLC. Even when I had only two clients under my belt, I still made it a point to legitimize the business. We also quickly filed for some type of insurance that protected us from any liability and damages that could potentially occur while planning an event. Even though we didn’t have much business in the beginning, this was an important piece to the puzzle because it made us a little more professional and protected our butts if anything occurred.
2. Create systems that are easily trainable One thing that I wish I paid more attention to when I first started out was to set the business up as if I had a whole team working under me. A lot of the ways I did things in the beginning of starting TGA really only made sense to me. When I brought on staff, it was really hard to explain why I did what I did and train them on how to do it. So my advice - plan for the future. It won’t always be just you doing everything (I mean that’s the goal), so set up systems that can be easily taught and trained for new team members.
3. Content plan at the beginning of the month One of the things that took up all of my time everyday was posting on Instagram. I used to say that if I could outsource one thing in my business it would be posting on social media. Picking what you want to post and coming up with a caption took me over an hour to do one post (yes ONE POST) and it drained me. Now, we dedicated one day to get the majority of all the content pre-planned for the month. It’s not only saved me time, but it has made me enjoy being on social media again and actually engage with people. We use the app Later, but sites like Planoly and Buffer are also good. Hot tip: You will need to link up a Facebook account in order to have your content automatically post since Instagram and Facebook are one in the same.
4. Use a CRM software or project management site to streamline invoices. Another huge time saver and something that I recommend to everyone is to use a CRM software. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and typically these sites will allow you to send out inquiry emails, brochures, invoices, and payment reminders. Prior to making the switch over to a CRM, I was manually sending invoices. It was so hard to keep track of payments and where people were at in their project. Your time is money, so wasting it on tasks like this when there are programs that can help with it makes no sense. The software we use is HoneyBook and it has been a total game changer. Most vendors will have their preferred CRM, but I did a few trial runs before I landed on HoneyBook. Personally, I find their straightforward portal, easy to use templates, and the ability to customize contracts based on a client’s needs makes it super user friendly for someone, like me, who is tech illiterate. If you are interested in trying out HoneyBook, they have a one week free trial period. If you love it as much as I do, you can get 20% off for one year with my referral link.
5. Intuitive Working
Last big tip, and it is a no brainer, is to make time for yourself. I fall victim to this a lot. I will work hard for several days straight with no days off, get completely burnt out, and then not want to work for an entire week. It’s super unhealthy and a terrible way to manage time. What I have been more mindful of doing is practicing Intuitive Working. Much like intuitive eating where you listen to your body and fuel it with things that it wants, intuitive working tasks yourself with listening to your body and mind and giving it what it needs. There is balance here of course. There will be times where you need to really set structure on when you are working, but as someone who classifies herself as a creative, the structure doesn’t always fit. I need the ebb and flow with what I will do today. Sometimes that even means working outside of the office to recharge. Oddly enough, choosing to not work for an entire day (or two if I am honest) has allowed me to be extremely productive while also enjoying what I do with no resentment.
Photography Credits: Megan Moura
Just in case you missed it, here is the referral link to get 20% off of your first year of HoneyBook.