What I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Business

With Nini started merely as a hobby, a creative escape I guess you could say. When I launched With Nini on Instagram back in 2018 I didn't know how far I'd take it or for how long, all I knew was that I was burned out from my 9-5 office job and needed a way to "feel alive" again.

And now we're here. Still a very small shop but we're growing and trucking away. But this time, we have a better idea of where we want to take this and what we want this to become. I can probably ramble on and on about all of the ambitious goals I have for With Nini but I'll save that for another time.

Today I want to talk about things I wish I knew before I got to this point because hey, maybe you're in a position where you've got something good going but you're not sure if you should dive in head first quite yet or maybe, you're at the beginning stages of launching something incredible. Whatever the case may be, I want to share a little insight to hopefully ease the process for you!

1. You literally wear all of the hats

This ones a bit obvious and if you talk to anyone who is an entrepreneur, I bet they'll use this expression at one point or another. To clarify, I knew I'd have to wear multiple hats prior to launching With Nini. In fact, here is a simplified conversation I probably had in my head before launching: "I need to source all of my own products? No problem, I love shopping. I need to take all of the product pictures myself? Great, I love taking photos. I have to be active on social media to keep my brand alive online? Easy, I'm on the Internet anyways!" Here's the kicker, when you run a business you don't just do the fun things you already love doing.

At some point, if you really want to take your business to the next level, you'll need to dabble in to things that might not be your forte whatsoever. You might have to be your own UPS delivery person, your own graphics designer, and your own accountant-- on top of being a buyer, photographer, and marketing specialist. I dove in to all of this the moment I decided to run With Nini full time and my advice to you is, think ahead. Take the time to learn these skills one at a time rather than all at once. Don't be a Jennifer (me). 

2. Not everyone wants to be your friend

...And that's okay! This one's more of a life tip in general but it totally applies to every industry too. I'm a very "community over competition" type of gal and when I first jumped into this industry I assumed everyone was like that. Don't get me wrong, I feel like 99% of the creatives and small shops I've connected with are super friendly and supportive but there is that 1% that's in it for financial security only, not friendship. And that is 100% okay!

If you're anything like me, you need to learn not to take it personal if someone within the community isn't interested in talking or grabbing coffee with you in between customers at markets. It's okay that their priorities are different than yours and you don't need to feel bitter or discouraged because of these differences.

3. Elevator pitches are actually a thing

I'm a rather social person, some might even describe me as a chatterbox. So sparking up conversation at a party isn't totally new to me but you know what is? Sparking up a conversation as a professional, as a business owner is. At markets I can be my authentic, bubbly, and clumsy self because in that scenario you're building almost a friendship-like connection but let's say you have to do a sales pitch or someone asks you to describe your business on the spot. What are you going to say? This is where having an elevator pitch is important. As a small business, a lot of people might not take you seriously so it is up to you to really sell yourself and your business.

Practice your elevator pitch as often as you can-- yes, this is going to feel super awkward at first but hey, you gotta start somewhere! Soon the dreaded "Tell me about your business" questions will be a breeze to answer. Know what you're saying and say it confidently! 

There's so many other things I can add to this list but I won't because this blog would be a thousand pages long but regardless, I hope this gave you a little insight on what to expect if you're currently wanting to dive into the entrepreneur world. I should also mention that this blog was written solely based on my journey, so yours may look way different and that's totally normal and okay. Whatever you're looking to pursue... Good luck, friends! You've got this!

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