It Takes a Village: Small Business Lessons We've Learned
It’s been two months since we made the leap and started our own company. It’s been a crazy rollercoaster ride so far and we have a long road ahead of us. But it’s all about the journey, right? With the many ups (and some downs) experienced, we’ve learned countless lessons so far. Here are some key ones that we’ll carry with us for a long time:
Lesson 1: There Are a Lot of Really Good People out There
We were so surprised by all the support we've received. Countless people have offered help and guidance along the way. We got officially up and running thanks to Elisabeth Mahoney at Bartlett, Pontiff, Stewart & Rhodes, PC; business and financial guidance from our two great counselors at SCORE; design inspiration and lessons from one of our favorite design studios: Brainstorm; and office space from the great people at Behan Communications! And last but definitely not least, we were able to lean on family and friends for emotional support during the whole process. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Lesson 2: Collaboration Is Key
Great work often comes from great collaborations. When we reached out to agencies, designers, photographers, and creatives in the area, it not only opened the door for collaboration on projects, but we gained valuable insight on how to run our business. We are so excited to be working on some collaborative projects, and love hearing from creatives in the area who offer resources or talents that are different from our own!
Lesson 3: Get Help
We realized early on that no business owner has the capacity, time or resources to do everything on their own. Having a lawyer, accountant, banker, and insurance rep from the get-go is vital. While our Sidekick team of three works great together, it’s reassuring to know we have a larger team to help the gears turn.
Lesson 4: Say Yes
I think we’ll continually surprise ourselves throughout this journey—and our lives—at what we are capable of. There are so many intimidating things out there, but if we said no to the things that scare us, we wouldn’t grow—and Sidekick Creative wouldn’t be here. There have been times when it would have been much easier to say no and breathe a sigh of relief while hiding under our desks. But trust us, in the end, saying yes can be so worth it.
There are also times when you need to say no, which leads us to our next lesson:
Lesson 5: Follow Your Gut
There is so much decision-making involved in being business owners. Sometimes, no matter how much time you put into discussing and how many pro/con lists you put together, you just have to go with your gut instinct. Trust us, you’ll sleep better at night.
Lesson 6: Big Things Can Start with the Smallest Action
Don’t not send an email because you think it might be weird, don’t not introduce yourself to someone because you feel socially awkward, and don’t take a name off a mailing list because you think that client is unattainable. So far, our biggest successes have come from the smallest interactions. Maybe it’s luck, but everything has to start somewhere.
We’ve come so far in two months. We started out with a small handful of projects while working out of Will’s second bedroom. Today, we’re in a real office with real clients and are less than a month away from kicking off the retail portion of our business and couldn’t be more excited. Thank you to everyone in our “village” that has helped us along this wonderful journey!