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Five things I wish I had known early in my business

Nov 13, 2011 | 2 minutes read | Entrepreneurship

Guest blogger Nyla Free shares lessons she learned when starting her business. This post appears as part of our resources for work-at-home moms, as well as in our series Small Business 500.

1. Hire out weaknesses

Let’s admit it: mothers like and need to multitask. For the most part we’re good at it but the fact is it’s not entirely productive. Early in my business I spent a lot of time procrastinating about the things I despised doing, multitasking many items with no clear results, and eventually with frustration. When I came to the realization that I wasn’t good at everything, I accepted my weaknesses and hired them out. Doing this will leave you with more time to do the things you love, you’re good at and in turn make you more money.

2. Form a network of likeminded people

Feeling alone in your business is normal but it’s not necessary. I completely underestimated the value of forming friendships with people who were in the same industry as me. It took several years, almost eight actually, to make friends with other designers and decorators. Now we share stories, experiences, use each other to bounce ideas around, and we’ve created a real sense of camaraderie and friendship.

3. Get out there

Attending events regularly will help connect and further the reach of your business. So do it. Don’t be shy. Take a friend, your husband, use it as a weekend to get away if it’s an out of town conference. Networking, learning, and meeting new people is imperative to getting your name and business idea out there.

4. Create a social network

Let me just say I avoided this like the plague, and now, I regret not jumping in sooner. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and now Google+ (to name a few) are avenues of furthering your reach. Aside from brand building, it’s another way to meet people, connect with peers and also people who may be able to use your service or help you promote it. The opportunities have been opened to me since Twitter — and, yes, finally Facebook — are things I never imaged doing.

5. Be authentic

“If you are your authentic self, then you have no competition.”—Scott Stratten of ‘UnMarketing.’ This is a powerful statement. Once you get it and believe it, it will change your business. Even though there are many designers, even in the same city, I have my own style, approach and type of clientele. Embracing this builds confidence and eliminates insecurities — one of the best things you can do for yourself and your business.

—Nyla Free is owner and principal designer at Nyla Free Designs and Design Contributor with Dabble Magazine. Nyla Free Designs is a full service interior design studio, and also offers online design through Design in a Box . When she’s not transforming homes, she is caring for two girls full of energy and attitude, and one style-obsessed husband.

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