5 Things I’ve learned from my first year running a business

Your first year running a business, what you need to know during your first year of running a business, creative business tips, how to run a creative business, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

Today marks The Blog Stop’s one-year anniversary! Time has FLOWN by. I remember this time last year, locking myself in my office for days, making sure everything was perfect for the big launch. I had no idea what the next year would unfold or where it would take my business. It was a year of learning, growing and laying a foundation down for even more business growth.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty about what I’ve learned from this year, I really wanted to reflect on some of the year’s highlights. As far as I have to go, and as much more as I have to learn, I think it’s really important to identify the successes. They are often what give me the extra push to keep going & try things outside my comfort zone for the sake of my business.

 

Your first year running a business, what you need to know during your first year of running a business, creative business tips, how to run a creative business, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

YEAR-ONE SUCCESSES

1. Launching the blog design template shop

2. Publishing 22 blog posts

3. Tripling business revenue from what it was last year

4. Launching a website rebrand & relaunch

5. Quitting my desk job to run The Blog Stop full time

6. Booking my first styled shoot

Now, without further ado, here are the top 5 things I’ve learned from the first year running a business.

 

1. Just do you.

Run your business however you want. There are so many people out there who think they know how to run a successful business. And they are probably right and have experienced success from their methods. But this is your business. If you don’t want to focus on email marketing, don’t. If you don’t want to sell a digital product, don’t. If you don’t want to create a course, don’t. I started thriving & experiencing the most success when I let go of trying every business tactic out there and just started creating something I loved. A lot of my time was wasted by trying to make someone else’s strategy work for me when I should have just been pouring all my energy into the parts of my business I love.

Your first year running a business, what you need to know during your first year of running a business, creative business tips, how to run a creative business, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

2. Push yourself.

This has been my theme for the year. And for me, pushing myself has primarily looked like creating my own content. Aside from client mood boards, every single thing I’ve published or put out there this year has been my own content. It’s been VERY time consuming and has stretched me both mentally and creatively. But I can see how much my work has improved in this last year. The biggest growth takes place when we force ourselves to try new things and exercise skills we’re uncomfortable with.

 

3. Identify where you are already successful.

For me, this meant reaching out to ProPhoto. I’ve been working with them on client projects for years but had never even thought about asking them to add me to their designer network and sell my work in their shop. Because I’d already developed such a good relationship with them, they were excited to bring me on board and working with them is now my #2 source of revenue!

Where are you already spending your time? Who are the people you’ve already built trust with? How can you turn those relationships into something that will push your business forward in a new way?

 

Your first year running a business, what you need to know during your first year of running a business, creative business tips, how to run a creative business, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

4. Simplify.

When I first started The Blog Stop, I had dreams of selling courses, doing custom design work, hosting webinars, having passive products in my shop, the list goes on! A few months in, I realized that it was pretty unclear to an outside viewer what I could do for them. There were WAY too many options. In general, people get overwhelmed by choices. And if you have too many choices, they’ll most likely pick none. Give your client 2-3 price tier options and keep it at that. It will be less work for you and your future clients will have an easier time saying yes to working with you.

5. Take breaks.

This is something I had major guilt about this year. I would work really hard on a launch or project, completely burn myself out and quit running my business for a month. But I realized that breaks are ok. As long as the basic day-to-day pieces are in place (my website works, I’m answering emails, etc.) I don’t need to constantly be launching something new or making my business bigger and better. Yes, there are definitely times to go balls to the walls and do something awesome. But it’s ok to take time to rest, recoup and be inspired for the next great thing.

I can’t wait to see what year #2 holds. This has been a year of laying a foundation and I have so many ideas for where to take The Blog Stop next. I’m grateful for the neverending support of my husband, family and friends (both IRL and online). Running a business has required the most work of anything I’ve done in my life. But I’ve enjoyed (almost) every second of it and wouldn’t have done it any other way.

xx,
Ariel

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