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SHK The Advertising Firm
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LESSONS I LEARNED MY FIRST YEAR AS AN ENTREPRENEUR

Look Forward
Once you take the jump to go out on your own it’s important not to look back. In any decision you make there’s going to be what ifs and in this case much easier routes. Remember why you chose the entrepreneurship route and keep it moving. With your mind clear on the obstacles at hand you will be able to progress more effectively. When you do approach setbacks find a solution and get back to moving forward, harping on old problems will only hinder your chance at success.

Continue Learning
Webinars have become my favorite activity lately. Not only do they keep me motivated and generate exciting new ideas but also they keep me informed on new industry and business trends. Most webinars have a free introduction that allows you to gauge if the paid webinar will be beneficial to your needs. Whether you learn by webinars, seminars, books or going back to school; it’s important to continue your education to remain competitive. In the online world, technology and everything around us is constantly changing. To be an industry leader, it’s vital to be knowledgeable on what is happening in your industry.

Be Frugal
Quality and design is at the top of my list when it comes to my brand. However, I have had to remain conscious of the price being paid for it. In most scenarios there is an alternative that is similar yet more affordable for a startup budget. Being frugal will prepare you to better handle financial surprises that are bound to come your way. Realize that no matter what your budget is, there will be unexpected expenses and if you don’t allow for those unforeseen costs you can easily get into a bind and hurt your bottom line.

Know Your Worth
As a startup, the general perception tends to be that you are getting started so you must offer your product or service at an extremely low rate. Remember that 1) you started a business to make money, so you must charge money; and 2) that if your product or service is truly good, it is worth market pricing regardless of when your company was established. In the long run it is much easier to drop prices down the line than to raise them, so plan ahead and really analyze what your value is. Consistency in pricing is also essential, if you give one customer an item for free others will begin to expect to receive items free of charge as well and it will become near impossible to later charge for your product.

Get Everything in Writing
This was the hardest lesson I learned in my first year but I’m thankful that I’ve truly wrapped my head around the importance of this so soon. I come from a town where to the good ole boys a handshake means everything. Well unfortunately times have changed and it’s imperative to get everything in writing no matter the size of the deal. If someone is placing an order have him or her email you confirmation with all specified details to avoid discrepancies. If you have signed a contract on something large and the details change, update the contract and sign again. And I must stress to always keep a copy in your records. This will ultimately save you from confusion and in the event a contract is broken you will have hard evidence to back yourself up.

Enjoy the Process
I have extremely big dreams in terms of business and I have always achieved milestones in a timely manner. When I started SHK I naively thought that I would have plentiful clients in my first month. Depending on your business that’s simply not feasible. Good things take time, I have seen my business grow exponentially in my first year; however, looking back I am somewhat relieved I didn’t have as many clients as I do now from day one. I was able to make tweaks and learn as I went without the pressure of upsetting a huge client base. Even though I had done advertising previously I totally revamped every aspect when I went on my own, which took time to get the formula that fit my clients and myself. So many entrepreneurs say it but it’s so true, enjoy the process of growing, when the time is right you will catch up with your dreams but in the meantime learn, grow, and keep pushing.

Celebrate the Small Victories
Like I said I have big dreams however the small dreams are steppingstones to that and they deserve to be acknowledged. Not only will small achievements help you stay focused as you notice progression but they will keep your morale high. It’s easy to hone in on the day-to-day monotony but take time to step back and look at the big picture. Each inquiry, each new client, and each positive feedback received is a step in the right direction. Revel in those steps and try to make them happen more often. Do this and soon you’ll receive your first big win and I promise the first big win as an entrepreneur is well worth all the hard days.

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SHK attended the Create Cultivate Conference in Dallas and we're putting our new social media hacks to good use!
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