Our mantra this year is, “Stay in your lane.” It’s a phrase we repeat to ourselves often when those doubts, fears and comparisons start to creep in. We’ve talked to several small business owners this year through our Tuesday’s Together chapter and at various other speaking engagements and the one thing we hear often is that they do not feel qualified to get started. They do not have the training, the degrees, etc. These entrepreneurs are looking around, outside of their lane, and comparing themselves to others that are doing what they do. They feel that the market is already saturated and that there’s no place for them. We wanted to give you our top three tips for “staying in your lane” as you embark on your new small business journey – or even if you’ve been doing it for years and still struggle with changing lanes:
- Find Your Tribe (and love them hard): Someone coined this term, and we aren’t sure who, but we couldn’t agree more! There is room for EVERY entrepreneur in EVERY market. It’s hard to feel like you can’t get started because someone is already doing it better, but there is a tribe for everyone and it’s important to find your tribe (or clientele) and cater to those people in the best way that you can. If a client doesn’t go with your services, it’s not because you did something wrong, it’s just because they weren’t a great fit for your tribe.
- Highlight Your Strengths (and nurture your weaknesses): It’s so easy to fall into all of the things. We must admit, we have a hard time saying “no”. We take on a lot of projects because we just love helping others. But this year we are sticking to that mantra and highlighting our strengths. We are immersed in the wedding industry and love catering to our couples. We also love party, shower and event stationery. So when a potential client comes along and wants something that just isn’t in our wheelhouse at the moment, we’ve had to start saying no, and that’s hard. But we have to recognize where we succeed the best. We also want to take some time to nurture those weaknesses though (because they may be hidden gems). So when the timing is right, we may take on a different project here and there, but we always assess the lane we’re in and the timing of changing lanes before we do it.
- Keep Your Eyes on Your Paper We just loved this because A) we have so many teachers in our family and B) we work with paper, so we had to use this for our last title. We say this because it’s so easy to look around. It’s so easy to see what your neighbor is doing and wish you had that too. To wish you had that success, that following, that beautiful all-white bedroom and perfect size 4 waistline, but that’s not reality. Don’t be distracted by what your neighbor is doing to grow his or her business, work on fostering your own business and learning the things that work for you. Inspiration is great, and those late-night Pinterest sessions will always leave you longing for all of the things, but don’t change your own course because of those things.