What it was like before it worked.
It’s easy to look at business owners who seem like they’ve figured it out and wonder why they got a break when they built their business.
The truth is, every business owner has a “before it worked story,” but because building a business requires time, traction, and persistence, we don’t often hear about businesses in their “before it worked phase.” We don’t often hear about businesses until other people are talking about this, which often coincides with success.
Did you know there have been four recessions since the 80’s? Companies who exist today and were able to make it through those challenging times were able to push through some really difficult circumstances in order to come out stronger. You don’t hear about companies who didn’t make it through.
Something from nothing
As entrepreneurs we take something that’s nothing make it into something with a process. People don’t see all of the challenges that you go through, the hard work that you put in, the late nights and early mornings, and the rest of the hard stuff.
They look at your business because you figured out through a lot of trial and error what works and what doesn’t work. You’re doing things that are helping to build your business because you went through a lot of things that didn’t work.
Want to get better at business? Grab this free PDF: 9 Things Smart Entrepreneurs Do , where I share lessons learned from running a business.
Simply Integrated before it worked
I graduated with an MBA, and I always knew I was going to be an entrepreneur. When I was 7, I started my first business of taking a sign language course from the library and then charged all of my friends to take the same course from me that I had just taken for free! I always had that entrepreneurial spirit in me.
My dream was to open a high-end day spa, so after graduating, I moved to Illinois and started working for a dermatology medical office hoping to get some experience on the spa side of things. I learned very quickly that the spa business model and what was required to run that type of business were not for me.
I pivoted quickly with a 90-day notice and decided to open up my own business doing work that I gained satisfaction from. I knew that I liked seeing projects from start to finish, not doing the same list of tasks every single day. I built a business where I could do that work and wake up, enjoy and find satisfaction from finishing projects.
The challenging beginning stages of business
I took on a lot of different tasks in the beginning, whoever was willing to pay me I would do work for them. HR work, social media, writing, editing, policy and procedure manuals, etc. In the beginning my business was very widespread. The more I worked with clients the more they said, “we want marketing.” So I sunk my teeth in and self-taught in all of the marketing that I do for paying clients:
- Content management
- Conversion optimization
- Identifying your target market
- How to craft effective messages depending on where clients are in the buying cycle
- Setting up a multi-channel marketing program.
It’s all self-taught because I put the time in to figure out how to be successful. The time I was spending learning how to acquire the in-demand skills was time no one was looking to me. It was my “before it worked” stage where no one really cared because I hadn’t proved myself het.
What new business owners have to understand
There are a lot of hours that people don’t see when you put the hard work in and that’s okay. What separates people who create successful businesses and those who don’t is persistence. If you’re willing to do it you just have to know that you’re willing to do it until it pays off.
Bootstrapping: building a company from the ground up with nothing but personal savings and cash from the first sales
I officially launched my business in June of 2015. I took a few months to start my business while bootstrapping. I was living off of the savings that I had built up. I didn’t take out a loan to start my business. For a long time I was really just making ends meet.
I remember a time when I looked at my phone and saw $0.63 in my bank account and I had bills due the next day. I only paid them because I had a client that happened to pay early, which was certainly a God thing!
I remember taking a screenshot and saying, “I’m going to remember this day and I’m going to talk about this day because this is a challenge in my business that is really testing me.”
Now, I smile on that time in my business because I know for certainty that no body creates a successful business without weathering the storms…no one!
If you’re in a $0.63-scenario, keep focusing on what’s in front of you. You’ve got this!
Identify where your threshold for discomfort is and realize you’ll need to exceed it regularly
Now I’m at a point in my business where I have the funds to invest, hire a team of contractors, put money back into my business, my bills get paid, we’re able to take vacations and do fun things on the income that I’m able to contribute to my family. However, there was a day when I didn’t know how it was going to work. Can you relate?
There was a period of about 18 months where I took a part-time job. I took work when I needed to, it hedged the risk of the volatility of income in my business and I was able to provide for my family. I don’t think a lot of people know that or stop to listen that there WAS a point in time where I did whatever it took to make it successful.
Every successful entrepreneur has their own “before it worked” story
For those of you who are sitting there wondering why isn’t it working for you – know that everybody goes through that season of their business where they don’t know if it’s going to work, they don’t know how they’re going to make consistent income or are waking up in the middle of the night wondering where their rent check is going to come from.
One of my favorite stories was Rachel Hollis saying after people were calling her an “overnight success,” “don’t call me an overnight success it took TEN years I’ve been grinding for TEN years to be this overnight success!!”
We only see Rachel Hollis in the spotlight because she worked so darn hard to get there and she worked for so long!
I think as entrepreneurs we need to respect each other’s journeys and hard challenges that we have gone through – the awkward moments, the hard decisions that we had to make, the years where you know you don’t get a vacation, you don’t get healthcare paid for by a company… you don’t get these things that come with a 9-5 but you choose that it’s worth it. We need to respect that in each other’s journeys.
My 3 secrets to success
I don’t by any means think that I’ve “made it,” but I think I’m at a point where I can breathe a little bit and I have some flexibility to decide where I want to take the next stream in my business.
I’m very, very, very thankful for the community I’ve surrounded myself with. In fact, I think there are three things that have been for my secrets to success
Alone, I don’t have what it takes but with community, I can do anything.
2. A “do what it takes” attitude
If it aligns with your moral compass you have to do it. Nothing is below you when it comes to building your business. It may feel uncomfortable, awkward, grind your gears, make you feel you’re frustrated, or bring out emotions that you’re not used to.
3. Being a forever learner
Pressing play to the podcast when you jump in your car even if it’s 10 or 15 minutes, digging into blog posts instead of scrolling Facebook, finding a mentor and saying to him or her, “Hey, how did you do this? Tell me everything.
Everybody’s challenges are going to look different and that’s okay. That’s what you talk about when you’re 5- 10 years down the road.
If you are pursuing a dream right now, I just encourage you to go after it and crush it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, FRANCIE HINRICHSEN
Hi there and WELCOME! I’m Francie. There’s something you should know… When my feet hit the floor every morning, my soul is on fire to help people start, grow, and market the profitable and successful business they dream about.
I started this business, Simply Integrated, in 2015 and have fallen madly in love with teaching small business owners how to run their companies more successfully and marketing to impact bottom line profitability.
My knowledge and experience comes from earning an MBA and from coaching small business entrepreneurs while managing and marketing their projects. I focus solely on business strategy and marketing and created this blog to help others run more successful businesses. If you’re interested, you can read more about me on the About page of Simply Integrated’s website.
WE WANT TO DESIGN YOUR COMPANY’S MARKETING STRATEGY
If it turns out we’re a good fit to work together, I’d love to help drive customers to your business and positively impact your bottom line. Get in touch for a free consultation. To get in touch, use this contact form, email us at hello@SimplyIntegratedLLC.com, or call/text us at 309-431-2266.
Check out our list of services below:
- Small business consulting
- Digital marketing