Martha and I started this business when we were both working our butts off in corporate jobs, and we thought: if we are willing to work this hard for someone else, why not work for ourselves? So, we became entrepreneurs. Here's what we have learned so far:
1. It's easy to start a business. It's challenging to keep it going (successfully). You can have a side hustle on Etsy, or make some money having a hobby. But to quit your job and go fulltime for yourself—that's the hard part.
2. You need conviction in what you're doing. You have to believe that what you're doing is worthwhile.
I believed in Martha, and she believed in me. Together, we believed 1,000% that our products were better, safer, and less harmful than the things out there.
The question was, "how do we get it out there?"
3. All the resources you need are already available. You might feel uncomfortable at first, but there are a million resources out there.
Martha taught herself how to build a Shopify site, how to crop images, how to make a business from the ground up; she just put the effort in. Forums are your friends. Do your homework and people will help you. That's something people don't know.
4. Don't worry about it being perfect. Your business plan doesn't need to be 10 chapters long. You need a concrete image, but you can get that down to one sheet. Think of it as a brief, and remember that it's called "brief" for a reason. Have a vision, keep it short and make it happen.
5. Be honest with yourself, about yourself, and with others. We had a mentor in the beginning who told us: no matter what, be honest. It has been our guiding principle. Years ago, a company we'd started took a nosedive after the recession of 2008. To survive, we had to rebrand and focus on one singular product: Action Wipes. We didn't have the money to do it "right," but this mentor told us: tell people you're pulling the labels off, and you made the new labels on your inkjet printer. And we did. And people appreciated that honesty and supported us through the transition.
6. Tired of working for the man (or woman)? If your business starts to move and succeed, you are the man or woman. Be the best one you can aspire to be, because you're it. Be kind to your employees, and be very clear about what you're trying to do.
7. ALWAYS GET THINGS IN WRITING. In contracts, in agreements, in any deal. Trust us on this one.