- Colleen Watson
I Started A Business With No Money. Time To Party!
I’m a solopreneur, a one woman show⎯for now (Trust me, I have big plans!). This is a fact, and not a very glamorous one in the day-to-day. Owning my own gig means that most days, I’m alone writing or marketing or out networking. I pay all the bills, set all the goals and pay the price when I fail to meet them. But, though I started my business with no money and minor enterprise, to the outside world, it is a small but mighty entity to me, and it deserves a kick-butt kickoff party. So, I gave it one. My local Chamber of Commerce lets you hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for free as a perk of membership. It took a bit to work out the logistics, but I went for it and you should too. Why?
Reason #1: Honking my own horn
In the words of the incomparable Dolly Parton: If you don’t honk your own horn, how will anyone know you’re coming? Like it or not, no one will race to your store, physical or online, just because you hand out a shingle. Businesses cannot exist without marketing. Knowing this did not stop me from starting one without a clue, or anything like a marketing budget. Or, any budget. Or, even more honest, an idea on how to market. I’ve come a long way in a short time. Still, I need to make some noise and this will help. Bonus, I’m doing it in a way that doesn’t feel salesy and on the cheap (I mentioned the no budget thing, right?) Double bonus, it puts me in front of the clients I want to work with local small businesses.
Reason #2: Makes It Real
I know it’s real, but since I spend most of my time alone, the knowing and the feeling can
become disconnected and it the whole enterprise starts to feel slippery. Worse, you tell people
that you own a business and you get the nod. The ‘Oh, that’s nice, please God don’t tell me
anymore!’ look because pretending interest is more of an investment than they wanted out of
small talk. Or horror, you get the fearful, please don’t start selling to them. Why would wouldn’t
they? No one will ever get why you feel so passionate about this. And unless they won their own
business, none of them understand the grind of running one. Now, I have the chance to celebrate
it with people who get it? Knowing that fails to stop you from feeling deflated by their reaction.
Pass me the big pair of scissors, and lets cut that ribbon!
Reason #3: You’re Walking Your Talk In Public
All small business owners of any size spend a lot of their time involved in tasks that are more administrative than they (me) might like. Worse, the early days are not about cash flow, so despite knowing all this stuff matters, it can often feel like you’re spinning your wheels! Shining a light on your business is a neon sign on you doing the stuff you really want to do, the meat of your business. It’s exciting. And reaffirming. This, at core, is what you do. That doesn’t mean you aren’t back to doing the admin stuff tomorrow, but for a day, you actually are what you do and that’s amazing!
Century Plant Publishing is open for business. I have a website (hi, welcome). I registered it with the Secretary of State. I got a DBA and an EIN number. I opened a business checking account. I have business cards. I’m growing my networking group. Yet, most days, it feels like a hobby rather than a business. You don’t have a ton of customers. You’re still feeling out what you’re really doing and everything feels tenuous. And everything you read says, get used to it, this is a normal state of being for the rest of your business life. Yea! Why did I want to do this again? It’s hard. This is hard. It’s worth it, but, well, you know. Face this truth, and, when you have the opportunity, throw yourself a kick-ass party!
Colleen Watson is President of Century Plant Publishing. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org