When you first start your business it can feel down right AWKWARD. I’ll admit, when I started Lavender and Sea I cringed when people would call my business by its name. I felt like a fraud, like I was just playing pretend. It’s a weird feeling but I know it’s not foreign because I know a lot of people who have felt this way. In fact at Christmas my Sister In Law said “How is Lavender And Sea doing?” and it was the first time that I didn’t feel uncomfortable about hearing my company name talked about (I had also just gone full time the month before). With that said, even if you feel uncomfortable you’ve got to take your business seriously, or no one else will!
Here are some things that helped me feel LEGIT
Getting professional photos of yourself whether headshots, photos of your tools or photos of you doing your thing are SO IMPORTANT, especially in today’s world of social media. I know that branding photoshoots can be expensive, however there are ways to get those shots without dropping what feels like a small fortune when you start your business.
Trading: Offer to trade with a photographer. Now here is the catch, only ask to trade if you are sure that you can offer the photographer something that is enough value to them to equate to the value of what it would cost them to do a photoshoot. For example, I traded a logo design for a photoshoot with a photographer, the cost of my logo design is what she would have charged for the photoshoot, it was a trade that we both felt comfortable with (and that benefitted both of us). This is not an opportunity to take advantage of someone else, each party should get something valuable out of this exchange.
Styled Shoots: These are great opportunities to meet other wedding vendors. When you participate in a styled shoot you are getting great photos of your work (typically) and the other vendors are also benefitting from the items you bring to the shoot (i.e. the photographer is getting to photograph flat lays and beautiful calligraphy for their portfolio). Often times I’ll ask the photographer if they can sneak in a few photos of myself, either styling something or pretending to work on a sign, they always say yes. Now don’t take up a bunch of their time, just ask them to snap 3-5 photos of you really quick but also be ready for them to say no if they don’t have time.
Invest: Your other option is to invest in a photoshoot. Sometimes putting money up front into a photoshoot is just something you have to do. Those photos are going to be so valuable in your business moving forward and you really want to have a professional presence online.
GET YOUR BUSINESS LICENSE
It’s so simple, easy and really inexpensive. Apply for your DBA (I went down to my local County Recorder), follow their instructions (you usually have to run your name in the newspaper for 4 weeks), then get your business license in the city you reside in. It’s so simple and it makes you feel seriously legit, plus legally, you should have this taken care of if you are a real business.
START SAYING YOUR BUSINESS NAME
Now that you have your business license with your BUSINESS NAME start using it like it’s real, because it is! Get business cards made, announce it on social media (get an instagram account for your business if you don’t already have one). When your friends ask you how you’ve been say things like “I’ve been great, Lavender And Sea is doing well and I have a bunch of projects I’m really excited about”. Words are powerful and you must believe in your company, talk about your business like it is a REAL, THRIVING business.
OPEN A CHECKING ACCOUNT FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Gosh, this is one I wish I would had done sooner. Come tax season, it was a nightmare to separate out my business and personal expenses. This year I made sure to open a checking and savings account for Lavender And Sea and it was LIFE CHANGING. You need to see how much money is coming in and how much money is going out for expenses. You need this, there is no getting around it. Plus it makes you feel really legit to see your business name on a credit card… just sayin’ ;)
Just remember, you’ve got to take your business seriously or no one else will. Even when it feels awkward or uncomfortable, push through it. Pretty soon those people who you think, just think that you just lay around all day at home and watch Reality TV will start believing that you are running a legit business! ;)