How many hats are you wearing as a business owner?
How many hats are you wearing as a business owner? And which ones don’t fit? In other words, we’ve all got those little jobs that are part of the big job we’re just not into or honestly, not mentally equipped to tackle. Literally, this is the reason we’re a design duo at Bea + Elle rather than still working on our own. We each wear our own hats and we wholeheartedly share the ones we can swap every now and again.
Hats that absolutely do NOT fit me include SEO, remembering passwords, coding, making initial contact with clients, and in-person networking events. However, there are tools I use to make the jobs I do have to do more manageable. Here are some of the tried and tested ways I balance my business owner responsibilities whilst also functioning as a brand strategist and graphic designer ie. doing the fun part.
This might sound like a plug for our services, however, for the sake of your mental health a website is an investment that should be working FOR you. It’s overwhelming and depressing when you know it isn’t working for you. A website is an unnecessary expense (monetary AND energetically) if it isn’t working efficiently. We’ve felt your pain!
Above all, your website should be informative, functional, and automated. It should direct traffic to the right places and fill in any blanks potential clients may have. Automation means you’ll have fewer emails to answer, and more time to do the parts of your job you love. Creating these workflows takes time and can be a learning curve, there are people you can hire to do it for you, but to get started on your own you might need to sit down and just really focus. Getting started is often the biggest hurdle.
Your website represents you whether or not you think it’s important. Figure out how to get something in place. Even a basic, on-brand landing page with contact info and a description of your services is a great first step. Add a newsletter opt-in and you’re hitting that next level already! Your website shows up for you when you can’t show up for yourself. It can evolve as you go but you need to at least get it started.
If you’re not yet looking to hire someone you still need to get your brand seen and into those social media feeds. It’s marketing and advertising, and it’s pressure! If you’re going to put energy into something let’s make sure it’s the best you can do with the tools you have at your fingertips.
My strategy for content creation is to gather as many lifestyle, brand, and product photos, and graphics as possible and blossom them into a huge variety of content. Create content in batches, and upload it all to a google drive folder so you can see it all in one spot before scheduling it. If you already have blog posts or newsletters, those can be broken down to create content and captions for other platforms.
A well-crafted, high-quality blog post will provide you content for a newsletter, Instagram and Facebook captions, a pin on Pinterest, something to share on LinkedIn, and snippets to Tweet. Repurpose your content and use it on whatever platforms you’re invested in.
Firstly, creating and posting content is a beast on its own, I get it. Let’s just take a second to recognize and admit that. Secondly, once you’ve got content you need to figure out where exactly to post it. Once you’ve appropriately stressed yourself out trying to work out what to do with the content you’ve created you’re onto step three. There are post schedulers out there to suit everyone’s needs, which brings us to our “thirdly.” If you’re already using Canva to create your content, check out the built-in scheduler. Facebook also offers its business suite for scheduling and posting on Facebook and Instagram for free. Later will allow you to post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok, Linkedin, and Pinterest. There are options and they’re all very helpful, it might just take a minute to find the one that’s right for you. There is something for every budget, which takes the excuses out of not using them!
It can be lonely being a business owner! The support of other business owners is priceless; we have so much to learn from each other. Friendships are a huge bonus and being able to support others in return is also very fulfilling.
Network for your own mental health. Enroll in a local class, find a group that meets regularly, attend a workshop, go to the library. Be your whole self and not just your business owner self. This will help you avoid burnout, which seems to be looming just around the corner for most of us! Engage in networking and enjoy social contact for what it is. Engage other parts of your brain, expand your skills, step away from your desk… It feels good just thinking about those things!
I also personally like to adopt a less competitive mindset when it comes to business. This makes networking more wholesome for me. I’m not looking to take business from anyone else, rather I’m happy to recommend other designers that might be a better fit for my clients. This nurtures a less aggressive mindset and I can use that energy elsewhere. Plus, karma is on my side.
Build Your Team
Next up, build yourself a team of trusted support and service providers. Why? Because doing so will help you shed some of those hats you don’t want to wear. If you’re drawn to someone and their skill set figure out a way to invest in them. Investing doesn’t always mean money. Energy is also a very valuable investment. Show up for someone else because you believe in them. It’s The Golden Rule, right? Make a friend, and be open to collaboration.
We have a lot of help with our business from other skilled service providers. Our relationships with them began before we were able to pay for their services. Starting out, we’ve traded our own services for theirs, shown up on their feeds, and recommended and encouraged them. We invest in people we want to support. Just because you can do it alone doesn’t mean you have to.
In conclusion, there are so many ways to grow your business where you also stay sane. Growth for us has meant getting to a place where we can shed some of the initial responsibilities and tasks by investing in other service providers. We never want you to feel like you have to settle for specific tools and resources at your disposal. If there’s something you want, there’s a good, honest way of getting your hands on it but using what’s available is a good start. Stagnancy is one of the worst feelings when you’re trying to grow. Make little changes to your workflow, implement a new tool, and find support from a trusted source. These changes will motivate you and propel you forward as you grow your business.
Know that we’re happy to help. We truly believe there’s room for everyone at the table.