Advice to Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Leah Alexandra StudioLeah Alexandra Entrepreneur BlogEntrepreneurship has always been one of my favourite subjects- I could listen to startup stories all day long. It has been nearly a decade since I launched my jewelry line and I’ve learned some things over the years to share with all you dreamers and risk takers.

Live & breathe it and keep going… Be obsessed and nothing less. Get as much experience in every facet of the industry, which in my case included an internship with a goldsmith and working various jobs in both the wholesale and retail sides of the jewelry business. I loved the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell where he dissects success stories and explains how researchers concluded on ten thousand hours as the magic number for true expertise in any industry. The point is if you work hard enough and assert yourself, you can shape the world to your desires. Achievement is talent plus preparation.

Wear a lot of hats but know when to take them off  Okay not literally, although I do love a good hat! In the very beginning when budgets can be limiting- you have to manage a lot of roles and make it work. For me that meant not only being a designer and making the jewelry, but also being a photographer, graphic & web designer, bookkeeper, managing sales, marketing, PR & employees on top of that. If I didn’t know how to do something, I’d learn how. There are so many resources online. The other side of this is when business gets going you will start to spread yourself thin so you have to know when to let go, delegate, ask for help and hire people to do the tasks that are not necessarily your strength or area of expertise. No one is good at everything and seeking quality help is the key to achieving more.

Build your community. Building a business on your own can be all consuming and isolating when you’re just trying to keep plugging away at all the building blocks. Take time to build relationships with other like-minded entrepreneurs. Share trials and tribulations. We all have something to offer each other whether it’s support, inspiration to think bigger and keep striving, or simply a new app that makes something in your life easier!

Money Talks. When you get your first order don’t be going on a spending spree- think about where you can reinvest in your business. Hire another employee, buy a piece of equipment or spend on a marketing strategy that will help you grow. When considering a purchase or expense, ask yourself “Will this translate to sales?”

Forget about “work-life balance” If you’re passionate about what your building, you’ll be immersing yourself head on. For years I have struggled with what balance was supposed to mean and feeling guilty that I wasn’t achieving it. I have a never ending pile of clean laundry that never seems to get put away, am always lacking in the grocery department, and often worry I’m neglecting family and friends. Don’t beat yourself up over it, you’re doing your best and you’ll figure it out eventually.

Follow your dreams and have fun doing it! Pursue your passions and you will get so much more out of life. Create something you’re proud of. Life is not a dress rehearsal so get out there and do it and don’t forget to find the humor in everything- including the setbacks! (Photos by Brit Gill)

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