I remember bringing my business license home like it was yesterday. I poured myself a cup of tea and I sat down at my breakfast bar while the piece of paper that declared I was going to attempt to be my own boss trembled in my hand. Running a business seemed out of reach, mysterious and other worldly. I remember wondering, desperately, how others made it work? What were their secrets? Today, if you’re interested, I would like to share five of my personal secrets for running my business.

BUSINESS SECRET #1: DON’T RUSH A LAUNCH
A business will always have new launches, as there are new services and new products to unveil each year. Although new ideas are exciting (to be sure), don’t announce a project or service to the public until it is completely ready to work for you.

You know when you’re in the dating scene and somebody promises they’re going to call you the next day but then days, maybe even a week or two goes by without anything? And then when they finally do call you’re pretty much over it? The same principle applies in business.

If I say a service is coming soon to the public, I have everything lined up, researched, organized, tested and ready to go before I make that announcement. This way I can move from announcement, into execution quickly and effectively. I don’t leave people hanging, I build trust and I can run a new division confidently, competently and without a ton of stress.

As tempting as it may be to share all of your wonderful ideas as soon as you have them, trust me – don’t do it. Don’t rush a launch and don’t tease your audience with wishy-washy timelines. Deliver well polished products consistently and you’re business will see a huge boost as a result.

BUSINESS SECRET #2: GOOD THINGS DO NOT COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT
Very rarely do people have amazing opportunities land on their desk from out of the blue. Similarly, very few people become overnight successes or ‘viral sensations.’ Amazing opportunities are made by the people who work hard for them. So get out there and introduce yourself! Approach businesses or individuals with whom you’d like to work and put on your negotiation hat. Ask directly for what you want. Start creating your own opportunities and nurture them. You will have a greater likelihood of working on projects that are true to your brand and that will further your brand as a result.
BUSINESS SECRET #3: OFFERING LESS CREATES A BETTER EXPERIENCE
We live in a world where we’re told it’s important to be able to do a bit of everything (more or less). Well, let’s think about that for a moment. Where would you rather go for dinner? A restaurant that delivers a menu with 82 dishes from all over the world or a restaurant that has 8 dishes focused on Mediterranean themes?

Chances are you’re opting for the second restaurant. Why? Because in the foodie world it is understood that less is best. Those eight dishes are more likely to be incredible because the kitchen has the time, focus and resources to make each plate absolutely amazing. Whereas the first restaurant more than likely delivers so-so meals lacking in flavour because it is impossible to do everything well.

The same is true in your small business. Just because you have dozens of interests, doesn’t mean every interest is business worthy. You cannot do everything really, really well. Focus on the few things that you excel at and over-deliver on those items so the experience is impeccable. Suddenly, everything from your word of mouth, to work systems, to marketing campaigns, becomes elevated and more successful.

BUSINESS SECRET #4: YOUR BUSINESS ISN’T ABOUT YOU AT ALL
It’s perfectly normal for there to be an element of ego present in a business – after all, you are creating something from scratch. But the purpose of building a business isn’t about you at all. It’s about the service or product you are delivering to other people. Sure, you may have started your business so you can work on the beach whenever you want, but if your customers don’t support your business, that beach is going to remain in day dream land.

Therefore, your customers are more important than you, the business starter. Shift your thinking, your language, your approach and even your emotions away from you being the centre of the business and instead place all of the above on your customers. They are the heart of your enterprise. This shift will revolutionize your business and strengthen it through and through.
BUSINESS SECRET #5: YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE IS A TEENY SLICE OF THE REAL PIE
What you show online is only a teeny-tiny fraction of the work involved in running a business. For example, last year on Instagram I posted about 160 unique images from client shoots. What people don’t know is that I delivered approximately 20,000 unique images to clients in 2016 alone (I have an app that keeps count for me).

Similarly, social media and blogs don’t accurately capture all of the admin work, research time, meetings, strategy sessions, prep work, post-production work, contracts, mentoring sessions or the million other tasks that are necessary to keep your business thriving.

In other words, if you’re posting to social or your blog routinely and that’s it, it’s not enough. Embrace the nitty-gritty behind-the-scenes details that make your business tick. Over time, you’ll learn to love the business only side of things and that is the part that you’ll become passionate about vs. just what you share online.
{BONUS!} BUSINESS SECRET #6: YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Our body is a machine and without great fuel it can’t function, which means we can’t work. I used to drink coffee/espresso when I worked, but it made me jittery and quite anxious without warning. In the end, espresso inevitably impeded my focus and productivity.

A month ago I switched to Organic Cemeronial Matcha Green Tea from TEASE, a Canadian company dedicated to ethical tea production and donating a portion of proceeds to organizations that empower women.

This vibrant green powder when mixed with hot water, a dash of warm milk and a drizzle of honey provides me with a much needed caffeine boost, as well as antioxidants and Vitamin A. Plus, matcha green tea helps to boost metabolism, which is fantastic for days when you’re stuck at the computer. Studies also show that matcha green tea helps to enhance mood, improve concentration, naturally detox and lower blood sugar – it’s practically superwoman in a cup and I feel calmer in the afternoons as a result. So be mindful of what you eat because brain food (and drink) is a thing which will impact your work.

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