What to Take Away From Opening Your First Business

January 28, 2017, 3:00 PM UTC
Business owners hanging Opening sign in shop window
Photograph by Hero Images—Getty Images

This article originally appeared on Levo League.

2017 will be the year I launch my second business which is nerve-wracking and exciting all at the same time. This time around, I’ll be tackling things a bit differently.

Approach business as an experiment

When I launched my first business [Trend Tribe], I went into it thinking, “This is my plan. This is how we’ll get there. End of story.” If things didn’t go according to plan, I felt like I was failing at my job. As a heartfelt entrepreneur, I was taking the successes or failures of my business very personally and was attaching it to my self-worth. The truth is, as a business owner, you need to be able to evaluate what’s working and what’s not and make changes accordingly. By approaching my second business as an experiment, it will take pressure off from “failing” and will create the freedom and space to take risks. Remember, your work is not your worth.

Understand and accept that hard times will happen.

Although having the opportunity to launch and grow my own business is something I’ll never take for granted, there is no way to explain the feelings an entrepreneur experiences when times get hard. There were times I felt completely alone, as if no one else in the world could relate to how I was feeling.

The quote “Success is never permanent and failure is never final” changed my perspective. Challenging periods are just a phase; it will pass. In any career, not just entrepreneurship, it’s important to recognize and accept the fact that there will be challenging times. And that’s okay.

Have spirit and determination during those difficult times.

Not only is it important to accept that hard times will arise, but it’s crucial to have the right mindset during those times. Approaching business as an experiment will certainly help, but it’s also important to have an unstoppable sense of determination. For example, when a child is learning how to ride a bike, they know they’re going to fall off and scrape their knees. Probably more than once! However, they continuously get up and try again, always with a sense of excitement. My goal is to approach the tough times in my business as an opportunity to do things differently and be excited by the possibilities that will come from these challenges.

It’s okay to outgrow a goal, idea, or vision

This was the hardest lesson for me to learn after running my first business. When I first launched Trend Tribe, I was 23-years-old and felt a strong desire to empower college women through business. It’s a cause that I’ll always be passionate about, but as I got older I felt myself disconnecting more and more from the college world. As I changed, so did my business goals and vision. At first, I was hard on myself for feeling this way, but after speaking with other entrepreneurs I learned it’s actually very normal and natural to outgrow your initial vision. No matter what your goals are, whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, give yourself the permission to change. After all, isn’t that what life’s all about?