Let me start this post by saying that when I started my business a little over two years ago, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. I really had no expectations except for what I saw all over social media, which was definitely glamorized entrepreneurship. I was just so excited to be starting something on my own and doing something that I was really passionate and excited about. Then reality hit.
Things weren't easy. I had high expectations for myself and I wasn't meeting them. I struggled with so many things as a new business owner. I literally had to learn everything; photography, finances, wholesale relations, coding a website, sourcing materials and so much more. Things weren't easy. There were many days spent in the studio that ended in frustration and tears (just ask my husband, he can tell you all about it!) There were many days when I have questioned if this is all really worth it.
Like many new and challenging situations, there have been many moments of frustration, but also many many exciting and rewarding moments. When I reflect on my two years in business, I am so proud of all of the things I have accomplished, and am proud of myself for persevering through the challenging situations. I am extremely thankful for all of the help and support I have gotten from friends, family, and complete strangers. I would not have been able to get through all of the challenges without all of the support I have received.
Some of my favorite moments over the past two years in business.
There have many different aspects that have contributed to my success during the past two years. One of them being the SCORE program. I first learned about the SCORE program about a year ago when reading a post from MacKenzie Horan from Design Darling about her tips for entrepreneurs. She had mentioned how she had a mentor that helped her when she first started her business. That night, I went onto the SCORE website and started researching mentors. I was still unfamiliar with the program, but loved the idea of getting some help and mentoring since at the time, I felt like I knew nothing.
When I first started looking for a mentor, I knew that I really needed help with marketing and growing my audience. The SCORE website outlines the different areas of expertise for each mentor. I looked through all of the profiles of the mentors in my area, and found a mentor in New Jersey that had extensive experience in marketing. That night, I put in a request for mentoring, not knowing what would happen after that and not knowing what to expect.
Later that week, I got an email from the mentor that I requested and we set up a time to meet over Skype. I was so excited and nervous during our first meeting. She had already looked at my website and had so many suggestions and pieces of advice. I remember taking notes furiously in my notebook. Since I live and breath this business, I was so excited to finally have somebody to talk to and share all of my ideas with.
Over the past year, I have been meeting with my mentor once a month via phone conferences. I share ideas, ask questions and reflect on things I have tried. Every month, I look forward to these meetings, and appreciate every minute I spend with my mentor.
I truly am grateful for the SCORE program for so many different reasons. Not only has my mentor been able to share her expert advice with me, but she has been there to support me when I need to work through something that is challenging me. Although her background is in marketing, she has been able to support me in every aspect of my business.
As a mentioned at the beginning of this post, I quickly discovered that starting and running a business on your own is not easy. In the beginning, I was desperate for support, advice and understanding from somebody in the business world (my husband deserved a break from all my business chatter!) The SCORE program was able to fulfill this need and has exceeded my expectations in so many ways.
The most amazing thing about SCORE is that all of the mentors are volunteers. Every single mentor does this for free and volunteers their time to meet with the entrepreneurs. These people dedicate their time to entrepreneurs who need support and they share their expert advice because they want to help these businesses grow.
I am sharing this with you because the SCORE program has had a significant impact on my business and myself as a business owner. I really believe that every business owner should be a part of this mentoring program. I consider myself a lifelong learner, always looking to grow and improve myself as a person and as a business owner. This program has helped me do that in so many different areas.
If you own a business or know somebody who does, send them my way to chat! I would love to help you get set up with a mentor!