by Jessica Bertsch, Guest Contributor
Looking back, I wish I had someone to tell me things I should have known when starting a business.
I wish someone would have given me a little encouragement and a few slaps in the face to prepare me (just keeping it real, folks). So here’s what I’d tell myself back in the day:
Dear New CEO Self,
Pay yourself. I’m serious. From month one pay yourself, even if it’s $50 a month. Even when you’re building a business, don’t forget your worth. As you become more successful, remember to give yourself decent raises.
When you don’t pay yourself, you’ll start to wonder if it’s all worth it. When you give yourself a little money in the beginning, it’s like telling yourself,
“Stick with it; you’re worth it.”
Create a happiness folder. I’m totally not joking. Make an email folder on your computer, or go ol’ school and use a legit folder at home or work that you put all your happiness moments in. When you have a client rave about your company, a coworker praise something about the company, etc., put it all in there.
On those crap days, grab a latte and sit and read your folder (and totally no judgment if you read through it multiple times in one sitting).
Rid negativity. I’m not saying go postal on people who don’t love your business or get rowdy with people on your team. I’m just saying that you control your thoughts and the overall company direction, so take things in as you hear negativity and try to learn from it, but then quickly keep on moving.
Reward awesomeness. Find ways to thank your clients that aren’t the norm. Find ways to show love for your team that aren’t the norm.
Don’t celebrate “Admin. Day” and “Boss’s Day” because all of America is. Spread and share goodness to people when they least expect it. Those gifts/rewards mean far more than token ones on Hallmark holidays. (Sorry, Hallmark…I still love you.)
Be realistic. Rome wasn’t built in a day. God took 6 days to create the world and he rested on the seventh. I mean, come on — growth takes time.
Success takes time.
Set realistic goals you can achieve and keep surpassing them month after month.
Don’t surround yourself with “yes” people. Find people who are smarter than you and who will question your decisions at times. You’ll need the balance. You’ll need the pushback. (Uh, but you’ll want a few “yes” people just to be your pep squad.)
Let someone in your head. Say what?! Here was probably one of my biggest mistakes that took me 3 years to make right. I kept all my business processes, procedures and knowledge in my head only. There’s not one part of that mentality that’s smart.
If I fell off the Earth tomorrow, who would know how to run things?
Who would understand my/our systems?
You should always have one person who knows what’s going on in your head and who can step in if needed, even if it’s just while you’re on vacation (gasp!).
Be honest. Be honest when you fail. You will fail. You will make mistakes.
I know it sucks hearing that…but it’s true. You’re human. So when you do mess up or someone on your team does, accept it, recover and move on.
Learn from the mistake, but be honest about the happenings. Clients will begin to love and appreciate your honesty far more than you think.
Do good and be good. Keep pushing yourself to take your business to the next level, but as success comes, make sure you’re being the good the world needs too. Yes, money is awesome, but the expression on faces when you give to people far exceeds any car, house or vacation you can have.
So do good, but also be the good in the world as you thrive.
Keep with your mission. We all know that greed can slip into growing a business, but stay focused on the “why” of your company. Don’t sway with what you were founded on just to have a quick minute of fame. Pound the pavement each day building a company that literally leaves a legacy down the road.
All in all, you got this! You can do this! You will do this!
You will have failure moments, but not days/months/years. You will push through the yuck and shine on with the awesome.
Keep pushing yourself.
Keep growing your team.
Keep raising your standards.
Keep believing and achieving. Always, always, always focus on leaving a legacy. This isn’t just a job/career; this is your chance to create something far bigger than yourself.
Rock on, new CEO. You’ve got this — we’ve got this!
Jessica Bertsch is a proud Coastie wife and mom of a four-year-old son, one-year-old daughter, and a baby girl who arrived in March 2016. In her “spare” time she runs Powerhouse Planning, LLC. www.powerhouseplanning.com.