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  • Writer's pictureMary Beth Henderson

Happy Birthday, Front & Center: Lessons Learned from Two Years as an Entrepreneur

I didn’t have a website, a logo or social media channels. Instead, I had an idea, a bit of confidence (some may dare say delusion…) and the commitment to show up.

My business baby was born two years ago with an email to 10 people in my personal network. I had just received a phone call in the middle of the night that the tech company where I worked was imploding. Scrappy and scared senseless, I was asking for any blog post or email draft that someone would give me. Within a few days, I had enough business that I knew I could cover the next month’s rent.

I didn’t have a website, a logo or social media channels. Instead, I had an idea, a bit of confidence (some may dare say delusion…) and the commitment to show up.

Lesson 1: Show the hell up

Notice I said “a bit” of confidence. I am never 100 percent confident or certain that I know exactly how to do what I’m being asked to do. If you are, you probably aren’t aiming high enough.

Confession, I am usually running at about 60 percent — certainty that I know how to pull off the task at hand BUT am always 112 percent confident in my ability to figure it out.

It’s not about having all the answers. It’s about trusting your ability to get it done. I’ve learned that 80 percent of being successful is showing the hell up. As long as you are there, you've already outpaced so many people who are scared to start.

It’s never going to feel 100 percent ready. You are not going to have a fully baked idea. Send the email. Make the call. Just start. Show up.

Lesson 2: Be flexible

Originally, I thought Front & Center would be an agency that served large companies. Under that model, the greatest value we offered would be the actual deliverables — the social media management, the blog posts, the websites. I knew I could do those things well.

The larger companies would come and go. Small business owners, however, valued our advice and coaching as much as the products. They would come back and ask, “What do we next?” or “How do we grow?”

In 2016, Southern Protocol Bridal asked me to help with a small copy project to enhance their new website. Three years later, I feel like a full-on member of the squad involved in their social media, public relations, content development, advertising and more. I am proud to have grown and evolved with this beautiful brand as it helps brides from across the country find the one.

Through the process, we discovered our niche. A lot of agencies can give you the deliverables. There are not a lot of resources where you can say, “Here’s my big idea. What do we need to do next?” We can really help and serve in this space. Stay open the possibilities and be willing to adjust your big idea.

Lesson 3: Don’t do it alone

It’s very tempting to do it all yourself to save money. You can’t and shouldn’t try to do it alone. One of the first things I did for Front & Center, even before the LLC, was to find a CPA. I loathe accounting and taxes. Numbers hurt me.

You can also outsource things you do well. This year, I am outsourcing my social media, which is squarely in my arsenal of strengths. However, I was so busy serving my clients, that I wasn’t making space for the work that needed to be done on my business. Instead of beating myself up, I am deepening my bench.

Lesson 4: Find Your Community

One of the most dangerous things you can do is get out on your island and stay there. Have people around you who have your back.

Hatch Tribe, a community devoted to cultivating and connecting women entrepreneurs, has been a phenomenal resource for me. Having a support system of business owners who are in a similar space, but three and five years ahead of me is a game changer. It provides a sanctuary where I can ask hard questions.

I began this entrepreneurial journey two years ago expecting a Shark Tank atmosphere. I have found the reverse to be true. People want you to succeed. If we can help you on your path, give us a call.

To learn more about Front & Center can support you, let’s chat.

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