Being an entrepreneur

Life has been crazy lately and I’m so busy that my head is spinning constantly and I haven’t had a moment to rest.  And that is quite literal as I’ve been back from China for a week and I’m still not on a consistent sleep schedule.  It’s more like a “no sleep” schedule, I’m getting about 3 hours a night.  I’m thinking it won’t be about January until I actually get some sleep!

I absolutely love being a business owner and feel lucky and blessed to be living my dreams and doing what I love but what I learned from this year is that being a retailer this time of year means getting no rest or vacation starting from November and I suspect all the way through January.  We started our business only about a year and a half ago so last year we were too new to feel the rush of the holiday shopping madness but this year, OH MY.  What a difference a year makes.  This is not me complaining at all, there is nothing more thrilling to be as busy as we are, it’s just that this busy-ness truly smacked me in the face as I didn’t expect it to come this quick at all!  I get a lot of emails from readers about what it’s like to start a business and how I’ve managed it all and how I made the decision to leave my corporate job to start a business.  I can tell you that it’s been rough and it hasn’t been easy but every single thing has been worth the risk.  Just seeing what my sister and I (with the help of my parents and brother) have done in this short amount of time, makes me immensely proud and happy.  To see our jewelry on customers and to get wonderful emails from people that enjoy our line is a joy that I never experienced in my corporate life.  In my year and a half of doing this, I’ve never thought “ugh, 4 more hours left” or “only 3 more days until the weekend.” I used to have those thoughts constantly when I was working in the corporate world.  Every day I’m exhausted but happy and thrilled to be doing what I’m doing and I’m so thankful to everyone in my life who has supported me and helped me live out this dream.

Some of our recent press!

To those of you that that are wanting to take this path in life and becoming an entrepreneur I encourage you to start taking the steps to make your dreams a reality.  It’s definitely scary and you’ll lose sleep over all the risks that you have to take but to finally be living your dreams is the most amazing thing ever. 

I don’t feel like I’m any kind of expert but with my experience I can tell you that these are a few things that I’ve realized what has helped me along the way.

super long and wordy post, click through to read more….

1. Be financially ready – When we started the jewelry line, I was still working as a consultant and was doing both jobs.  I knew I wasn’t going to do both forever, so I set a goal date of when I wanted to be full time dedicated to my jewelry line and I saved and saved until I knew that I had enough to not have to work X amount of months.  Having a goal date helped put in perspective that this was going to be “real” and that I may have to live without an income for a certain amount of months.  But putting together this plan helped ease my mind and my fears and helped my husband and I know what to expect.

 from Joyce Poon – the owner of Noir Lash Lounge

2. Be prepared for the hard times – Yes not getting paid for all the hard work that you’ve put in sucks but remember this is your business, not just some job that you clock in and out of and expect a paycheck every two weeks. If you put yourself in the right mindset and knowing that you won’t see a profit for awhile, it’s a lot easier to go through and you can put it in the back of your mind.  Plus you can use it as motivation to get to where you want to be!

3. If you have a business partner – Communication, communication, communication – My sister and I have always had a good relationship and we’ve definitely become closer with the start of the business but with that said, we’ve definitely ran into a few bumps a long the road.  Nothing major of course but all that could be (and is) solved with better communication.  Us living in two different cities and time zones probably doesn’t help but even if we lived in the same city and worked in the same office, communication is always important no matter what.  Just being sure that your business partner is on the same page at all times is essential.  To us this means, not just understanding and being on the same page about long term goals, but short term and daily/weekly goals as well.  If you are running the business on your own or even with a small staff, make sure you have set your goals and your staff understands your goals!  It’s so much easier when everyone is working towards the same thing.

4. Network like you’ve never networked before – Not only has networking helped us grow like crazy but networking has also helped me meet so many other amazing female entrepreneurs that I can get together with and bounce ideas off each other and learn from each other.  When you network, your community doesn’t just grow a little, it grows a lot!  You never know who knows who and who could end up helping you in which way.  I’ve been connected through friends of friends or co-workers of someone that I met through networking, or even just acquaintances of a networking friend that happened to be able to help out.  Networking through my blog has been amazingly helpful as well!  I’ve even done some “cold call” networking where I’ve found out that somebody works at a certain place and I just wrote them an email or called them to introduce myself.  It’s crazy just how knowing a few people and asking the right questions can lead you to so many more opportunities your way.

5. This.

from Pinterest.  I don’t have the original source but if you do, let me know so I can credit it properly.

Believe in yourself.  Create your own opportunities.  Nobody else is going to do it for you. 

And really lastly I couldn’t have done any of this without my support system.  My husband has been amazing through all of this.  I worked through the entire Thanksgiving week and in the past month, I’ve probably only spent a few full days with him as I left for China and came back but now spend most of my nights and weekends working with our shipping team and don’t get home until after he’s asleep.  He doesn’t like being away from me this much but he also understands that it’s what I need to do right now.  Through everything the business has been through, he’s supported me 100% and although the decisions are mine, having him behind me has been amazing.  The same with my family.  Along with my sister, who has been amazing to work with and partner with, my parents and brother have been a huge part of this business from the start and to have the support of our family I think just motivates us all to go bigger and do better each and every day.  I’ve been through some rough days but talking with my family on those rough days help me find a different perspective and understand why we all are doing this.

My business isn’t just my job or my career, it’s my life and I couldn’t see it any other way.  I don’t talk about this topic a lot as I do try to keep my blog and business separate (although it’s a fashion/style blog so of course I will incorporate it in some way! I just don’t talk about the business side of it so much.) but if you want to follow someone with fantastic advice about being an entrepreneur, check out Tasha at Imperfect Concepts.  Her Instagram is always full of great advice and what books/articles to read.  Plus she’s just the sweetest, coolest chick I’ve met on the internet!

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  • Caroline
    December 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Seeing you go through this experience has been so great! Your jewelry line is GORGEOUS & I'm so happy you and your sister are having a rewarding time with this!

  • Amy {Cupcakes+Couture}
    December 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    congrats on your success! these are great tips and you are definitely an inspiration!

  • Chelsea MacMeekin
    December 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Congratulations on everything! You and your sister are such an inspiration and I appreciate the honesty surrounding building your own business. You both deserve all of the success in the world!

    Haute Child in the City

  • Ashlie
    December 12, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    This post is so inspirational, as I'm starting a business of my own. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kaolee
    December 12, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Thanks for this! I love it! This is definitely one of my dreams, but I'd love to hear more!

  • Aly ~ Cooking in Stilettos
    December 12, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Tiffany – I can't tell you how thrilled I am for you and Jen. Your jewelry designs are fantastic and this post – I'm so bookmarking this.

  • Nancy
    December 12, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    This is such a great post. It's great to hear your perspective on what starting a business is like. Hard work and dedication is definitely the theme. Congrats to you and your sister! =)

  • Kay
    December 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Congratulations on reaching this milestone in your business. Your wise words of advice are greatly appreciated. The advice you have given is often forgotten when people try to start their own it's fantastic that you articulated it so clearly for your readers. Congrats again!

  • Tee
    December 12, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Such an amazing post my dear. I am super proud of you and your sister! I know several friends who LOVE their pieces from T + J designs. =} wishing you more success and joy in the new year

  • alison*elle
    December 12, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    This was such a great read, Tiffany. I really admire the fact that you decided to just go for it… at this point in my life I'm still scared to do that even though it might be my ultimate goal. Hopefully one day I'll get there!

    xo, alison*elle

  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures
    December 12, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Such amazing tips and as a biz woman I couldn't agree more!!!

  • GirlieBlogger@Beauty Fashion Blog Seattle
    December 12, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Hi. I almost teared up when I read this. It's very inspirational. I've always wanted to quite a corporate job and start my own business, but never found the courage. Then, after my first child was born, I quit, and have been contemplating for the past two years. I guess I am half way there mentally. Now I just need encouragement (like this post) to finish the job.

    I think your jewelry is AMAZING! And I am so happy for your success. Isn't it nice being busy :O) ?

  • Fabulous Petite
    December 12, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    This is a great post Tiffany, i want to be a business owner too one day so thanks for the perspective.


  • dreamingincashmere
    December 12, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    You're amazing Tiffany!! I loved reading this so much! You gave so many great insights and points. I hope you have continued success and happiness!:) I certainly am a fan of your site and prodicts.

  • Sheila
    December 12, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    This is great Tiffany! I always wanted to be a business owner one day. And I think your and your sister's jewelry line is amazing. So inspirational to me. 🙂

    xo – Sheila

  • jo
    December 12, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Congratulations to you and Jen! I'm really happy for both of you! Your business is growing quite fast considering it's less than 2 years. And I know that it will only get better. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

    xo Jo

  • DSK Steph
    December 13, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Well said, well written Tiffany! I created my own career and lifestyle straight out of college. I never had that corporate job experience, but I don't regret where I am today. My family and loved ones now understand why November and December are so important to me because of what I do with my brand. I really look up to you and your sister for growing your brand so big in one and half years! 🙂 You rock!

  • Katherine
    December 13, 2012 at 4:33 am

    SO happy to hear about all of your success, and thanks for taking the time to check in and write this post. You two deserve all of your success and I'm sure there is lots more to come!

  • honey my heart
    December 13, 2012 at 9:35 am

    it has been wonderful reading your blog and seeing how far you've come in your business. it's really such an inspiring thing to read your tips.

  • LoveStyleHappiness
    December 14, 2012 at 1:15 am

    Thank you for such an insightful article! I too sell jewelry (albeit on a much much SMALLER scale: Etsy). I find that I struggle to take the necessary risks as well as reaching out to people. I think this all comes down to a fear of failure. Thanks for providing some inspiration.


  • A.Co
    December 14, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    I love this post. So inspiring and a great read. Thanks for sharing as similar aspirations have been running through my head lately, but the fear and unknown holds me back. Have a great weekend, T!

  • Elisse
    December 18, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    You and your sister have put your whole heart and passion into this business, and I'm glad to be a supporter of t plus j designs. You've made some poignant insights in only a year and a half, and I think staying as humble and hard working is the foundation of your success.

  • monamiblog
    December 19, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Hi Tiffany! Loved this post and others you've done in the past about the behind the scenes of your life/business balance. I also left a corporate job to become a photographer about a year and a half ago. I recently moved back to the Northwest from LA and am a bit outside of Seattle, so working on building a client base since and figuring out freelance life in general has been a challenge, but definitely an adventure. So it's great to see how successful you've become, and how well it's worked out for you. Thank you for sharing your story and insight!