Our Best Entrepreneur Startup Advice

Cut-out words in a pile on a table with the word ADVICE spelt out
Just Business

Our Best Entrepreneur Startup Advice

We have loved being a startup and are going to proudly continue to say that for just a bit longer.  You see, Brilliantly Forward launched in spring 2020 and wow it’s been a fun time.  We are pretty darn proud of ourselves for what we have accomplished.  

Now it wasn’t without a few lessons along the way.   So we want to share a few of those with you in case you too are a startup or maybe thinking of kicking off that new business in 2021.  Stick around!  We’ve got lots to share.

Our Startup Journey

Picture of a winding road

We started from just an idea.  How can we (Roseanne and Shannon) share our knowledge with more and more entrepreneurs?   We had both been helping them in different ways over the years.  But we wanted to reach more people and help them before issues in their business became urgent problems to solve.  Because that’s what we had been seeing for years.   

So Brilliantly Forward was formed.  Check out our blog Do You Remember that Day  to hear more about our story and what the name Brilliantly Forward means.

Our Entrepreneur Report Card

If you’ve been following along you’ll know we think it’s pretty important to recognize your success along the way.  So we probably have a few things to mention that should get us at least a passing grade.

How we set things up

There’s a lot to setting up a business – here’s a few of the biggest things we did.

  • Launched a website
  • Created social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook and Linked in
  • Got a logo but then evolved our social media to have a “look”. We hope it’s a brand but it’s still a work in progress
  • Developed countless processes – content creation, blogs, social media, financial management, course creation, and remote communication. We manage our company completely remotely.
  • Figured out social media ads (well sort of!)
  • Took lots of courses – free and paid
  • Decided on a software stack that includes over 10 different providers (lots of decisions to make!)
Woman creating content on her phone
Content

This has definitely been our focus.  We want to provide valuable content to entrepreneurs to help them get the business skills they may not have.  So, we’ve been focused on doing that as many ways as we can:

  • Wrote 20 blogs
  • Created over 150 posts and countless stories.  Yes Canva is our best best friend!
  • Learned how to go live on social media including our weekly Biz Tips for BFFs.  And we’re not nervous about it at all anymore
  • Produced reels – yes music and captions – and having fun doing it.
  • Joined several groups and provided value wherever we could
A Few Things for Bonus Marks
  • Became pros at selfies and how to use a ring light (well maybe not pros but we know how to use it now)
  • Added video editing to our list of skills
  • Launched our first course Customer Experience Maximizer
  • Ran a beta for our BIZ bootcamp launching in 2021
  • Used endless amounts of data and analytics to measure success
  • Created a podcast.  Oops secret’s out of the bag.  Stay tuned for a 2021 launch!

But one of the most important is developed relationships with our followers.  We look forward to their posts now and wonder when we haven’t seen them post in a while!

Startup Surprises Along the Way

We definitely had a plan but what would a startup be without some surprises along the way.  Here’s just a few we wanted to share with you.

1. Social media growth is hard work 

Okay that’s not really a surprise but boy it’s the truth.  You have to work at it all the time. Figure out the algorithm, put in time engaging, analyze your insights and then adjust what you are doing.  But it doesn’t have to be all consuming.  You just have to find the balance that’s right for you.

Small Business owner working in her business making soaps ) while another employee watches with her back to the photo

2. Your ideal customer

It takes a long time to narrow down your ideal customer. We had expertise in this but it takes time to test your products, get feedback and start to adjust to meet those customers’ needs.  And it’s so important to be listening for feedback whether it’s outright and you’ve asked the question or little things like comments on a post – or crickets on the same post.  This tells you what does and doesn’t resonate with your followers so that you can ensure you are producing the content they want to read.

3. Copy for social marketing

Creating copy for social marketing is a skill.  We actually invested in a course early on in this. Although we had lots of writing experience, it was too corporate.  We needed to learn how to write for social media and a different audience.  Best investment ever!

4. Creating processes

Our ability to create processes allowed us to accomplish a lot in a short period of time.  Yes less than 9 months we have accomplished this big list of things.  It seemed crazy aggressive when we started that this was our plan.  But it’s exciting to look back and see what we did.

5. Our experience helped us

Our 40+ combined years of corporate experience helped us numerous times throughout our startup.  Sure Roseanne had been an entrepreneur for years too but this was a new type of business – online.  However the principles of what we had used throughout our careers – get information, analyze, make decisions and develop a process – allowed us to accomplish so many things throughout these 9 months 

Our Best Startup Advice

So as you can see we have been busy…sometimes crazy busy.  But being a startup is fun too and we want to encourage those who have just started or are thinking of getting going, that when you think about a few key things, the journey will be easier. 

So here’s our best advice for other startup entrepreneurs.

1. Make a plan

Figure out your goals, set milestones, put together a detailed plan, then expect it will take longer than you think and adjust that plan.  This is something we brought with us from our corporate worlds and it is just as relevant as an entrepreneur.  Just like a big corporation, you have to have a plan.  It might only be for the next three months, but it gives you a framework to work towards and something to measure your progress against. Check out our blog You Got the Time – Plan! where we give you some tips on how you can plan, especially if this is a downtime in your business. 

 2. Celebrate your success along the way
Woman at laptop celebrating

This can’t be said enough.  Being an entrepreneur is tough but especially when you are starting out.  It can be tough when you spend hours coming up with the perfect post to crickets.  Or launch your website to get minimal hits.  But hey, you need to take the time to celebrate that you got the website out there and the followers will come.   Because each win builds on each other and that momentum takes you to the next success. See our blog post Revealed:  Why You need to Celebrate Your Success for more tips on how to do this.

3. Develop processes

You need processes.  You have to figure out the tactics of each part of your business step by step so you can easily do it as rinse and repeat – yes this is our new favorite phrase.  When you come up with these processes this allows the task to feel easy.  Then, as you grow you can easily teach others so that you are not left doing everything.  This is key if you really want to grow!

4. Don’t be afraid to fail

Yep fail.  We’ve had some things we would call failures in the first 9 months.  The lead magnet no one really wanted – ouch that stung.  Or the questions on Instagram that fell silent  Ooh painful.  But we looked at each and realized what we did wrong and adjusted.  Failure is not key – it’s what you learn from that failure.  See our Easy Guide to Learn from Failure for some steps to take when that failure hits you.

 5. Believe in Yourself 

You can do this.  Have you read Marie Forleo’s book Everything is Figureoutable?  (Yes she made up a word).  But one phrase sticks out above all others in this book

The world needs that special gift that only you have.

Marie forleo

Check out this link for 50 quotes from the book – in some ways perfect for any entrepreneur starting out and that becomes our final tip.   Find those resources that will motivate you and inspire you to keep going.  Maybe it’s an Instagram account, maybe it’s a friend, maybe it’s a course that will teach you the skills that you are most stressed about.  But keep going – because “the world needs that special gift that only you have”.    

In Reflection

It started as just an idea and many months later it’s a company, people recognize the name, we have followers and feel great about our content.  We have shared lots of laughs and maybe some tears.  There were days we wanted to give up and walk away.  

But there is no better feeling than when someone asks how Brilliantly Forward is doing.  Yes it is nice that they are interested but it is more than that.  Hearing our company name spoken is a moment that always brings a smile as just months ago Brilliantly Forward did not exist.  We’ve created something that has impacted others.  And that feels pretty darn good and no one can ever take that feeling away. 

If you’ve got a dream to get something started or have already begun, make sure to follow along on our social media and sign up to be in the know.  We have some amazing things coming in 2021 and don’t want you left behind.  

Signature Brilliantly Forward
Signature Brilliantly Forward