Photographer and all-round creative, Tori Taiwo (aka #FlyGirlTori) took the plunge to become self-employed in 2013 and launched her photography agency, KBD. Four years on, what has she learned along the way?
She was recently interviewed by Nadine Sandcroft, founder of Just Entrepreneurs, who help start-ups and small business owners, thrive (get to know about them!) and we bring you highlights from the interview.
Here are Tori’s Top 9 tips for starting a business
Plan, plan and plan again
Do your planning and then plan again because it is so important. It’s something I thought I didn’t have to do; I thought I could just wing it – No, no, no! It’s so not an easy process but it’s a rewarding one.
Ask for help
Asking for help is so important. Just reach out to people, who are entrepreneurs themselves, business owners or maybe they’re just smart, anyone you think you can reach out to, do reach out, because you cannot do it all alone.
It may sound crazy but take a break occasionally! You can burn yourself out and do stuff all day every day and end up in a circle that doesn’t even make any sense. So, my advice? Take a break.
Talk to others in in business, not necessarily just those in your field
Don’t limit yourself to learning from just people in your professional vicinity or who are in the same field as you. I’m a photographer but I wouldn’t necessarily just talk to photographers. Chat to people in business, whether they’ve been doing it for 10 years, 10 months or 10 minutes – talk to them.
Know what you want to do and focus on that but know your bigger picture too, not just “Oh I know I’m going to be a photographer.” Understand what your bigger picture is, what is your overall focus. But also, if you’re good at more than one thing, just do one thing at a time, don’t try and do five things at once because it just won’t work.
Social media is your friend
Social media is one of the most important things you can have as a small business owner. It allows you to connect with your audience, your customers in a more personal way. Social media gives you a chance to connect in the here and now. That’s how people buy into you, they buy into you before they buy into what you do. So, showing people what you do, your personality is so important because you are your brand.
Try to get a team
I wish someone had told me that you need a team. People act like they can do things by themselves and you have artists or influential people that look like it’s just them, so the perception is “I can do this by myself.” And that’s not even true, the people you see doing these things actually have a team behind them. I’m learning this now.
Know that it won’t be easy
The reality is, running a business is difficult. But people have this thing where they believe if you get past the three-year mark of being self-employed then you’re going to be successful. I kind of get it, but it’s not true. Why do people associate the third-year mark with “Ah yeah! We’re gonna make it, that means something’s happening!” – No, it just means you made three years! So, for me, the reality is it’s hard every single day and you need to stay focused and know what you’re doing. Ride it through.
See the bigger picture
Don’t let anyone else tell you that you can’t do it, if you can see it you can achieve it 100%. When you have wins, they’re the dopest feeling, like I’ve never had a child but I’m sure it’s close to like having a child.. I don’t know maybe. But I feel like I’ve birthed something, I had an idea, I created it and people responded. Even if it’s two people saying it’s great it’s still an amazing feeling so the rewards are really, really high, in terms of you having an idea and it becoming a reality, but it’s hard everyday.