Article for CollectivelyCaitlin.com

I recently got to sit down and write an article for Collectively Caitlin's blog! Caitlin will be featured on our "Community" page in the near future, so it was awesome to be featured on one of her "Tuesday's Together" posts!! I got to share my advice & experiences in the business world (which is a totally new world for me!). You can read a copy of the article below or visit Collectively Caitlin's website to see it live on her page!! Thank you, Caitlin! Always a pleasure working with you! :)

For starters, I’m totally new to blogging and owning a business! I’ve been at it for almost one year and still find myself learning something every day. I’m sure many of the viewers are juggling the same thoughts I did and still do. As a business owner at the young age of 20, I really had to think long and hard about every step I was preparing to take. I think the funniest part about my story is that I hit so many horrible bumps in the road; there were days when I was convinced this was totally not for me. Sometimes the things that were happening truly had me thinking that the entire thing was a joke and that at any given moment someone would jump out at me and yell “gotcha! We’ve been playing a joke on you the entire time!” I was having technical issues every day, I was dealing with people who would tell me blogging is wasting my time, I felt like I was unorganized and falling apart and I was having more crying sessions than I had ever had before in my life (and I am not a crying kind of girl!). The negatives often felt like they were outweighing the positives. I feel like highlighting these struggles is extremely important now that I’ve moved past them and have found some success in my work.

As new business owners (with no experience), you’re taking on an entire new world, new language and new job. I think the best part about entering the business world is that you learn more in the first three months than you’ll ever learn somewhere else. I learned patience, I learned to follow my gut, I learned that some of the critical advice I was given I really needed to consider before acting, I had to learn how to create business plans and contracts, and I had to learn everything involving blogging and master it all on my own (and fast). In business, I quickly realized that when you build something from the ground up, failure and having those moments when you simply don’t know what to do really does occur regularly. Because of those moments, I taught myself to go with the flow and work to improve as much as I could. I became more of a quality over quantity girl, hired some help and began the process of a re-launch! I had to narrow my focus down to the most important things and create lists and a schedule. Following and maintaining the list and schedule were two keys for me. As long as I stayed on track, the rest was slowly following along and coming together.

My favorite part of this entire business venture was when I started to make friends, connect with other bloggers and create a list of contacts. Once I put myself out there and began asking questions, it was like my entire world became much brighter. Every single person I spoke with wanted to see me succeed just as badly as I wanted to succeed. I was receiving so many helpful tips and ideas, useful advice, and receiving assistance in the areas I needed a push. Because of these girls working so diligently to help me launch today, I decided I wanted my brand to have the same sort of movement. It’s been about a year since I started this adventure, and about three months ago I decided to create a page on the blog called “Community”. The entire mission and hope for this page is to offer some help, inspiration and spread the word about other businesses and individuals who have something to share like me. I wanted to be able to help them advertise (for free), work with them and see what they do, and help those individuals who are just like me and trying to get started. This page is the reason I connected with Caitlin! It has led me to awesome entrepreneurs, photographers, bloggers and more!

            The biggest advice I can give you is quite simple. Help those who need it whenever you can. Don’t look at it as a competition, they could really be struggling and need some guidance and assistance. Creating an environment that is positive, empowering and community oriented will be much more successful than a competitive, negative atmosphere. You can have your bad days, your struggles and your problems that feel like they are the end of the world, but always ask questions and wake up the next day and try again (and again, and again). There is always someone out there who can help and after my experiences, the individuals who want to help often times become some of your best clients, contacts and friends. Love what you do and love who you work with. Empower those who need help and work harder every single day. The number one quote I always use in moments like these: “Empowered Women, Empower Women”.