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  • Writer's pictureLisa Harris

3 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Business Owner, and how you can learn from them too

We all know October as a time for pumpkin spice, autumn leaves, and of course, Halloween, but did you know that October is also Women’s Small Business Month? That means it’s a perfect time to celebrate female entrepreneurs and to empower women in business.

Starting a business is a big undertaking for anyone, but it’s no secret that women have historically had more challenges in rising in the world of business compared to our male counterparts, mostly as a result of gender discrimination. It wasn’t until 1988 (only 33 years ago), that women could legally take out a business loan. Now, female entrepreneurs are a force to be reckoned with, with over 12.3 million women-owned businesses in the US today.

In honor of Women’s Small Business Month, today I am sharing three things I’ve learned in my own experience as a female entrepreneur that you can take with you and apply to your own career journey, whether you’re starting a new job, leveling up in your current one, or starting your own business!

1. LOVE what you do!!

When I’m with my clients, I often feel like I’m not working; I feel like I’m in my element and in my happy place. When I see the shift in my clients to a place of calm, the sense of happiness, excitement, and gratitude I receive is indescribable.

You know what they say: when you love what you do, it never feels like work. Well, the truth is, running a business is a lot of work, and passion and enjoyment are important ingredients in staying motivated to keep building your business.

Not every aspect of running your business will be fun or exciting, but every task is necessary in supporting the bigger picture, and the satisfaction you get from getting to do something you really love will make all the ‘grunt’ work worth it.

2. Trust in your transferable skills.

Before starting OWL, I worked as a Project Manager at Charles Schwab in San Francisco and in New Jersey, and while the finance industry and professional organizing industry are worlds apart, the skills that I’ve utilized in both industries are not actually that different.

Owning a business is like one big project, only the project end date is not finite. As a professional organizer, each client’s project involves putting my Project Manager skills to work. Communication, leadership, establishing trust and building a team (OWL just recently added three new employees – Woo-whooo!) are all skills that have helped me in both roles.

If you’ve been working in one industry your entire career and want to pursue your passion in another, it can be intimidating taking that risk and leaping into the unknown, but don’t let the fear of not fitting your dream job description keep you from trying. Trust in your transferable skills, and trust that what you don’t know, you’ll learn as you go! Plus, you’d be surprised at how your current skills not just carry over, but help you stand out in your new field.

3. Never stop learning

Speaking of learning as you go, if there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that you never stop learning, and that you should never stop trying to. I find the more I proactively seek out learning opportunities, both professionally and personally, it helps me be a better business owner and person overall.

I make it my mission to commit to various professional and personal development courses, training, and coaching every year, and not only has it helped me develop my skills, but it’s also helped me build a network of other professionals (often other female entrepreneurs) that I can go to and trust for advice.

Coming up on five years of OWL, I’ve learned so much about what it takes to be a professional organizer and a business owner, but I know there will always be room for growth, and I know I couldn’t have gotten this far without the guidance and support of people in my network.

It’s been a wild, yet incredibly rewarding ride. I’m sure in another five years I will have learned even more, but I hope these few lessons that I’ve learned throughout my journey so far can help you succeed in yours!

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