Over the past few weeks I have taken some time to reflect on my first year of business and the lessons I have learned. And while I’ve faced my fair share of challenges, I know I have garnered some valuable insights about start-ups, and good business practices in general that I wanted to share with you all. I was reluctant to write this post because I am not sure how many of you will care about my experience, but if nothing else it certainly feels good to write these lessons down on paper as we head into a new year.
A lot of people fear collaboration because they are afraid that someone else will be more successful than them. Maybe they will get all the credit for a huge project? Or perhaps their ideas are better than yours and you don’t want your boss to know? Or if you are running a start-up, maybe you fear that a larger company will steal your ideas if you let them get too close.
The reality is that the more you collaborate with people on your team or other similar businesses, the more you are able to achieve. For me, I found that the more I collaborated with online brands that complimented my organic baking kits the more exposure my brand was receiving. Additionally, I was able to increase my reach and sales exponentially via built-in audiences that were already interested in similar products. As a result, I always make an effort to identify companies, bloggers, and influencers whose missions directly align or closely align with the Healthyish brand. From there, I will do everything possible to collaborate with that person and / or company. So, whether you’re in the office or if you are trying to get your brand to stand out in the crowd, be sure to COLLABORTE. It will only benefit you in the long run.
I’m certain you’ve heard this tip about 1,000 times, but it really is true. Personally, I will talk to anyone with ears about the Healthyish brand. I think some of this excitement comes naturally when you are really passionate about your work. But sometimes, it can be hard to want to mix and mingle especially after a long day in the office. One thing I’ve learned is that you never know where a conversation can lead you. And don’t always assume that talking to the people at the top will get you where you need to be. Treat everyone with respect and always be willing to network even in the most inopportune times. And most importantly, keep in touch with the people you meet along the way. Even if you send them an occasional quick email, it is always good to keep in contact.
This can be really hard, but it’s one of the best ways to build your credibility. For me, being consistent has led me to 19k Instagram followers in my first year of business. I get up every day and post images, content and/or blogs posts about the Healthyish brand that will appeal to my audience. Remember, you always want to give your audience something valuable. For me, that is information about my products, Healthyish tips, and ways to live a Healthyish brand lifestyle. Also, make sure to keep your topics relevant to your audience and don’t be afraid ask people what they want to know about you and your products. Sometimes that is the best way to ensure you generate good, relevant content.
4. Protect Your Brand
OK, so contrary to the article I read on Foundr written by a young entrepreneur out of Denver; you should ALWAYS LEGALLY PROTECT YOUR BRAND OR BUSINESS. And what I mean is that documents like NDA’s, trademark and IP applications, IP assignments, and confidentially agreements are CRITICAL, especially at the beginning stages of your business. If you are thinking that these legal documents are a waste of time, or are too expensive then answer me this question.
What would you do if you worked your tail off, came up with a great idea / product, created a brand, invested tons of money and then suddenly a HUGE company came in and completely ripped off your idea and even used a brand name similar to yours? What would you do?
Well I can tell you that without the proper trademark / IP applications in place, there isn’t much you could do unless you are completely loaded and can spend millions of dollars on trademark infringement litigation. Which even then, you might not win! And now there is a huge company with more money, more access and more resources growing your idea without your consent or involvement. SO PLEASE do yourself a favor, and spend a little money upfront to ensure that your brand and your products are protected as much as possible.
5. Give Back / Show Appreciation
One of the things I love most about starting the Healthyish brand is being able to offer a unique product that benefits people in a variety of ways AND gets them thinking differently about dessert. I mean let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the idea of all organic baking ingredients, perfectly portioned for one person and delivered to your door?
And while I know there many benefits to my organic baking kits, one thing I do regularly is to show my appreciation to the Healthyish community and my online customer base. Whether it’s a vacation giveaway, gift cards, free samples, or surprise gifts inside of their organic baking kit, I ALWAYS make an effort to give back. Remember, people can follow anyone they want on social media and buy products from any company they want, but they are choosing to follow you and spend their hard-earned money on your products, so don’t take that for granted. Give back! Be Grateful!
I hope you find these lessons helpful and can apply them to your business! Please feel free to DM on Instagram with any questions. Also, be sure to sign up for our Healthyish Blog so you can get Healthyish Brand recipes, and blog posts like this one delivered to your inbox.
Cheers to a Happy New Year!
Author: Sarah Thomas-Drawbaugh
Sarah Thomas-Drawbaugh is a recipe developer, fitness junkie and owner of the Healthyish brand. She loves taking everyday eats and making them Healthyish. Sarah defines being Healthyish as a lifestyle centered around living light, fit and fun with a healthy dose of “ISH” from time to time. Sarah’s work can be seen in Healthy-ish by Bon Appetit and Bon Appetit Magazine (digital). Sarah lives in Vail, Colorado with her husband, Dan and rescue dog, Graci!