After graduating NAIT’s Graphic Communications program in 2018, Shawna Bannerman started her jewellery business, Spent + Stone. Although new to the entrepreneurial scene in Edmonton, she has learnt a great deal about the ins and outs of owning a small business. Here are her best tips.

Make sure it’s something you truly love.
You know that saying “When you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life?” That’s not true. When you love what you do (and own a business), you’ll work constantly. I rarely work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., come home and relax. I’m always doing something related to my business, whether that be maintaining an online presence, sending an e-mail, writing to-do lists or just brainstorming strategies to improve my business. My brain never stops thinking about my work, even on my (rare) days off. But I still love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Trust your gut.
There’s been many instances when I felt like I ‘should’ do something to advance my business like partnering with a certain person, or attending a specific craft show. But for some reason, it didn’t feel right. I knew it in my gut before I knew it in my head. And every time I’ve ignored that feeling, my gut ended up being proven correct. Trust your instincts–99 per cent of the time they’re right.

Know where you want your business to go.
When people ask what your goals are for your business, you should have a specific and detailed vision of what you want your business to look like in one year, five years, 10 years and beyond. ‘I don’t know’ isn’t going to get you or your business anywhere.

With that being said, don’t get too caught up in the ‘how’. Know where you want to go and execute a plan within your power to get there. Success may come about different than you originally planned, but as long as you’re taking action, you’re moving in the right direction.

Fix your Mindset.
We are all dynamic and complex humans, and all have limiting beliefs based on our upbringing, our families and society as a whole. It’s so important to always be uncovering your limiting beliefs and rewriting them. If you have negative, pessimistic or limiting beliefs about yourself or about your business, you will have a very difficult time becoming successful within your business. The most common and detectable limiting belief I see in new business owners is the idea that they are not worthy of success. This often presents itself through undercharging and overworking. If you don’t believe you are worthy of success, why would anyone else believe that you are worth hiring or purchasing from?

Learn how to talk to people.
I used to think I was naturally shy. Turns out, I’m not. I just didn’t know how to talk to people. After attending many craft shows and networking events and constantly speaking with strangers, I’ve finally learnt how to speak to people in a way that is engaging and enthusiastic. My best tip: ask them (pretty well anything) about themselves. How was your day? Where do you work? Where are you from? Make sure that you’re genuinely interested–not just after a sale. People will sense your intentions and respond accordingly. I’ve also met some really cool people who’ve become friends because I connected with them on a personal level.

Get your money in order.
Know your business net income. Know your business gross income. Set aside money for taxes. Create a savings account for unexpected business expenses. Track your spending. Keep all of your receipts–ALL of them. Dedicate a chunk of time at least once a month to look over your business finances. Make financial goals. Track your previous financial goals. You get the idea.

Get confident.
Many people have this idea that confidence just magically comes to us. It doesn’t. We have to do the hard work first, and the confidence will come.

Be kind, be gracious and be grateful.
Perhaps the most important of all. You and your business will go nowhere without genuine kindness, compassion and gratitude.

Explore Bannerman’s jewellery spentstone.com or on Instagram at @spent_stone.

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