3 years ago today, I launched Tower Press into the Universe truly not knowing where the road would lead me. I told myself to try and make it work for a year, that it'd be a good way to get out of a steady job I hated, and give me time to figure out what I wanted to do. But! Here we are! I'm so grateful to be here today (wish we could celebrate IRL!), everyone's support has been so incredible.
I'll keep this brief (because it's Monday), but wanted to touch on some things I've learned and grown from. Here are my 3 Lessons Learned in 3 Years of Business.
1. Your vision may shift or change entirely
Pandemic aside, your business may look different year to year. Whether you scale up or scale down, you'll find that some products and services don't end up working out -- and that's okay! Some may work out so well that they end up being your main focus. In the early days, I envisioned Tower Press with locations in 5 major cities and full production houses running everything from brochures to 3-D printing. Turns out, that's not what I wanted after all. I scaled down our services to a few main things I'm passionate about (and are profitable for us), love working from home, and no longer feel the need to have brick & mortar offices (this has saved me soooo much overhead costs as well). Part of being an entrepreneur is being able to turn with the tides!
2. You're allowed to say no (and you should do it more often)
As small business owners, we sometimes feel pressure to accept anything and everything that comes our way. This is especially true when revenue is slow to trickle in. At one point I was averaging 130 projects per month, many at reduced rates, and agreeing to creative partnerships that wouldn't be the best use of my time. When you say yes to too much, it can cost you your own mental health, boundaries, and actually cost YOU.
3. Know your value
I can't tell you how many times I've said to myself, "well, $20 is still $20..." (and we all know that at the end of the day $20 is actually $7), or be willing to extend multiple discounts just because someone asked. Free shipping here, free design work there... it all adds up. This isn't to say you shouldn't reward your repeat customers, but stand firm in your value, your processes, and your pricing. If you have an order minimum, stick to it. Something to remember about your pricing, it's not JUST factoring in your Cost of Goods. Think of your time, your added brand value, and your expertise to execute the product or service. Don't diminish your worth just because someone asks you to.