In support of the Indie Business: Compass e-Course launching on January 26th, Indie Business is doing Q & A Wednesdays!  Every week, each teacher answers the same business related question to showcase how individual the experiences of every entrepreneur truly are. This week we focus in on challenges we faced in the first stages of developing our own businesses.

The first challenge I faced as a young indie business owner was financial. I had a basic plan for how I would run my vintage business, but didn't have any savings or support to back it up. Since I was young and had a very short credit history and no experience, a business loan was out of the question and my day job barely paid the bills as it was. My only option was to start from scratch, work with what tools I had, and to be very frugal with my earnings.

I know that if financial support was made available to me in the beginning, before I had a firm understanding of how and where to invest it, Lune would not be here today. I would likely be paying off debt from a long forgotten project, and have missed out on a world of experience. Working within my own budget allowed me to take small chances with little risk, and feel able to change direction at will without great financial waste or repercussion. In hindsight, I’m positive that dedication to my Indie business was forged because of the struggle it took to keep believing in it. It also gives me faith that anyone can make their business happen if they take it at their own pace and play it smart!

My indie business life has two parts: Before I became a partner in Freckled Nest & after, but for this question I'm going to focus on the before. When I was just starting, my focus was on my blog advertising program and my Etsy shop, which meant that my business relied on selling lots of small products at low price points. I had a plan and I knew that it could work in time, but it meant that I needed to transition from having my blog as a personal space to being a place that I could also share the projects & products that I was working on. But when I tried to share what I was up to, I felt so lost!

My blog had been entirely personal up until that point, and while I had previously shared a few recipes and crafts here and there I was concerned about how my audience would react to hearing about this new part of my life. As a bit of an over-thinker I was also very aware of how sometimes blogs that have a selling component to them can feel less relatable than what I liked reading, so I knew I had to find a way to add this new part of my life and business into my blog in a way that was natural for me. The solution came as my confidence increased and I realized that my blog readers were curious about all kinds of things that I was interested in, and that as long as I was being genuine, choosing the times to talk about my business deliberately and letting my personality shine through I was still delivering what they wanted. It was a big weight off my shoulders & an exciting realization!

I jumped into small business with a lot of zeal but with very little information and footing. Looking back, I think what I needed most in the beginning was a mentor to help me find my way a little more smoothly. Everything worked out in time and I learned a lot through trial and error but it would have been nice to talk with someone who shared the same drive and dream, understood the struggles and work behind every little thing, and someone whose wisdom and perspective I could learn from and be inspired by. When Jill and I met a year later, we became the perfect cheerleaders and support system for each other-- we’d go for coffee & cake with our notebooks and dream big, brainstorm possibilities, push our comfort zones, update each other on new things with each of our businesses, and through everything, we knew we could share anything and feel understood.

Around the time we met, I was struggling with finding the right marketplace for my handmade goods. After renting tables at a few Christmas Craft Sales, I discovered that the local market wasn’t my scene. My handmade work was really well received but not often purchased, the craft sale season was short lived each year, and I wasn’t ready to open a local store or split profit with consignment. I wanted a different approach that I could manage alongside my day job and that would keep me in charge of my brand and sales. Jill encouraged me to keep going and we brainstormed options for my next move. Challenges will always flex my business muscles but I’ve been lucky to have both Jill and Kyla as the best cheerleaders around and love doing the same for them-- it’s so much better when you’re not alone!

I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about our own business journeys. Visit www.indie-business.com for more information on how the Indie Business: Compass can help kickstart your business for 2012!