Disclaimer: This post was written last season, but the knowledge is still just as valuable today to anyone feeling frustrated by the flow of business. The funny thing is that this season feels so different than what I discuss below for last season. Inquiries came in early and fast this season (yay!), but a move to a new state + two young kids have definitely made this season feel a little crazed. Now, a seasoned entrepreneur knows that what worked last year won’t always work this year. So you reassess and figure out how to adjust so you can work smarter, not necessarily harder. So I hope you all enjoy this post, chock full of creative entrepreneur tips, favorite tools, and loving motivation! Today I am putting on my business cap and discussing a surprising discovery I found last season: a slow start for business last year actually helped my business grow.It seems counterintuitive: to grow your business you need to have clients! Of course this is true, but having clients is only part of the formula. Really, to grow your business you need to have clients and a strategy to serve them in the best way possible. And as with many things in small business, the best lessons are through experience.I was ready to rock and roll in January. I had our 2nd baby in December and she was sleeping like a champ (and taking a bottle!), so I knew I was ready to begin meeting with brides. But a funny thing happened, the inbox was quiet. I went through waves of frustration, self-doubt, and mostly fear. What if the well had dried up for me? It seems like everyone else was super busy on Instagram, what was I doing wrong? One day I woke up and decided that instead of pouting, I was going to use my free time + energy to make improvements in my business. So I made a plan on what to accomplish. There are so many avenues you can take to up your business game, and I’ve learned over the years it’s much better to focus your efforts on 1-2 things and do them right, than dip your toes in too many things and fall short on all of them. I signed up for Dubsado and used this amazing tool to improve many facets of my client process, I moved over to Quickbooks and said adios to my old accounting software, and I wrote a bunch of blog posts to be used for the season. These three things required a lot of up front work. I had moments when I said to myself, “shouldn’t I be advertising, trying to appeal directly to brides?”. But I reminded myself that if I invested the time in these systems now, they would pay off once the clients come a-knockin’. And you know what? They did come. Now I had blog posts ready to go so I could still post consistently, and I had these improved systems ready to give my clients a greater experience (and a more seamless process on my end).I invested time in things I knew I wouldn’t pay attention to once design became the priority. But there’s a bigger lesson here, and it’s that we can never stop putting energy back into our businesses. I know it’s so hard to step away when there are final proofs to be created and client emails that need responses, but I’ve found that a small business needs to be nurtured consistently. My brides will always come first, but to continually give them a fresh + unique experience, I have to invest the time back into the nuts + bolts of the business. The other wonderful thing I got out of a slow start last season? More time with these two.