I’ve been thinking about when I started out, things I wish I knew before I started my business lately and what advice I would give myself if I could go back. Turns out it made a good blog post so grab a tea/coffee and have a read, it might just make you think about your own business and what you’ve learnt or would tell yourself.
NOTHING HAPPENS OVERNIGHT
A business is like a child. It takes time to grow, develop and evolve, this never changes. OK maybe a handful of business make it to the big time overnight (not in the literal sense, maybe like over a few months) but still the majority of us put in hours of hard work, blood sweat and tears to make our dreams work so be patient.
I’ve been working on my business for about 4 years. This includes a total re-brand; about 2 years in where I split the design and card side of the business and decided exactly what direction I wanted to take them each in. My initial plan didn’t match what I saw in myself or the business but I’m happier and the business is better.
I took a huge risk when I left my job and I probably wasn’t in the best position to do so but I did it anyway. I would’t recommend leaving a job to pursue your dreams unless you have some kind of financial security for at least the year ahead. Honestly, I’m glad I did though, I’ve learnt new skills, overcome fears and met so many great people along the way.
ASKING FOR HELP IS OK
I thought I had to do everything myself. Well, you kind of do but you’re also allowed to ask for help if you need it. Whether it be from family or friends or if you need to outsource stuff that will help you run your business better. I’ve had help from family and friends and initially I did have help from someone with social media posts as I had no idea what I was doing. Now, I’ve slowly learnt all aspect of the business.
This is the best way to get your business out there. Go to networking or blogging events, whatever is best for your business. Get to know people who might be able to help you with websites/branding etc you never know when you may need their assistance. Another point is listen to your customers as this is vital in helping you decide what direction to take your business in and develop it. They are buying from you and their feedback is most important. I get emails from customers with ideas my my cards and puns which they like which is helpful when I’m working on new designs.
YOU WILL HAVE TO TEACH YOURSELF (A BIT OF) EVERYTHING
Yes you will have to become a jack of all trades. I started my business through The Prince’s Trust and they offered plenty of seminars and help on all areas of running a business from how to handle your accounts to managing social media. They also offered funding to test trade your business idea and its viability. The most valuable part of it was having a mentor for the first 2 years of business to guide me through decisions I was making, bouncing off ideas and just general advice. Bear in mind, if you’re a creative business like myself, you will probably spend about 70% of your time doing everything else and the remaining 30% designing which is a bummer but one day that will all change when you can hire/employ people to do certain jobs for you.
IT’S OK TO SAY NO / DON’T GIVE EVERYTHING AWAY FOR FREE
Be selective of what you decide to give away. You may get approached from bloggers wanting to promote your services or products – take a look at their blog and make sure it fits in with who your customer base is. You may also get emails or calls for collaborations, again make sure you have the time and you both promote each other equally. Be selective and make sure you make the right decision for you and your business in the long term.
IT’S HARD – DON’T QUIT
So many times I have wanted to quit. When you don’t make enough sales, there’s no money for the next step or when a difficult situation arises and it seems there’s no solution all you can think of is giving up but don’t. Keep going. All businesses face struggles think of it as a learning curve and push through. It’s not easy running a business but well worth it when you get positive feedback from customers.
That’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog as I enjoyed writing this one and looking back thinking to when I first started out. What do you wish you knew before you started your business? Leave a comment below.