What I learned from my first year in business

I have just celebrated the one-year anniversary of running my own business and what a roller coaster ride it has been.

It took me a while to take that leap of faith. After experiencing my second redundancy of the year and, licking my wounds for a while, I got back into the job market whilst all the while having this itch that I really wanted to scratch. The itch of starting my own business.

I’m an all or nothing kind of girl and realised that trying to build a business whilst looking for a job was not for me. After a lot of back and forth I decided to go for it.

Learning has always been a passion of mine and I have prided myself on following the thought leaders in my industry to stay one step ahead. The past year has taught me more than I have ever learned and I wanted to share my list with you in the hope that it will encourage you to take your own leap of faith.

Go in with your eyes open

  • You have to be everything – accountant, IT help desk, marketing, finance, payroll, HR, facilities, office manager
  • Outsource the stuff that you are not very good at (see above) as long as you use the time you have freed up to make money to pay for it
  • It can take time from initial contact with a client to securing them as a customer, it can also take less than a day
  • If someone cancelled a meeting in the corporate world, I would do a dance of glee as I had time back in my diary. Now when someone cancels a meeting, I am literally counting the cost – a missed deal, a client I didn’t land . . .
  • You’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your tribe
  • You have to conduct your own performance review and 360 Feedback
  • The stationery cupboard doesn’t restock itself
  • Some people will take the piss – they reveal themselves early on – trust your instinct
  • Others do not value your time as much as they should, you do not need to give it away free of charge (unless of course you choose to give back – close friends, charities, worthy causes)
  • Some will abuse your kind spirit – don’t let this put you off, they are the minority
  • Most people are amazing, they teach you so much
  • Create boundaries between your work and home – my husband thinks I can spend my day doing chores for us like putting a load of washing on – these are all distractions from you building your new life
  • When you buy from someone, you buy their skills and expertise which ‘professionalises’ your relationship, if they would like to benefit from your time/service/product/skill/expertise, they can pay for it as well

What has surprised me

  • It can be lonely
  • People actually pay me for my talents
  • Support will come from the most surprising sources
  • Unless you have a VA, you can’t delegate
  • There is so much great free stuff out there (eg Zoom for video conferencing, Unsplash for beautiful, free images just like the one above). Upgrading to premium versions of some tools is worth every penny (mine are – Todoist for my tasks, Evernote for my notes, FocusAtWill music to help me focus)
  • I feel I can now call myself a writer (this article is an example) – my creative writing teacher would be eating her words
  • Virtual coffee is a thing (and saves a heap of cash/time/paper cups)
  • I’m the world’s biggest procrastinator (not sure how much of a surprise this really was – maybe just heightened awareness!)

Most importantly

You need to make a PACT with yourself, building a business takes Patience, Action, Consistency and Time

What have I missed? Do you have any other hints and tips that you could share to enhance this list? Please comment below.