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Ten things I wish I knew when I started my business

The loft and us homepage on a macbook

Ahhh, the life of the entrepreneur, get ready for a life of excitement, freedom, unbelievable highs and the freedom of being your own boss.

Unfortunately, it also comes with afew condescending, soooooo, howwww’s it allllll going then? Said in a slow, monosyllabic tone with a concerned smile as they look at you like you recently announced your mission in life is to start a Beyoncé tribute act and recreate her super ball performance in a series of mime and tap dance YouTube videos.

It’s also a time where family members may say things such as, I really believe in you! followed by, annnnd , if it doesn’t work out you can always go and get another job at such and such, remember cousin Sally is still looking for employees at the wacky warehouse sandwich bar.

If you’re launching a product based business you may continuously get asked, So how many have you sold this week, or even the more inappropriate, how much money have you made this week/month? Again said in the same patronising tone as if you’re selling hand made flower chains hand picked from your own back garden with your mums homemade lemonade.

Then, when they see you bringing in the large orders they say, well that’s it, great, you’re making big money now, you can so come on the Vegas trip next month, not understanding that as its early days you may still have to put all of that money back into your business to help it grow.

Phew, quite frankly it all sounds abit tiring right, and it is. But the pay off is sooooo worth it and if like me you’re the type of person that couldn’t possibly foresee working for someone else’s dreams for the rest of your life instead of  your own then the below tips will most definitely come in handy.

Ok so, you ready? Well lets dive right in then…

Stop waiting for perfection

 

I am the ultimate perfectionist and its incredibly hard for me to actually love anything I put out there, even if I’m complimented by someone in the design world whom I truly admire, there is always that after thought of – it could have been better. There comes a point where if you don’t start putting things out there and making moves, you’ll forever be in the talking about it zone which will make the actually doing it zone seem ever increasingly harder than it actually is. In the meantime someone with a crappy website but shit hot marketing skills is kicking your butt because they decided not to wait for perfect and just build and evolve as they go. Nobody expects perfect at the very beginning, so please don’t put that pressure on yourself, stop discussing and start doing!

 

 

Only take advice from people who have successfully launched their own business.

Yup this may seem pretty standard advice, but you’d be surprised at how many of your friends and family suddenly see themselves as entrepreneurial connoisseurs and want to freely hand out their own top notch advice even though they’ve never launched so much as a bread stick themselves. Obviously if they are the CEO or Vice President of a company, even though they didn’t establish the company themselves, to get to where they are, they must know a thing or two about how to grow a brand, so don’t take what Im saying too literally. The point I’m trying to make here is everyone will want to hand out advice on things that the majority of them have no experience in themselves, so you need to know who to listen to and who to just smile at, nod and keep it movin!

 

Find a mentor

This obviously follows on from the previous but I would say there is nothing more gratifying than knowing you have someone to talk to who’s been where you are, knows the pitfalls and pot holes and has the answers to get you out of them. Start reaching out to people you admire and maybe send them a complimentary email, brush their ego abit then ask if they’d ever considered mentoring before and if they have would they have any time to take you on.

 

Network and connect with fellow entrepreneurs

Again this piece of advice is GOLD. DUST. Even if you connect with only one other fellow entrepreneur on your journey you will be forever thankful. No one gets it as much as someone who is on exactly the same path as you. You can share knowledge, bounce ideas of one and other, ask for their valuable feedback and on the odd occasion completely wile out to someone who completely understands your frustrations and will hopefully give you some sound advice on how to tackle any issues you may have.

 

Research your target audience

That’s great that you’ve decided to launch a company that sells handmade Donald Trump voodoo dolls (could do very well to be fair) but if there’s no-one out there who would readily buy your product or service you’re not going to have a business for long. Find out if there’s a space for you in the market you want to get into. If there is, what does your target market do, where do they hang out, what are there likes, dislikes. The quicker you know your audience, the easier building a connection will be. I get it, at first this part will seem completely daunting and boring, but unfortunately it has to be done sooner rather than later and actually you’ll end up with a much better clarity over your business, your customers and what moves you need to take to further improve your brand.

 

Learn your basic business acumen

Again seems pretty standard right. Well nope, not for me, I didn’t know and am still getting to grips with accounting, and all those delightful other subjects but if you want your business to soar you gots to gets to grips with all of this. Ugh, I know. Tedious.

If you’re still abit clueless like I was, have a quick look at the links here and here I provided, to help get you started.

I remember when I went to my first business networking event and other fellow entrepreneurs started reeling off things they’d done or are currently doing to really help streamline their business, I was like ummmm, I posted a pretty picture on Instagram last week! Tumbleweed……….

 

 

 

 

 

Marketing is your no.1 priority

Marketing is integral for your business, if there’s no marketing then you pretty much don’t have a business, you just have a hobby. It’s like opening a boutique in the middle of the Sahara dessert and asking, but why is no-one coming to see my pretty shop, though? Hop on Google and literally type in, the best way to market a small business, and see what pops up! There are hundreds of free websites and blogs such as skillshare.com or Lynda.com that can give you the knowledge to improve your marketing skills and much more. Be clear on your brand concept, why you started and what makes you different from your competitors, as this is what’s going to set you apart and raise your A game.

The most important thing to remember is, never assume or expect your customers will find you, without the right marketing they won’t. You need to get out there and let them know you exist otherwise you wont be existing for long! Sorry to come across all grim reeper-ish but I is just dealing ze facts.

 

Never assume your customers will find you. You need to get out there and let them know you exist. (Click To Tweet)

 

 

 

 

Don’t try and do it all: Out-sourcing is your friend.

For example if you’ve lost an entire day figuring out how to do something on Photoshop when you have a mountainous to -do list perhaps that task could have been delegated to someone who knows Photoshop inside out and could have done it in half the time for a small and reasonable fee. Out sourcing will give you the time to focus on what it is you do best and will also relieve a lot of stress and anxiety. Truuussst me, once again, I’ve been there! Still pop back there occasionally to be fair, bit slow, me.

 

 

Its ok to still keep your day job

Or work part-time, or whatever it is that will help support your business. If you really hate your current job, then go out and find another, if you’re not lucky enough to be able to give 100% of your time and focus on your new business that’s totally ok, thousands are in the same boat as you. A great thing to remind yourself is that you’re one of the very few people out there that is actually doing something to change and improve your life, you’re not just sitting around complaining about you’re current situation and how shitty it is, you’re taking action and laying the foundations that your future self will be so grateful for.

 

No one ever knows it all

Ok, so I’ve only been running my own business for just over a year so I myself am still very much in my infancy as a brand. I always beat myself up about not knowing how to do this, that and the other. So this is a reminder for myself also, I’m forever learning, researching, reading new books, joining webinars, anything to increase my knowledge on how to improve my brand and keep me sane. So just remember you will never know it all, there will always be something new out there that apparently everyone must jump on immediately. don’t let it stress you out, stick to your plan and keep those blinkers on.

 

To be honest I could have gone on forever here but this is a blogpost not a novel so I had to narrow this down to ten tips instead of fifty, but hopefully some of you can either relate because you’ve been there, or if you’re just in the early stages of establishing your own company you’ll keep these tips in mind.

If anyone has any other bits of advice they feel really helped them, id love to hear them. No seriously I would, sharing is caring folks! Hope you enjoyed the post!

 

B xx

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