My first year of business has been full of ups, downs, and plenty of learnings. Here’s what I’d like to share with anyone contemplating making the same leap this year.
A year ago I registered a business name and took the leap into the world of small business. And what a year it has been! It seemed that every day in my first year of business brought with it new lessons and I am here to share six of those with you today.
1. People are genuinely supportive
Friends, family, colleagues and complete strangers have been genuinely interested in my business. I’ve been amazed at the willingness of people to offer support or a referral – or a quick email with a note of encouragement.
It’s especially wonderful when I witness someone else’s pride in my choice to have a go and start a business.
Perhaps they’re genuinely supportive because I’m truly energised when I talk (or write) about what I’m doing with my life. Isn’t this what they call doing what you love?
2. You have to keep the faith
Just as George Michael sang, you gotta have faith! There is uncertainty in business. You don’t know what is around the corner. This is hard for someone like me who likes being in control. The work goes up and it goes down. Life is messy. Everything goes crazy all at once.
I have to continually remind myself to have faith: in my networks, my skills and my choices. It will all be okay. Breathe.
3. I am responsible
Overall, I think I sleep more soundly than I did before being a small business operator. These days I will admit to waking in hot sweats over the sheer responsibility of it all! What if I get sick? What if something happens and I can’t deliver? Will I ever take a real holiday again? It is all on ME.
But you know what? These are my choices to make.
4. There are experts who are very generous
Early on, I made contact with a successful, local writer, hoping for some mentoring and guidance. Since that first contact, we have worked together on multiple projects. I not only gained a fabulous mentor, I also learnt so much from her approach to business, client communication and preparing quality content.
I hope after 20 years in this business, I am just as willing to share my knowledge and time.
5. Flexibility is still a choice
If you’re lucky enough to work flexible hours, it still takes effort to maintain a balance.
I don’t like saying no – especially to clients. There is a customer-service ethic in me built from my days in retail. It’s very easy to keep working when the kids are home or on the weekend just to stay on top of everything.
Yet there are values intrinsic to my business that I need to maintain. One of those values is balance. Making a choice to deliver on time is critical, but it also needs to be carefully balanced with the needs of my other clients, my family, and my energy.
Maintaining flexibility takes discipline. It’s available if I factor it in.
6. Every new job is a thrill
I still high-five myself on landing a new writing or editing job! It is super exciting, and I am determined to keep celebrating each success.
Repeat business, positive feedback, and seeing the tangible results of my hours spent tapping at the computer; these all reinforce the choices I have made.
Of course, there are still doubts at times (I’m only human!), but I know if I keep learning, I’ll keep growing.
Was 2015 your first year in business? What did you learn?