The decision to stop working for other people and start working for yourself is rarely taken lightly, and can be as overwhelming as it is exhilarating. Chances are you’ve done your research and know the steps you need to take to promote yourself and your services (after all, you managed to find us!).
This being said, for many the realities of running their own business throws up some serious learning curves. To help you navigate these ups and downs, we’ve put together some key points to keep in mind when starting your own business:
1. Small steps lead to big results
When you first set out on your own, your mind will probably be filled to the brim with big numbers, goals and expectations. At first you may find yourself feeling frustrated, or like the steps you are taking aren’t making a big enough impact. When this happens it is important to remember that all of those small steps you are taking – whether they include meeting a mentor, setting up a social media page or even deciding the colour scheme for your website – all contribute towards the bigger goals. So instead of beating yourself up for not doing enough, remember that every action you take, no matter how big or small, is imperative to your success.
2. Take days off
Excitement, passion and dedication for your business are fantastic – but if this leads to you working a seven-day week for months on end, you will quickly find yourself feeling burnt out. Taking days off will help you remain healthy and energetic, both of which will boost your productivity during your working days. Look after yourself and schedule time for relaxation, you’ll be surprised what an impact this has on your well-being.
3. Build relationships one at a time
Working for yourself generally requires a good amount of networking and relationship building to help raise your profile in your chosen profession. There are a number of ways you can do this, from attending networking events to socialising online. However you choose to start, networking relies on building relationships one at a time. Rather than copying and pasting a generic outreach, try and personalise your communications. Spending time talking to one person could well lead to other more meaningful contacts. When it comes to building a business, the quality of relationships is more important than quantity.
4. Keep a note of how people find you
When the clients start rolling in, you may not give a second thought to how they find you – “Hooray, I’m not invisible!” is probably all that’s going through your head right now. Once the initial relief has subsided however, you’ll want to keep tabs on how clients have found you. Was it word of mouth? Did someone love your tweets? Or was it through an online advertisement? Knowing how your clients find you will help you utilise these channels in the future, and get rid of any that aren’t working for you.
5. Invest in you
You have to spend money to make money – we’ve all heard the saying and as much as we may resent it, it is a valid point. When it comes to investing in yourself, whether it’s a course to expand your knowledge or an online profile to promote your business, trust your gut. If you believe it will propel your business forward, and you can afford it – do it.
6. Don’t compare yourself
In those shaky first years of a new business, it can be easy to compare yourself to bigger, more established businesses. Comparing yourself to businesses like this isn’t fair – they’ve already learnt from their mistakes and are reaping the rewards. Instead of comparing yourself, take inspiration from them – what do they do well? What can you do better?
We know how hard it can be starting a business from scratch and while this advice won’t guarantee success, we hope it makes the path to success a little smoother. Do you have any other advice for small business startups? Let us know on our Facebook and Twitter pages.