This is probably one of my most requested blog posts EVER, so I thought it was about time to sit down and get this out for you guys. But here’s the thing, you need to take this with a pinch of salt. I left my retail job when I’d really had enough, and I’ve been doing this two years; and in terms of owning a business, that’s nothing! I’m still learning, I’m practically a newbie. Any advice I give out is only coming from my own perspective and might not work for you, or be applicable, and I’m really just hashing this out as I go. I just thought it was worth saying this, as I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking I’m some savvy, small biz expert. No way.
However… two years later and I’m still here. It was a big scary risk, but I’ve managed to keep myself afloat (just about) and I have learned a lot along the way. So after my one millionth request to do this sort of post, here we are. I’ll try my best, I’ll be as honest as I can, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it helps someone.
So here are my 4 tips I’d really recommend if you are thinking of starting a small business
1. Sort yourself out immediately for the tax man.
I know this is the scariest, most confusing, annoying part; but seriously just start immediately, you’ll be so glad you did. I know officially you’ll get a certain amount of time from launching your business before you have to sort your taxes out, but my god it’ll be easier if you do it from the get go. So, keep receipts for everything you buy which you need to run your business, and anything which costs you to keep it going. So for me this is things like postage receipts, printer ink, paper, office supplies, etc. Start planning how you’ll do your taxes and record all incoming and outgoing information. I use Quickbooks which costs me a small amount each month to organise all my finances, and it’s SO damn helpful.
2. Plan ahead.
Okay so you have an idea for what you’re going to make/sell/do right now; but what about next week? Next month? Next year? It sounds crazy to plan so far ahead, but it’ll be so helpful! I’m always updating my stock on my shop, and I also create things especially for specific holidays, seasons and celebrations too. It’s worth thinking about what you’ll be needing in 3 months time, so that you can be one step ahead and prepare everything you need. Planning ahead is also crucial not only for your business model, but your personal finances and decisions too. If your business goes through a rough patch, can you survive? Can you live without any holidays, new beauty purchases, or having as many nights out with your friends? This won’t apply to everyone; but again, it’s worth thinking about.
3. Have a back-up plan.
Sometimes things go wrong, that’s life. One time my cat knocked a huge open bottle of paint, onto loads of my stock and supplies – and they were RUINED. I hadn’t budgeted for needing to replace them all that month of course, and had to borrow money from my Mum. It felt the worst. There have also been plenty of times a bill has come out unexpectedly, or I’ve made NO SALES at all, which I can honestly tell you feels as horrible as it sounds. Its terrifying. SO, I’d recommend a back-up plan. Have as many sources of income as possible, have a savings fund specifically for a rainy day, and think about what you’ll do if your business fails. I hope that none of you ever have to go through that, but you need to plan what you’ll do if so.
4. Don’t compare your journey.
And finally, comparison is the thief of joy. I can’t tell you how much my own stomach churns and makes me feel ill, when I see how well other small businesses do compared to me. I sometimes have bad days where I sit and think about how little I make, or how little my business grows, and I can feel so depressed and ill. It does me no good to look at someone else’s journey and compare. I try to focus on all the things I’ve achieved so far, and step by step I try to work my way up to my next big goal. It’s all we can do! Stay in your own lane, focus on the good, and give yourself a break.
I hope this helps give some insight into running a small biz, and maybe even inspires someone.
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