I first began my business back in 2015, but things were VERY unofficial back then. By which I mean, I was drawing up the odd greeting card for fun, and a couple of pals were kind enough to want to buy them. There was no shop set up, no product line, no idea what I was doing, basically.
Things didn’t really vamp right up until 2016; when I went all in, quitting my day job and giving my dream a real go. It was HARD. It still is. But I think I’ve learned a few things along the way, and I thought I’d share them with you all. I’m sure in another five years I’ll have learned so much more, as things are always changing and developing!
Here are five important tips for starting your own small business
1. Pace yourself
People always ALWAYS ask me how I got started, and I think a lot of people are after a quick tip to success. But I’m sorry to say I really don’t have it! People tell me they’ve had a bad month for sales and ask me how to change that, but I also have bad months! They’re just less often now, and hopefully a little less bad than they used to be. I don’t think enough people know that I slogged things out for at least 6-8 months before I noticed any real income from my work. Unless you’re really, really lucky; I think it should be expected. So pace yourself. I wouldn’t recommend spending loads of money ordering all sorts of products or investing way too much in your business early on. That sounds like I’m saying don’t believe in yourself – but I’m really not! I’m just saying be smart about it. Invest in things you’re pretty damn sure will be worth it, and start small. Offer one or two services or products, see how well they go down with people, take note of what can be improved, and build upon it. It’ll feel less scary starting out, and you can really listen to your customers about what they like/don’t like.
2. Don’t give up
Now that I’ve been realistic and maybe started on a downer, I want to encourage you not to give up! It’s not easy running a small business, but if it’s something you’re passionate about, it’s so worth it. I know it can be really hard when you get home after a long day at work, and you just want to watch Netflix and lie down; but if you spend time working on your small business; it’ll pay off in the end. Use every spare minute you have to invest, create, promote, build it up. You’re doing great, it’s just a long journey. It’s also really encouraging to follow other small businesses on social media. It’ll help you feel you’re in this together with some cool people, and keep you going.
3. Promotion is everything
Don’t be afraid to shout about your business, because if you don’t; who will?! Get it out there! Create imagery for social media promotion, schedule tweets, run giveaways or competitions, get your audience involved in decision making, show behind the scenes, or get happy customers to write and share reviews for you. The more eyes on your product, the more potential customers. Plus, people care about businesses that clearly care. Show them why this is your passion, and lovely people will support you!
4. Notice trends
I’ve never been one for trends in fashion, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. But I love following a whole range of people and businesses on social media (fashion heavy content included!) because it’s a great way to spot what’s hot right now. See what people are into, what products or services may help them, or what sort of style/impression you should be giving off. The smallest things can make the biggest difference!
5. Give something extra
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just whack out a pretty product (usually, unless you’re lucky); there’s a whole lot of hard work and personality that needs to go with your business too. Make your business stand out, make sure each and every customer remembers their experience with you; by going that extra mile. Whether it’s handwriting thank you cards, including freebies, or just sharing something positive with them. There are a million ways you can give extra, and make sure you do! It really does make a difference.
I’m not at all saying I’m an expert, far from it! I’m just a gal learning her way around this small biz world too. These are just the things I’ve learned so far, and I think would help others. If you have your own tips, please do feel free to share!
And while I have you, visit my new shop!
(Bonus tips: Don’t harass other small business owners asking about their suppliers etc, start keeping records of all income for taxes early on, and create products/services that YOU like, and others will too!)
*Any items sent for review are written about 100% honestly and in my own words. Sometimes collaborative content and partnerships with brands will appear on this blog. Affiliates links are used throughout this blog.