2 Years in Business - And What I Have Learnt Along The Way
Cheers! Two years working for myself and wowzers what a rollercoaster of a ride - luckily I do love an adventure!
Sooo in the last 24 months what have I learnt/discovered about myself ?
Here are 24 things that I want to share with you that sum up how I got from starting my business as a frantic freelancer in June 2019 to being a thriving business owner two years later:
My family love my business success and are really thrilled with what I’ve achieved. They love to hear about my new clients, the exciting digital tools I find and my latest offer ideas.
I’m not easily distracted, thankfully - which has meant through the throws of Covid I was (mostly) able to cope with the big kids returning home and turning our house into a Forde We Work.
I need company - which I have found in the fabulous Ruth Gilbey Online Business Collective membership. A community of women who thrive, find their passion and support one another.
It’s possible to work anywhere - and we are currently proving this point - ie see the photo above. Which is me with a G&T on a Friday afternoon in our motorhome by the river. We’ve taken to working Fridays away when we can - and making the most of weekends exploring the countryside. Oxfordshire and Cotswolds are a particular fav at the mo - but I am happy to receive any recommendations!
Registering my biz with HMRC was not scary at all - and I have no idea why this was such a barrier for me!
Saying “Yes” to everything was not a good idea and I got myself in a right old pickle to begin with! Choosing who you work for is a huge bonus of working for yourself and I have learnt to go with my gut on this one. If it doesn’t feel right it’s not going to work.
Trying to save money costs money!!!! I learnt this the hard way. I still can’t believe that I resisted paying £4 a month for a Google business account and started with a personal (free) one - what a pain that turned out to be! If you are starting your business and choose to use Google as the infrastructure (I love Google) - then don’t waste time and energy on the free version. Jump straight into the business Workspace account - there are so many benefits (that’s a whole other blog!)
Setting boundaries is so important for your mental wellbeing. Clients shouldn’t be Whatsapping you on an evening and a contract is necessary for any money that’s exchanged for services.
Running your own business is exhausting but oh-so-much-fun! I love the flexibility, the freedom and the adventure. I am learning every day. I am sharing what I discover with others and I am getting smarter and quicker at finding leads and moving forward with them.
Outsourcing is a money/time/energy saver - when done right! I have learnt to outsource when things are not my expertise, not my zone of genius and not my cup of tea! Something I have recommended to my clients too - but to make the most of your outsourcing you need to prepare/set goals/manage expectations…. And you have to allow time for adjustment and relationship building.
When possible, ALWAYS stick to working with your ideal client. The rewards are the best. The impact you have and the transformation you make gives you such a buzz!
Setting goals and revisiting them on a regular basis ABSOLUTELY makes things happen! I had never set goals before, but once I learnt the theory behind the action I saw things happen…. Almost immediately!
I’m a planner! To be fair I knew this already. Bringing up 4 kids and having a busy household meant we have to be organised otherwise we wouldn’t get stuff done or I would leave a child behind somewhere (this has actually happened more than once - I’m not perfect!). However, with my business I found that I naturally fell into a pattern. Setting my client work hours alongside space for my business development and including time for exercise, friends and fun. My working week is full on - but I have also made time to do the stuff that I love and enjoy.
There’s a creative side to me which has found an outlet in the digital world - mostly Canva! I love to create social media templates, blog creatives, proposals and other pdf marketing materials on this fab digital graphic design tool.
My eyes don’t work properly before 9.30am and I need at least 2 coffees before I have a Zoom call! TBH I am more of a night owl than an early bird - and I am ok with that. 6am starts are not my thing!
The importance of rewards. If you don’t reward yourself for the successes and achievements you make then you’ll quickly fall out of love with your business!
Paying for digital tools and software that saves you time feels like one of the best investments you can make. I love anything that will automate a process or organise a workflow. So whether it’s a project management tool, email service provider, social media scheduler or business management solution I am VERY interested!
I feel a little bit smug when my kids' friends ask me about social media, hashtags, google searches, pimping their LinkedIn profiles or what the latest Instagram feature is - makes me laugh that I can teach them a thing or two about it all!
Investing in a good accountant has given me peace of mind, saved me a ton of time, energy, (probably) tears AND money. You don’t know all the things you don’t know …. If you get me!
I rarely finish work at 5.30pm and I often work at the weekend. BUT that’s my choice - I don’t work with clients on Fridays, I always have at least two hours in the week dedicated to coaching and I put time aside to develop my business.
Be strict with yourself and your clients about holiday. This has got to be one of the best things about working for myself. I know that Christmas is a busy time for us as a family and so I do the right thing for me and book 3 weeks off. I also make sure that every 3 months I have a week off from client work to focus on my personal development and this is on top of the holiday we take as a family.
Outsourcing doesn’t have to mean outsourcing your work! I’ve chosen to outsource cooking twice a week. We have found a fab local company who we lovingly refer to as our “Dinner Ladies” . They deliver home cooked, locally sourced meals to our door. We see it as a win-win! Delicious dinners prepared for us twice a week - taking the pressure off evening cooking. Which frees up some space to spend on my business, my clients or my family.
Listening to my clients means I deliver exactly what they need. Building trust with my clients has allowed me to discuss in detail what they find challenging and frustrating about their own businesses. This in turn has enabled me to be a bit of a trouble shooter. If I understand what keeps them awake at night then I make it my mission to come up with a solution. The Mary Poppins of organising your business!
Done is better than perfect. I have to keep reminding myself about this one. Getting something 80% right but out there for your clients to see is better than keeping it to yourself until it’s perfect…. Because perfection rarely happens! I see this with my website, offers, marketing materials, copy etc…. But we just need to get it out there! Afterall, being perfectly imperfect gives you the authenticity and sincerity that people are looking for.
If you would like to know a little bit more about me and the way I work head over to my About Page for some more information and insights into what I offer.