8 Things I've learnt about running a new Business

Aspiration, Inspiration, Application & Satisfaction

If you said to me a year ago I would have launched my own business I wouldn’t have believed you. I was lost, stuck and couldn’t see a way for me to achieve the work / life / family balance I so wished for and the thought of setting up my own business terrified me. A visit to a Mums in Business event provided me with inspiration and the kick that I needed to take a leap and 7 months and a Digital Mums strategic social media course later, I launched Marketing for Mums.

I have been on a massive learning curve which is only set to continue but I thought I would share some of the things that I have learnt along the way:

1) Set a deadline- build a business launch date around an event / season, whatever is relevant for you. Not only does it keep you focused on achieving your goal but it can set a timeline to work to. For me that was exhibiting at an event at the Islington design centre in London- what felt like a huge leap of faith. Without that I could easily see myself, in the pursuit of perfection delaying that final leap and as a consequence I would have missed valuable opportunities.

2) Fight the need for perfection- Would I like an award-winning website and an investor worthy business plan? Absolutely! However, I have realised that can come in time and you can find a middle ground. I have created a platform to enable me to talk to customers and with each conversation I am learning ‘on the job’ helping me to refine my thinking and ideas. This would not be possible if I had waited for utopia.

3) Build your ‘Tribe’- Going from working in an office surrounded by people to bounce ideas off, to setting up shop at home on my own has sometimes felt isolating. I am slowly building my network of support and resources to help me. This includes Facebook groups of likeminded Mums in Business e.g. The Talented Ladies Club, MPower Mastermind, Digital Mums #DMCollective all provide an endless source of knowledge and inspiration. I attend local networking groups. I have spent time with a business coach and at least once a week I meet a friend in a café to work next to each other for company and to enjoy the treat of a decent coffee.

4) Prioritisation- At the start of the year I set myself quarterly goals of things I wanted to achieve, and this has really helped to focus my energy. On a daily basis I carry around 2 notebooks ‘Ideas and Cunning Plans’ which I use to document any ideas I might have and a ‘To Do List’ book. I have pages and pages of ideas but only a limited amount of time in the day. I have therefore prioritised the ideas based upon what I believe will deliver the greatest benefit, budget and any tasks that are tied to a set timeline. The short term priorities are then placed on my ‘To Do’ list to move forward. That way growing the business doesn’t feel so overwhelming.

5) Seek collaborations- I started Marketing for Mums with no savings or investment. So, in the absence of cash I sought mutually beneficial collaborations. For example, I offered my time and experience in exchange for areas of support I needed for my own business. As my Accountant and bank balance reminds me, this can’t go on forever because you need to bring in an income but in the early days, whilst setting up it can be really helpful.

6) Self Care- Ok if I am honest, I haven’t done so well on this one. I have worked long hours, resulting in exhaustion and exercise has gone out of the window! So recently I have started running with a friend and attending a Yoga class with another set of friends. I do this during the day when my girls are at school and then continue work in the evenings, which I don’t resent as I have already had some ‘me’ time. Now I just need to make sure I don’t work too late and keep up the time for myself!

7) Reflect and celebrate success- Having your own business is a constant learning process and when you are head down delivering for clients, doing your own business development, admin etc, it is easy to plough on without taking a step back to review what’s working or not. This can be incredibly powerful but celebrating your successes (Prosecco o’clock?) can give you the extra boost you might need on a tricky day.

8) Keep the faith- Like life in general I have experienced highs and lows. At the start of my journey I wrote in a journal about why I chose to leave my stable, corporate job, why I have chosen to set up my own business and what value I want to add to my family, clients and myself. When I have a tough day, I dig out that journal and read it. From that day forward this has helped to positively shift my mind-set.

Yes I have hard days but overall taking the leap is the best thing I could have done. I love who I work with, what I do, the value I am adding, and I can work the hours I want to around my children’s needs. Which reminds me… got to dash, I am off to do the school run!