For ‘Small Business Saturday’ I thought I would write a little blog about what it is like to run your own small business; the good, the bad, and the ugly! I started Sisi & Seb in January 2017 and although I was determined to do it and start up, I honestly went into it quite naively. Thankfully this was the case because actually if I had known what was involved, I may not have entertained it! I do however, absolutely LOVE it beyond measure and I wouldn’t change it for the World. Here are just a few things which I have experienced.
- If you like sleep, starting your own business is NOT for you (unless of course you sleep through anything like my boyfriend); The sleepless nights can be brutal. It’s not that I have them now but when you first start up your head feels like it is about to explode. There are (like any new job) so many things to learn and get your head around. New systems, things that you forgot to do, solutions to packaging that come to you in the middle of the night like a bat out of hell. So, if you are starting a business, treat it like a baby and realise that you aren’t going to sleep much at first!
- Its hard to fit time in for you when you are trying to juggle it all and some days it feels like you have done NOTHING but it’s all about tiny steps and actually when you look back retrospectively you realise you have done quite a lot! Just saying, I could spend a wholllleeee day on Social Media, anyone hear me?! Its INSANE!
- There are so many hidden costs. I wish I had trained as an accountant because it’s a really frickin’ expensive!
- Know your strengths – mine is anything but accounting (can you see a recurring theme here . Don’t get me wrong I am good with numbers but balancing apparently not!
- Admit when you need help. It is tough being a one woman band and I love and always will, chant ‘I CAN do this’ to myself until I can but after a year of trying I had to say ‘I CAN’T (actually I think I screamed or cried, or did both!) when it came to accounting!
- Find a tribe and love them hard! Find people that are like minded small business owners like you. It can be a really lonely place as a business owner but if you can find other business owners or some amazing customers to bounce ideas off
- Don’t feel pressured into things – great example at the moment Black Friday. If it doesn’t sit with you don’t feel pressured to do it.
- Go with your gut but accept that you won’t always be right and that you have to be adaptable and reactive – I have made so many mistakes but It is all a learning curve. For example Facebook and the joys of ads. I have spent so much money on that but I had to try it because it’s the what if element. I could go on a huge rant here but I am just going to park it here. P.S If you’re reading this and you work for Facebook or have an insider trick – let me know!!!
- Build your brand – who are you and what does your brand stand for? I love to connect with people so for me it’s not just about selling a product. People must think that I am a bat shit crazy, that is me, it’s important for me that customers know me!
- Running your own business is like an emotional rollercoaster – one minute you’re on cloud nine, the next you’re crying your eyes out because something has gone wrong and then you could be so anxious because you’re just not sure about something, you’re not making sales and you have a mortgage to pay!
- You could spend countless hours on certain elements (seriously, running a business sounds more and more like having a baby right through to a toddler!). For example SEO (if like me, you have no idea what this means it’s ‘Search Engine Optimisation’) three letters and a black hole worth of a job. Again, something I wish I had trained in, this is a minefield which I literally scratch the surface of, as thankfully do my funds but you have to ask where your traffic and sales come from and how much you’re willing to spend!
- Sacrifice – although it is not a nine to five it means being constantly ‘on call’ whether through social media, emails, posting a photo, amending something at 4am because you screwed the code on your site (all a learning curve) that’s what you have to do!
- You can’t half arse anything – you really have to give it your all and take the risk to devote your life to it, having a business does NOT mix with having any other job. Even if it means giving yourself a six months / one year’s worth of your savings, that’s what you have to do.
- The Happy Dance – you have all seen the quote floated about – it ACTUALLY happens ‘when you buy from a small business someone does a happy dance’ it’s literally the most amazing thing when you get an order let alone 5 or 10.
- The benefits and the highs of running a small business definitely outweigh bad – lovely notes and words from your customers make it all worthwhile. When you feel you have achieved something, whether that’s customer satisfaction, a small income, that you have just conquered a system you feel SUCH satisfaction.
Thank you for taking time to reading this post. I could fill another half a page with small businesses that I love (check my recent Instagram posts for some inspo) but I am going to direct you to The Mamahood for a collective of amazing small, mama run businesses. Happy Small Business Saturday! Xx
Beautiful image via Ingrid Petrie Design