I recently told you about the exciting and scary journey I was about to embark on in starting my own business.
Four months on I can confirm I have taken the plunge and, while still in its infancy, PR Button is now one month old. I have an office (this meant moving the husband out of the study), a brand, a website and – most importantly – clients.
I am still trying to piece together some of the aspects of running a small business – suddenly I’m also accounts, IT and cleaning – and while there are days when I think stacking shelves at Bunnings could be good, I have also learnt some really important things.
Five tips for running your own business
1. Don’t lose your bundle
Yes, there are moments when it all seems too hard, you have the cords in the wrong slots in the back of the computer, the software won’t work and the bookkeeper looks at you like you are lost cause when you ask, “what is the difference between credit and debit again?” (Actually I’m joking, I do know that.)
Stop, breathe in, breathe out. It is never as bad as it seems. When working alone it’s amazing what you have to learn. Take time, you might surprise yourself with what you are capable of.
(If that fails, having a long telephone conversation with a girlfriend and a glass of wine also helps.)
2. Have faith in yourself
As a public relations professional I have no problem advising clients on how to put their best foot forward, to stand tall and promote themselves.
It’s funny when the tables are turned isn’t it?
When dealing with your own identity and credentials, your “brand”, the confidence seems to fly out the window. We can become self-conscious, worried about what others will say and think.
My approach is to try and step back, be objective and treat yourself like a client. If you always give your clients excellent service, do that for yourself.
3. Call on the skills of others
Just because you are working alone doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.
We all know people with amazing talents, don’t be shy to ask for their help and advice. Part of my business plan was developed in bed over the phone with a girlfriend in Melbourne. Others provided feedback on my logo design and website, I have also tapped into another friend’s amazing spreadsheet skills.
In turn someone will call on you for help, don’t be shy to share what you have learnt.
4. Have a plan
Many people have asked me if I get distracted working from home? Luckily not yet, if anything the office pulls me in when maybe I should be doing something else.
I strongly believe in planning my days, the first few hours have to be devoted to making an income. Yes there are files to sort out but these can wait.
Schedule in time to develop the business, keep your online presence up-to-date, and meet with clients, colleagues and network. Now more than ever it is important to be meeting people and letting them know what you are capable of.
5. Enjoy every day
It sounds like a cliché – but it’s so true. Life is too short not to do the things we enjoy doing. Sure we have to make a living to pay the bills, the mortgage, the school fees, need I go on. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t develop a career and a lifestyle that is fun as well. It’s much easier to go to work everyday – be that the home office or a corporate suite – if we look forward to being there.
An older colleague once advised me to “make friends with the catering staff and everything will go well”. Well that’s me now and we are getting along just fine.