This month marks six months since I handed in my notice and focused on growing my business.
It’s absolutely flown by, and I can’t believe that for half a year now it’s been up to me to motivate myself, find clients, and keep everything running. The last six months haven’t always been the easiest, but so far it’s been a really fulfilling journey and one that I’m glad I started.
To celebrate this half year mark, I wanted to share a few of the things that I’ve learned about myself and running a business. There’s also a giveaway to win a Kate Spade stationery set. 💛
6 things I’ve learned about running a business
1. You have to stay motivated
One of the areas that I’ve struggled with the most is energy and motivation.
When you’re self employed, everything’s down to you. You have to market yourself, find and service clients, create products or services, stay present, and handle things like your finances too (unless you outsource). This can be a little overwhelming sometimes, so you have to stay motivated and focused on your goals to make it through.
There are days and weeks where I’m 100% on top of everything, but there are also times where I don’t have enough energy to prioritise my business. I’ve learned that that’s okay, that’s part of life. and so I schedule everything on a by-month basis rather than daily or weekly. This gives me the flexibility to take a non-work day if I’m feeling lost, unmotivated, or if I just want to do a few projects around the house.
2. Cashflow is so important
That dreaded word – cashflow!
When I was both self employed and employed, it didn’t matter so much when clients or brands paid me as long as they did. I could let invoices slip a little and generally be more relaxed about deadlines and cashflow.
Now that I rely on my business and my blog to provide an income for my family, it’s different. I’ve become much more organised at planning and managing my cashflow, with spreadsheets where I can see at a glance what’s due to be billed when, and when it’s likely to come into my bank account. This view has been so helpful as I can load up my spreadsheet, see where I am, and not let money become a daily worry. There are times where cashflow is tight, but this helps me to plan for those times so I can spend more time on marketing, reaching out to brands I’ve worked with before, or cutting back in other areas.
3. Projects will come and go
Even though I’ve always believed and known this, it’s something that still surprises you when it happens.
People always say to diversify your income, and to have lots of clients or services or projects on the go. I absolutely believe in this, and it’s one of the reasons why I run both my marketing business and my blog. There are moments where my business is very busy, and there are also times where I have a lot of blogging projects on the go, so they seem to balance out nicely.
I had a project end recently, one that I’d been working on for a few months and that contributed a big-ish slice of my normal monthly income. I knew this was always a possibility, so this is where planning out my cashflow really helps. It meant that I was never hoping for work to be guaranteed beyond what was scheduled in. Still, it did leave a bit of a hole that I’m in the process of filling with new projects, new clients, or new ways to generate an income. To turn a negative into a positive, this is one of my favourite parts of running a business – I love coming up with ideas and exploring different ways to create something that’s valuable and meaningful for someone that also creates income for me.
4. I need to have a schedule
Being self employed and working from home means that I can be really flexible with my time, but I’ve realised I still need to have a schedule or a plan for my weeks and months.
The main reason I have a monthly plan is to schedule in projects and client work – things that have a defined start and end date, or which take place monthly. These are the first things that I schedule in for the month ahead, along with any deadlines or blog collaborations that I’ve agreed. Everything else kind of falls around this, and I can work out how much time I have for admin, business development, marketing, and so on.
I used to plan my days really loosely, scheduling in hours or blocks of time wherever I wanted to. I’ve recently changed to the block schedule system from Fun, Cheap or Free and it’s working so much better for me already. Creating set blocks for themes of tasks means that I have defined times for projects, for family time, and for sleep.
5. There’s too much advice out there
The blogging and business world is full of endless advice, tips, strategies, gurus, and resources.
At times this is amazing and you’ll find something that’s perfect for you, but other times it’s a source of overwhelm, FOMO, and regret. As you research new strategies, marketing techniques, or approaches to life, you’ll find countless experts who all have a different take on it. Who do you know who to listen to, what to do, and in what order?
This is something that I always battle with, especially as I read more business and self development books. I’m learning that you can take elements of teachings from different people and put them together in a way that works for you, your business, and your life – and that you don’t need to feel the pressure to do something just because everyone else is. You can apply this to everything in life, but I think it’s especially relevant if you have a blog and feel the need to post Instagram stories, grow your follower count, create YouTube videos, start a podcast, write a book, and so on.
6. I can design a life that feels right for me
This is one of the major reasons that I decided to pursue my business and my blog full time, and I’m happy to say it’s definitely a step in the right direction. I think that figuring out your life and making it work for you is something that’s a journey, but I’m a little further along now that I can manage my schedule and do work that feels fulfilling.
When you run your own business you have a lot of freedom to create a life, a business, a way of doing things that makes sense for you. That might be making time every morning for a run, or it could be scheduling all of your working hours for specific days so you can spend one day a week on a personal project.
With a young family, being able to design my calendar, and my life, means that I can make time for experiences, school-related things, and also space for downtime. I struggle with low energy at times, so it’s really important that I can create space every week to recharge. The hustle mindset isn’t for me, and I don’t want to build a huge, multimillion pound business, just one that supports me, my family, and allows me to do work that I care about.
Win a Kate Spade New York Tackle Box
To celebrate this mini milestone in my business journey, I wanted to run a giveaway for something that’s always useful and lovely – stationery!
I bought this stationery box from Kate Spade the other week and thought it was so sweet that I’ve ordered another one to give away. The set features binder clips, paper clips, pencils, notecards, and other desk essentials. You can find out more about what’s included in the set here.
To enter the giveaway, use the widget below to choose the entry options that work for you. None of them are mandatory, so you can pick and choose the ones that you prefer. Remember to read the Terms and Conditions (below the widget) before you enter!
Kate Spade New York Tackle Box (Stationery Set)
Giveaway Terms & Conditions
– Open to UK residents aged 18 or over, and excludes employees of the promoter, their families and anyone else professionally connected with this promotion.
– This giveaway is promoted by Nicola Says, who is also the sponsor. The giveaway runs from Tuesday 20th November 2018 to Sunday 9th December 2018. Entries must be received by 11.59pm BST on the closing date to be considered.
– Only one entry per household.
– There is one prize available consisting of 1 x Kate Spade New York Tackle Box, as pictured. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is available.
– The winner will be chosen at random, from all entries received, by the giveaway widget (Gleam). The winner will be notified by email within 7 days of the giveaway closing date. Should the winner not claim their prize within 28 days of notification, an alternative winner may be drawn.
– The prize will be supplied and posted by me. By entering this giveaway you consent that, if you are notified as the winner, you’re happy to supply your name and address so that I can post your prize. This data will be stored securely, only used for this purpose, and deleted safely once you’ve confirmed receipt of the prize. Your details will not be used for any other purpose.
– This prize draw is governed by English law and the courts of England shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute arising in connection with it.
Good luck! 💛