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Reflections on year one in business

2015 - 2016

As we reach the end of the year, it’s natural to reflect on what has been achieved. And this December especially is pertinent as my business reaches the end of my financial year and first full year in business.

The year one journey has been as exciting as it has been tough and yet, having exceeded my own expectations, I am even more determined to grow and achieve much more in the year to come.

Here’s my top five Do’s and Don’t’s for anyone thinking of setting up a business (which I whole heartedly encourage.) With the right mindset we can achieve our dreams, whatever they are (and they are different for us all.)

My Do’s

  1. Network: Walking into a room full of strangers and talking to them, let alone presenting to them was my biggest fear. And yet now I do it on a weekly basis, have gained business and even made friends. It’s important to choose the right networking group to suit you and your lifestyle.
  2. Be Authentic: Here’s the thing about working for yourself; people buy into you as you. Being able to express your true personality, your passion for what you do and form genuine relationships is what has kept my clients loyal.
  3. Understand your clients: Experience also counts for clients and a willingness to continue learning. Last year I knew nothing about recruitment, and this year my client suggested I could now enter the industry. Learning is a constant to avoid complacency.
  4. Take credit: This year, each and everyone of my clients has taken the time to say thank you for my hard work. Whilst previously I would have shied away from acceptance, this year I took a step back just for a minute and took the credit. And it felt good! And yes, it does work as a massive motivation to work even harder and learn even more to build on what we have achieved this year.
  5. Get an Accountant: I do words, not numbers – always have and it’s not likely to change anytime soon! The thought of spreadsheets and accounts fills me with dread, and the time spent trying to figure it all out could be used in more efficient ways, for me and my clients.

My Don’t’s

  1. Say Yes to Everything: With a natural desire to please everyone, this is really difficult for me. And this is especially in year one when you’re becoming established. But working for yourself means that you have to allocate time and resource where you know you can achieve results. And saying no (when appropriate) I have learnt can show you are in control of your time, which is of value and to be respected, not abused.
  2. Forget your own brand: No one else is going to promote your brand as passionately as you can. Make time for your blogs, your own social media, updates to your website (including maintenance) and of course, backing up your work!
  3. Sell Yourself Short: The biggest lesson for me was how to charge, and know when and how to ask for more when work specified isn’t in the proposal. Wanting everyone to like me means I hated asking for money in the first place, let alone asking for more. But sounds so basic, I learnt that actually businesses expect it from you!
  4. Give Everything Away: I’m not just talking finances here, and here I did learn the hard way. School girl error of putting a proposal together and not copywriting it, before learning that every suggestion had been taken on board, but with another company. Only needs to happen once!
  5. Forget about You: When you work for yourself, you can’t afford to be ill, but early on I was suffering with debilitating migraines caused by increased stress. It was a sign I needed to add swimming, acupuncture and a healthier diet into my lifestyle.

All these lessons may sound simple, but have been invaluable to learn for me, and taking the time to reflect has put me, and PRorigins, in a much stronger and more motivated position for 2016! It’s going to be amazing.

What would you add to the list to learn about business? As I finished writing I received an email from ‘The Girls Mean Business.” It says: “My best advice for 2016 is to keep doing what works, and stop doing what isn’t working.”

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

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