Building your own business is uber hard work …but so worth it!

Inspiration to build a business on my own……

If you said to me 18 months ago I would have launched my own social media agency business I wouldn’t have believed you. I was a little lost, stuck and confused after running a children’s party business for the previous 9 years and couldn’t see a way for me to achieve the work / life / family balance whilst continuing to do this! In my career life before children I had always done a marketing role which I had loved and I always wished to set up my own business in this line of work which would see a weekly work life routine whilst all my children were at school.

Since taking the plunge with launching ‘Marketing Madness’ 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) ALWAYS 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.

2) Fight the need for perfection – take the leap and the rest will follow – Would I like an award-winning business and an investor worthy business plan? Absolutely – who doesn’t?! However, I have realised that can all fall into place over time and you can find an immediate way forward. 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 perfection to start.

3) Build your ‘Tribe’- Going from dancing around a hall with pre-schoolers and young children 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. Multi Hats Club, Solopreneur Business Help & Advice UK, The Lead Generation Academy to name a few amongst many – these all provide an endless source of knowledge and inspiration. I also attend local networking groups. I am now about to embark on a business coaching programme with ‘The Business Plan Guys’ which I am uber excited about and at least once a week I meet fellow sole traders to work in a collective hub.

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 several notebooks ‘gratitude diaries’ which I use to document any ideas I might have and a summary of what I have achieved plus a ‘To Do List’ book. I have pages and pages of ideas but only a limited amount of time in the day. My client work is building all the time and I am therefore having to prioritise this time to deliver on time work to 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 have collaborated with other sole traders and am continuing to build up other links 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- 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 to my frustration! Sometimes due to work I am having to continue into the evenings, which I don’t resent as long as I start building in some more ‘me’ time which would be more exercise windows throughout the working week.

7) Reflect and celebrate success- Having your own business is a constant learning process and when you are head down delivering for clients, working on your own business development, admin etc, it is easy to just crack on without taking a step back to review what’s working or not. This can be incredibly powerful but celebrating your successes (time for wine!) 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 start another business and change the course of the party business after 9 years of slog, why I have chosen to set up my own social media agency 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 and keep the focus ….and faith!

Yes I have tough days but overall making 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! Hee Hee …….