What I Have Learned in My First Year of Business
If you told me two years ago that I would be running my own business, I would have laughed at you. Running my own business was never on the cards for me. Graduating from high school, my plan was to have a career in primary education and I was pretty set on that idea.
Opportunity after opportunity opened up for me to dabble in graphics and social media, and that’s where I discovered my passion. What I thought was going to be an easy year working for myself, has actually been quite a challenge and learning curve for me. Here are the main things that I have learned in my first year of business:
Develop Your Own Systems
Processes and systems are important when it comes to business. But if my first year has taught me anything, it's that not everyone's systems work for me.
I've seen (and tried) so many of the systems and processes that I have found on Pinterest...and the majority didn't work for me.
I won't go into my workflow here (maybe in another post), but the key thing that I learnt when it came to productivity is that my work style, habits, and creative methods are different to other business owners... and that's okay!
Understanding that not all productivity methods work for me, helped me to develop a system that naturally fits my work & creative style.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and help
A misconception that I had when I started my business was "I am a sole trader, I have to do this on my own."
I may not have had the money to hire help at that point in my business, but I did have a whole heap of small business owners on my social media who were more than willing to give me advice.
I wish I utilised their help sooner. I spent forever trying to find easy ways to do tasks on my own, when all I had to do was ask other business owners for advice.
99.9% of business owners have walked the journey that you are now, they have done the hard yards and are full of advice.
Remove the word "hustle" from your vocabulary
In my first 6 months of business. I was in non-stop hustle-mode. I was starting work at 9 am and finishing at 1 am the next morning. I poured ALL of my time into my business, and had none left for myself.
I felt like I NEEDED to hustle to make money and for my business to succeed.
This is still a skill I am developing, but I know that when I step back from hustle mode, I am able to clearly see what tasks I want to prioritise, I can refine my skill set and ultimately, can work more productively.
Hyperactivity does not equal productivity.
I have had to teach myself that busy is not a badge of honour; I need to invest time into myself, not just my business.
Money, Money, Money
Money is my absolute least favourite thing to talk (or think) about. I knew NOTHING about business finances and tax until 8 months into business.
Hearing the many business owners I follow on social media talking about tax time coming up made my heart pound. I had no systems in place, I didn't even have a business bank account!
The biggest thing that I have learnt when it comes to finance is that I don't need to be anxious about it, I need to be smart about it.
I spent a week reading blog posts on business finance and tax in Australia and what that meant for me as a business owner. I looked into the different bank accounts and found one that worked for me.
Going into my second year, my goal is to hire help for my finances. I want to be smart about how I utilise my finances and there's no better way to learn then from business owners who specialise in small business finance.