9 Things Successful Entrepreneurs Learned In Their First Year of Business
Whether you're trying to decide when's the right to time to start your own business, or negotiating the difficulties of working from home (and for yourself), we spoke with four successful female founders to find out the crucial things they learned during their first year of operating. Keep scrolling!
Jess Ruhfus, Collabosaurus
It's likely to take more time than you think! Make sure you're leaping into a job you're passionate about because it usually takes longer than expected or hoped to gain traction in your new venture. For me personally, I tried to build as much of Collabosaurus as possible before quitting my full time job. I waited until I reached capacity emotionally and physically before taking the jump and I'm so glad I did! If I'd quit too early, I couldn't have managed financially and if I'd waited too long, I would have been up against a direct competitor with no time or resources. I believe that deep down you know when it's the right time to make the move, and talking about it helps!
Build and nurture your network.
Your network is a powerful business tool and be aware that you're forever representing your personal brand and future business. Play nice! It's useful to also join online groups and communities. There are so many resources out there for women seeking support in their businesses. Have a look at The Female Entrepreneur Association, Big Hearted Business and Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine.
Vicki Engsall, Co-Founder of The Jojoba Company
You have to love your product.
If you love the product you are working with when you are working for yourself, it is easy to be motivated and to motivate yourself. So always choose something you are passionate about and believe in so it doesn’t feel like a job, rather, a hobby!
Don't be afraid to start slow.
I started by working at home at night before actually giving up my full time teaching job just to make sure this was something I wanted to do and something that could actually work. I gave up my full time teaching job when it all got too busy to do both and I haven’t looked back. Although working for yourself can be flexible, you need to be more diligent about planning your days to ensure that you can fit everything in. When you are working full time, your hours are set for you. When working for yourself, you need a lot of self-discipline and to be organized to make sure you can put in the hours.
Set up a great working environment.
I set up a home office that I actually loved being in. It felt peaceful and I was surrounded by beauty products so I was very happy! Anecdote I was working as a full time teacher and loving it. While I was on maternity leave with my son, the opportunity came up to start The Jojoba Company. I wanted to be more flexible with my work so I could spend more time with my baby. I was due to go back to full time teaching as I was at the end of my maternity leave. That’s when I bit the bullet and decided to start the Jojoba Company with my dad. It definitely gave me more flexibility so I could work while my baby was sleeping or at night. For me, it was the perfect solution for the work/life balance I was after—and still is.
Danetsa Konsky, Co-Founder of Pure Hair Food
Take the time at the start of your business to do a simple business plan as well as cash flow forecasts. It's important you know your numbers inside out to help you succeed.
Dress professionally—even if you're working from home.
Always dress for the office! This may sound weird, but if you have a home based business get dressed every morning like you are heading into your old office. Hair, make-up, the works—it is very easy to become lazy in this department but [dressing professionally] absolutely helps with how effective you are throughout the day. Trust me!
Master your social media
Social media is the quickest and cheapest way to get your new business out to the masses and quickly. Post something on your social media at least once a day to keep your online community engaged.
Emma Kate Codrington, Emma Kate Co.
Invest in yourself.
When you move into your own dream full time, it's so easy to get caught up in the work and the (many) hours, and get lost in the direction of where you're going and the evolution of yourself. By signing up for online courses, night classes, or self-teaching and dedicating time to learning and integrating, you commit to honoring your own path. Carving space for working on your business (and on you), as well as in your business is crucial. Lately I've been learning new photo editing software Lightroom, and although it makes me uncomfortable and it would be so much simpler to use the processes I've learned over years in my work, I push myself and commit to practicing and developing my skills. In the long run, I know my skills will become so much more advanced than if I stick with what I already know.