So I often like to joke around that I went to school for entrepreneurship because my Master’s degree is literally in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Management.
But the reality is – there is nothing quite like real-life experiences to truly learn the ins and outs of running your own business. As any entrepreneur out there, many of the things I learned throughout my journey – I learned them the hard way. And while I’m all in for overcoming obstacles and learning in the process, there are a couple of things that I wish someone warned me about or taught me before I started my own business.
In this episode, I’m sharing with you some of the 7 biggest lessons I learned the hard way so that you can get on it ASAP and start incorporating them in your business as well.
Here’s a recap of the 7 things I wish I knew about when I first started my own business:
Accounting was never my forte. Numbers in general are not my thing, And accounting was the one subject at university that I really struggled with. But guess what?
It’s the one subject that showed to be truly useful once I started running my own business.
But knowing what a P&L is isn’t enough. You need to set up a system that will work from you and the sooner – the better! Here are some rules that I started implementing from the very beginning and I’m so glad I did:
To this day, it’s still the biggest mistake in my business. A mistake that cost me nearly £10,000…. As many starting freelancers, because I didn’t have the funds to hire a lawyer or purchase professional templates, I looked around for free contract options online.
My contracts were inconsistent, had loopholes and I really didn’t feel confident sending them out to my clients.
It’s only in late 2018 that I finally took the leap and invested into some proper templates from The Contract Shop – and I just wish I did this sooner. I wish I did this from day 1!
Because… a week after I purchased templates, I started a legal pursuit with a client who was on a previous contract and refused to pay me nearly £10,000 in project fees. After I asked my lawyer friend to look over my DIY-ed contract, she shook her head and said “It’s messy, Gigi. I don’t think there’s much we can do here.”
You need to protect yourself from the beginning. If there’s one investment that you should make into your business, it’s proper legal protection to ensure your projects run smoothly and help you avoid uncomfortable situations like this.
Repeat it one more time – Activities. Doesn’t. Equal. Growth.
Just because you’re keeping yourself busy, doesn’t mean that you’re actually benefiting your business. Remember, progress will always trump perfection.
So if there’s something that you’ve been working on for a long time now and not making any progress, I want you to do this…
In the next week, block out a day in your calendar to finish off that project you’ve been procrastinating over for so long.
Oh, how I wish someone kicked my butt when I started and reminded me of this. You gotta keep your focus on one thing:
But instead, I wanted to be everywhere and talk to everyone! And quick enough, I was burned out, lost and confused. As a result, it took me 2 years to find clarity, find myself and find what truly differentiates myself from other designers.
Don’t let it take this long for you. Focus on one thing at a time and progress from there.
If you don’t yet have a nailed-down elevator pitch or one-liner – start working on it! You gotta know how to confidently talk about who you are, what you do and who you serve.
Here’s a formula that you can use to help you craft your kickass one-liner:
I/my company ______(name of company)_______ is developing (or other action verb) ________ (an offering)______ to help ______ (your ideal audience/client)______ ______(solve a problem)______ with ______ (your secret sauce)_____.
In practice, it would look something like this:
I, Yevgeniya Davarashvili, develop strategic design solutions to help small businesses and creative entrepreneurs build powerful brands and websites with growth and conversion in mind.
Do you also believe that you can do everything on your own? I’ve been there friend! And hey, I don’t doubt that you’re incredibly talented, but it doesn’t mean that you should be doing it all on your own.
Think about the things in your business that take you too much time or the things that you really don’t enjoy doing. These are the first tasks that you should consider optimising, outsourcing or automating.
Hiring an accountant was the best decision for my business because not only it freed up my time, but accounting actually became almost fun now!
You don’t always need to hire someone. There are so many apps and plugins available right now that help you automating and optimising your processes, so do some research and see what is out there!
Running your own business, building your empire – that’s the dream, right? But sometimes, that dream can be a blessing and a curse in disguise. The truth is, entrepreneurship can be a bumpy, rocky, unpredictable road sometimes.
But hey, I get it. And it doesn’t have to always be that way.
So here are a couple of tips that will greatly help you when things get a little hard and you need to be reminded of why you started your business in the first place: