9 Things I Learned While Setting Up A Creative Small Business
I've spent the last two years building my brand (essentially me learning to be comfortable with myself online) and the last ten observing the small businesses many of my close friends have created.
Well folks, I'm proud and excited to say I've gone off and created my own little slice of commerce in the world, ta-da! An online store which houses all of my hopes and dreams for the future. Half-kidding- I'm doing it mainly for the joy.
Anyhoo- I wanted to share what I've learned along the way. Advice in my own words gleaned from friends, family, e-courses, research, blogs, books and hands on experience.
1. Be Proactive
With technology today I could spend all of my time reacting; emails, messages, tweets, mentions...sound familiar? I read some really good advice in the book Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon, she recommends simply that we 'schedule' time to respond and focus more on being proactive.
Several times throughout my day I stop and ask myself, “Am I being proactive or reactive.” And that’s all it takes. Seriously- just a simple change in mindset.
2. Don’t sit down without a plan
Unless you want to kiss precious hours goodbye, that is. When I set aside time to work I need a plan. If I sit down at the computer with a bunch of vague ideas about what I need to do I’ll get sidetracked the instant I open my email/ Facebook/ Etsy. Which brings me to the next point…
3. Make a list
I am a list person. Preferably handwritten. My friend even taught me this nifty trick of drawing a blank box in front of the item so you can tick it off once complete.
Lately I have been making lists at night about what I want to accomplish the next day. I kid you not- It's helping me sleep better! Try taking 5 or ten minutes before bedtime to write down some easily achievable goals for the next day. It will not only keep you on track but will give you peace of mind.
4. Get Back on Track
Speaking of back on track, if I find myself distracted or bored, I move onto the next thing on my list. Sometimes I need a change of scene all together so I leave the room for a coffee break or just a quick walk. Anything it takes to keep you moving forward!
5. Keep a Clear Workspace
This might sound obvious but for me it really works. There is nothing that will demotivate me more than thinking about cleaning in order to work- that’s double work! Even if your space is tiny like mine- get yourself some real estate and keep it. You won’t regret it when you have a few spare moments (which you won't want to spend cleaning).
6. Don’t get sucked into the Social Media Black Hole
I spend the majority of my time on platforms I like best and don’t worry so much about the others. I personally love Instagram and Facebook most and tend to dabble in Twitter (Pinterest is an on-and-off obsession). I'm only one person! If I devoted time to all of social media I would have zero life= zero things to tweet, pin or share about.
Don’t stress too hard about gaining followers either. Social media is meant to be fun…and social. If you are genuine- your tribe will find you. As they say, 200 engaged followers are more valuable than 2,000 fickle ones.
7. Invest in Help if you can
Hiring a cleaner to come twice a month or arranging childcare can be invaluable when it comes to running a business. Maybe think about reinvesting some of your earned income into one of these things so that you can produce more, ideally generating more income. I do these things and the time saved is invaluable.
Seriously. I’m being serious now. If you are turning your passion into a business- don’t call it a hobby. It’s a Biz-Nass and you are a serious business person now. If you respect yourself and your work, others will too.
I could spend all day working on my business because I love what I do. I think about it when I’m running around after my kid, when I’m doing chores, at bedtime, in the morning- you get the picture. My mind is always working.
Remember that you need to feed the creative beast and he's a greedy thing. Fill his face with new places, conversations, and yes, even some downtime, and he will spit out ideas and inspiration faster than you can catch.
What's the best piece of business advice you've heard?