Are you a business start-up?  Thinking of leaving the ’employee’ comfort blanket and following your dreams instead?

I’ve been a small business owner / entrepreneur / freelancer /writer / publisher for 4 years, today. Yay!  Go Me!  It’s been an interesting adventure so far.

And after a few kind LinkedIn connections congratulated me on my work anniversary, a few ideas sparked.

So I’ve decided to share them with you. Self-indulgent? Perhaps. But valuable stuff for me, and possibly any new start-ups, particularly writers who know they want to write but aren’t sure whether they can make a go of it.

Take what fits for you, I’m sure some will resonate.  And if you’re just starting out in your biz, please don’t let this put you off.  That wasn’t my intention.  And I promise, working for yourself is definitely worth the investment. 🙂

Here we are then, 30 snippets of advice I’d tell my scared, anxious, naive, excited 2013 start-up self:

  1. Not all customers are ideal – the unideal ones are just lessons.
  2. Never undersell yourself – charge £10 per hour and someone’s going to snap you up and hog most of your availability which puts a ceiling on your earnings.
  3. Don’t compare your prices to your hourly rate as an employee – it’s not a fair comparison.
  4. Don’t expect NOT to make mistakes – it’s all part of the adventure.
  5. Don’t spend bags of dosh on your start-up. Your business will grow, your ideas will change, your brand will need a makeover once you’re established.
  6. Don’t trust everybody – you are the only one with your best interests at heart, some people will just want to burn your fingers.
  7. Don’t burn yourself out – is there a theme here?! You are your business. Without you there is no business, no income, nada.
  8. Don’t forget to celebrate your successes – every day, every week, every month, every year. You’ve got this!
  9. Don’t take anything for granted – life gets in the way, clients move away, businesses close down.
  10. Don’t give up or look for a job – nothing beats this in the big scheme of things.
  11. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – see points 1, 2, 6 and 9 above.
  12. Always be grateful for how far you’ve come – remember how scared you were at the start?
  13. Be patient – success doesn’t happen overnight.
  14. Outsource when you need it or when your budget allows.
  15. Don’t expect your nearest and dearest to understand this is more than PIN money to you.
  16. Don’t create a job for yourself that you hate – if you’re not loving it change the badly fitting bits.
  17. Embrace change – you’ve got no choice.
  18. Call the shots – your clients don’t run your business, you do.
  19. Enjoy being your own boss – take time off without feeling guilty.
  20. Find a mentor with the ‘gel’ factor – who wants you to succeed as much as you do.
  21. Toughen up, pet – you’ll need to.
  22. Get paid before you start working on a client’s project – it saves a lot of stress and high blood pressure.
  23. Set your working hours and stick to them – you do not have to work EVERY hour or EVERY weekend.
  24. Remember, it’s not personal, it’s business – no matter how hard it feels sometimes.
  25. Don’t wait til your ‘me tank’ gets low before topping it up – it’ll be too late.
  26. Keep learning – there’s always something new to learn.
  27. Don’t be too hard on yourself – you’re doing bloomin’ marvellous!
  28. Invest in your business when the time feels right – upgrading your website, your branding etc can help you attract the high end client instead of the cheap and cheerful.
  29. Don’t put off doing your day-to-day book keeping – because it will snowball into a elephant-sized task that you never want to sort.
  30. Enjoy the ride – remember the good and not just the tricky bits.

There’s heaps more I could add to this but I’m going to leave it there and probably pick it up in 2018 – assuming I’m still in business <joke, of course I’ll still be in business, I’ll be a millionaire by then!>.

What would you add to your advice checklist?

Michelle x


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