Have you been thinking of starting your own business? I jumped into freelance writing and blogging right out of grad school and have never looked back! It hasn’t always been easy – running your own business can be extremely difficult and stressful at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you’re thinking of taking the leap, here’s what I’ve learned and 7 of my best small business tips for beginners!
My Best Business Tips for Beginners
Want to start your own business? There are a number of key things you need to know! Here are my best business tips for beginners!
1. It’s Important To Figure Out What You Love To Do
If you want want to enjoy waking up and running your business everyday, the substance of your business needs to be something you love to do. I’ve always loved to write- journals, poems, lists, travel guides, you name it, I was always writing.
Blogging wasn’t a career when I was younger- I couldn’t say I want to be a blogger when I grow up, because it didn’t exist. But when I found out I could make an income writing for my blog and other online platforms, I knew that’s what I was destined to do!
As soon as I finished my Masters degree, I dove straight into freelance writing and blogging. Writing is something I enjoy doing all day every day. I can work from the comfort of my home, cafes around the city, pretty much anywhere my heart desires!
I love thinking up new ideas and conveying them in creative ways. The more I write, the more inspired I become. Make sure that whatever your business is made up of, is something you really love to do and can see yourself doing on the daily.
2. Creating a Solid Business Plan is Essential
If you want to start a business, you need to create a plan. A business plan is just like a guide – it helps you set goals and objectives for your business, as well as create strategies for achieving these goals. It’s basically a road map for what you plan to do and how you plan to do it.
A business plan helps you build a vision for the future of your business, which is a really exciting first step of the process.
Your business plan should cover three main components.
1. Business concept: Your business concept describes your business, its product or service and the market it will serve. This section should pinpoint what will be sold and to who. This is where you also discuss the industry, your business structure (sole proprietorship, limited liability partnership, corporation, etc.) and how you will make your business a success.
2. Marketplace section: The second component your business plan will cover is the marketplace section, where you will describe and analyze your potential customer base: who they are, how old they are, where they’re located, what makes them buy, etc. You’ll also do a competitive analysis, describing your competition and how you’ll position yourself to beat it.
3. Financial section: This section will contain your sales forecast, an expenses budget, a cash flow statement, a profit and loss statement, a break even analysis and more. You may want to get help from an accountant or a good spreadsheet software program for this part.
3. Setting Income Goals Is Everything
Your business plan will cover the goals for your business, and income goals are an important part of this. Think of the yearly income you would need to live the lifestyle you desire. For some people, that may mean $40,000 a year, for others it may be $150,000 a year, or $1 million per year.
When you set income goals, you can work out how much you need to bring in per month and per week, how many clients you need to on board, products or services you need to sell, etc. Don’t just wing it. Figure out how much money you need to make with your business so you can plan out your strategy efficiently!
4. Be Prepared To Wear Many Hats
Unless you’re able to hire employees right away, you’re going to need to wear multiple hats as a business owner. Take me for example. Not only do I write blog posts, I do photography, take care of my finances, do social media management and marketing, schedule and take meetings, do email marketing, etc. etc. etc.
When you can afford to outsource, this will make a huge difference! From hiring a photographer to having someone handle your social media and communications, there are lots of things you can hand off when you’re ready!
5. You’ll Experience Ebbs and Flows
When you start your own business you’ll soon find out that ebbs and flows are completely normal. Some months you’ll be raking it in, and others, not so much. You need to be prepared for the months that aren’t so prosperous, because every business has its high and low seasons.
If you have a super high earning month, don’t go and blow all that money. It’s not like a paycheque where you know you can rely on the same amount every time. Clients come and go, products come in and out of trend, and you just never really know what will happen. Make sure you have money saved for those rainy days!
6. Make Sure Your Finances Are in Check
When I started my freelance writing business, I wasn’t making a TON of money at the start. It took a while before I was making a significant full time income that could support the lifestyle I wanted. But at the time, I was able to live at home- I didn’t have to worry about paying expensive downtown rent and was able to save most of my money.
Everyone’s situation is different, but your financial health should always be top of mind. If, like me, you’re in a situation where you’re able to live with your parents for a few years or have a backup when times get tough, then you have a lot more breathing room.
However, if you need to fully support yourself and are jumping into a new business that hasn’t made any money yet, you should probably start it as a side hustle until you make enough money with it that you know you’ll be okay. Financial stress can be a huge, so make sure you’re on track before jumping into anything.
7. There Are Times When You’ll Question Your Sanity
There are so many wonderful things about running your own business – living your passion, setting your own schedule, not having to answer to anybody, taking vacation whenever you want, and so much more. However, there will be lots of times when you’ll think “what in the world am I doing?!?!”. LOL.
“Will this work? Is it sustainable? Why aren’t I farther ahead? When will my income skyrocket? Should I start looking for a more “stable” job?” All these questions will run through your mind and it is completely normal.
There will be times when you’re completely confident in what you’re doing and other times when you wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into. As long as you love what you do and are bringing in enough income to sustain your lifestyle, keep going! Don’t give up on yourself and realize these freak outs are completely normal!
Running your own business is amazing, but it doesn’t come without its stressors! If you’re really passionate, hardworking and consistent, you can create the business of your dreams! I hope you enjoyed my business tips for beginners, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section below!