It has been a year since Dad and I started Vine Business Support and I decided to take the leap to being self-employed and I can honestly say that there hasn't been a day where I have regretted my decision.
I would be lying if I’d said it had all been plain sailing and that I haven’t had a sleepless night (or 300)! I’m an inherent worrier and whilst that keeps me working hard it can also be to my, and our business’s, detriment so I have had to learn to focus on the things that I can do something about and make them work for Vine.
As a reflection of our first year, here are the five things that have had the most impact on me.
It’s OK to say no.
As a new business the need to get clients on board and feel like you are making progress towards your targets comes with a temptation to say yes to everyone and everything. One of the biggest things I have learned is to say "no" - if it doesn’t feel right trust your instinct. If a client seems like they are going to be hard to develop a relationship with and hard to work with, evaluate how much you need the business vs how much you need the headache!
Don’t give up at the first hurdle.
It’s not going to be easy, you will experience incredible highs in running your own business but that comes with lows too. There will always be knock backs but take something from each one to try to prevent it from happening again and don’t get disheartened by it - no one knows what’s around the corner.
People don’t just come to you.
It’s easy to think that in today’s world of constant online communication you will get customers flooding to you through social media or via your website and if you’re lucky that might be the case. But I have learned that offering the services we do requires a client to build trust in you and nine times out of 10, they won’t do that through a screen. Building relationships that might turn into revenue takes time, but it is worth it.
Remember why you took the leap in the first place.
I decided to go into business with dad following a difficult time for our family that lead me to re-evaluate what I wanted from my life. I wanted flexibility to spend time with my family, I wanted to build a business that would financially support me moving forwards and ultimately I wanted to enjoy going to work every day. I remind myself of these regularly and make sure they happen - I arrange my work around the days I can pick my nieces and nephews up, I keep a track on our business finances to make sure we’re moving in the right direction, and, going back to lesson one, we have clients that I enjoy working with and that makes each day a little easier!
Don’t try and do it all.
The services we offer to our clients mean that they don’t have to do it all, but we apply that to our business too. If there isn’t something that Dad or I can’t and don’t like doing we will seek support to help us, it means we can focus on what we need to do to deliver for clients and if we need to look to an associate to help with our own business we will do it - practicing what we’re preaching!
So, what am I going to do with these lessons? I’m going to keep learning! This has been a whirlwind year and as we revisit our vision and planning to take us into year two I know that I can take what I’ve already learned to make our business better and to help our clients but most of all I know that the lessons of the next year will be completely different and I can’t wait to find out what the future holds for Vine.