Things I’ve Learnt From Being In Business For 3 Years
With my 3 year Sass-a-versary coming up, I wanted to reflect on my 3 years of business - how much I’ve learnt, and how much has changed since I set up my company.
I remember the day I set up my business well. It was warm, I’d left my full time job the month before and I found my self working a couple of days a week with the lovely Madeleine Shaw. The other days of the week I had been spending living the stereotypical freelance life - sitting in expensive coffee shops drinking coffee I probably couldn’t afford in Central London (where I had to also pay for my train ticket up on top of the expensive drinks!)
I was sat in the Hoxton Hotel in Covent Garden chowing down on some quinoa porridge (again, it’s a freelance thing) and I spur of the moment just set up my company on one of those ‘off the shelf’ kind of websites. It cost me about £20 and I registered by business as Lucy Hitchcock Ltd. Original. I had always planned to call my business Sassy Digital but I thought at the time it made more sense to name it after me in case it didn’t work out.
So since then, what are my biggest lessons, mistakes, regrets and victories? There have been many and while I could sit here all day and recall times where I’d done different things I’ve selected the few that might be useful for someone else to hear that’s just going into business!
1. Never say no (unless it’s against your morals)
My number one rule of business is to never turn down business. Saying you’re too busy is definitely not an excuse - hire some help. If a client asks you to do something and you don’t think you can offer them that service, then find a way to do it, and do it well. When I first started Sassy Digital, I was always going to be a social media consultancy, but social media consultancy turned into digital marketing consultancy, which also turned into website designs, builds and integrated marketing. Then as if by magic Branding was another one of our specialities. Clients asked and we responded with a simple word, ‘yes.’ and we’re still saying yes to this very day.
2. An office dog is important for general happiness
I joke not when I say one of the main goals of me working for myself was to be able to get a dog. If my staff had dogs then of course they could bring them to work. Dogs bring so much calmness and joy into the work place it makes it a happier more productive place to be.
3. Not everyone will be happy for you
The big J - yes not everyone will be happy for you and unfortunately some of these people will be close to you. But if they aren’t happy for you, are they worth having in your life?
4. Employing someone is the most stressful, but rewarding thing you will ever do
It took me a while to take this leap of faith, and although at the time I was overwhelmed with work, the thought was always in the back of my mind that the extra money I was earning would have to go to someone else’s account each month and on top of that, what if I had a bad month? How would I pay myself? These thoughts continue to fill my head but speaking to other business owners everyone goes through this. Once you find the right person, your life will become so much easier!
5. Outsourcing is the key to growing your business
I’ve always outsourced, and that’s because I’m of the opinion that if you’re not good at doing something OR you don’t enjoy doing it, just pay someone else to do it so you can focus on doing what you’re good at. For example, I’ve never done my accounts. I do my own book keeping but something I really hate thinking about or working out is my tax. So I sought advice from the word go so that I could continue my day to day life without worrying about it.
You can also find outsourcing useful if you need branding, social media, legal advice, part time staff/freelancers. If you think someone else could do a better job than you at any of these, why would you waste your time trying to do it yourself?
6. Find good people to work with
I was lucky enough to find Jess who works for me through a friend and not only was she the best person for the job, but she’s also a placement student. She beat out fully qualified graduates for the job, not just because she’s amazing at writing and is interested in social media, but I also get on with her really well. If you’re going to spend all day everyday with someone you have to get on with them!
7. On shit days think about why you started
Like most business owners I have so many days where I’m like…I should just go and get a ‘real’ job. But every time it pops into my head, the thought is extinguished by the thought of how far I’ve come, how far I have left to go and exactly why I started!