The day I launched my copywriting business was surreal. Weird. Nerve-wracking and exhilarating. After endless months of planning, branding discussions, studying, website building and social media creation, I nervously hit ‘publish’ on my website, shared my new Facebook page and waited. And waited. To this day, I’m not exactly sure what I was waiting for.
Business consultant Kim Payne, Director of 9ROK Consulting explains that
New businesses tend to get carried away perfecting their brand, logos, colours, websites etc.
Through experience and research, Kim has found that people, particularly women, tend to wait until all their ‘boxes are ticked’ before they feel ready to launch. Kim disagrees,
You have to just get out there and do your stuff, you don’t have to know everything before you get started. Get some clients on board, start doing it, the other stuff will happen. Just give it a go.
Seventeen years ago my husband, Steve, gave it a go. Thinking back to those early beginnings, I recall the combination of fear and excitement when he resigned from his job to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. We had very little money, a one year old son and a burning desire to give his business plan a shot. Chatting now, Steve explains,
Running your own business is not for everyone. It suits someone who doesn’t want to be held in the traditional realms of employment. But along with autonomy comes the insecurity of not having a regular wage, career path, superannuation and so on. It’s not safe.
It is important to consider what your income stream will be while you are starting your foray into business ownership. For us, it was Steve’s ability to work in a freelance role with casual employment providing an external income source while I ran a family day care business from home. As the business grew, we were gradually able to reduce the need for the alternative income, but it certainly helped buffer the transition from full-time employment to entrepreneurship.
Kim encourages her clients to continue to learn as they work.
Do your stuff. Get feedback from people. Adapt as you go and focus on learning how to run YOUR business.
Books, podcasts and talking to people are great avenues for developing knowledge and exploring new concepts. Online support and networking groups (both within and outside your chosen industry) are invaluable as they provide a safe space to ask questions, share information and, importantly, celebrate success. It’s OK to be vulnerable and ask for help.
Kim laughs about the mistakes she has made along the way,
You’ve got to have the courage to try something and, if it’s not working, cut it loose and move on.
Emotional connection to something we’ve created is perfectly normal, but it’s important to recognise when to make a change. Kim says,
Lots of people view mistakes as ‘I’m a failure’ yet I don’t know a single successful business story where failure has not played a massive part.
‘Move forward’ is her mantra; use the opportunity to learn and grow.
Running your own business forces you to learn a lot about yourself. You have to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. You must be dedicated, committed and have faith in your abilities. Interestingly, both Kim and Steve agree that what matters the most is you. Steve says,
There are so many benefits from running your own business. It’s not about being the best, or having the greatest product. You need to define your own success and pursue those goals.
If you have a skill that can genuinely help other people, that’s where your focus needs to be
With the number of small businesses increasing in Australia, it is essential to tell your story. Show how you can make a difference, help someone, or solve their problem through your product or service.
No-one can compete with your story’ says Kim, ‘As a consumer, I want you to compel me to join you.’
It has taken me two years of self-doubt, uncertainty, bravery, mistakes and successes to understand this. While running my business is a constant balancing act between work commitments and family life, I’m determined to ‘move forward’ every day and share my stories with the world.
*Originally published in Dance Writer magazine September 2018