I thought I was fully ready to start my own business after years of dreaming, planning, and scheming; however, after doing this for a few months I have realise that there is a lot I have to learn and loads I wish I’d know before I started.
Your business will take over everything
Before I started Emma Inks I imagined days in my cute little studio drawing away creating skull art for the world, but this happens much less than I anticipated.
Most of my time is spent actually running the business side of things, putting together a business plan, cashflow projections, email lists, inventories, and so much more. I’ve quickly learned that businessing isn’t easy and requires a lot of time, dedication… and paperwork.
Some weeks it feels like I haven’t achieved anything at all because I’ve spent so long on my laptop learning and researching instead of creating art, but I’m hoping that putting this much effort into creating strong foundations for my business will pay off as I grow.
Cash-flow is King
If it wasn’t for the Prince’s Trust I never would have looked at cashflow but taking the time to work out my predicted finances was a real eye opener. Cashflow is crucial in predicting how your business may do long term and helps you see any future financial hurdles before they happen. Each of my collections pays for the next which is why things have been a little slower to take off the ground than I anticipated but it also means that I don’t burn through my cash too quickly.
Financial planning is dull but necessary.
Multi streams of income are a lifesaver
You know that old saying don’t put your eggs in one basket? That’s true when it comes to business. Some people’s ideas will take off immediately and be one of those success stories you compare yourself to on a down day, but for many of us our main business may not be enough to sustain our lifestyle. This is why multi income streams are so important, many own business owners don’t talk about it but there is zero shame in having a part time job or doing extra work on the side to make ends meet while you grow your business.
Taxes are taxing
So taxes are not actually as terrible as I thought but they are something that you have to plan for in order not to get stung later on down the line. It involves keeping receipts and trying to stay on top of your finances monthly instead of annually like I have been guilty of in the past. Taxes aren’t fun but they are also not a choice, so my advice would be to educate yourself as soon as possible so they don’t bite you on the ass on January 31st.
There will be obstacles
Even with the best planning in the world things will undoubtedly go wrong at some point but being prepared for problems and having a positive attitude towards hurdles make them more manageable.
Every week at the moment I feel like there is another issue which is totally out of my hands, whether it’s suppliers letting me down, orders getting lost, or delivery drivers not turning up – I try and not let it throw my day too out of sorts and move onto plan B, C, D, E, or F depending on the day.
Being adaptable and embracing whatever the day throws at you will keep you on track for reaching your longterm goals.
You will need to know more than you think
I thought I was pretty business savvy, however taking this leap I have learned more in the past few months than I did during a four year degree.
I want to know about every aspect of my business and have had to educate myself in a huge variety of topics, spending days researching finances, insurance, ink types, paper, photography, photo editing, keywords, SEO, local markets, biodegradable packaging, printing techniques, paper types and that’s just off the top of my head!
Each Idea I have, or step I take, throws up more questions than answers and has been a much longer process than I anticipated.
The importance of relationships
Needing to know so much seems daunting but that’s why I am so grateful for the relationships I have.
Pablo has held my hand through the website building process. Natasha has been an absolute star, not only getting me through Prince’s Trust but also at helping me understand more about printing, paper, design, as well as listening to all my moments of self doubt. Claire invited me to join a group chat of other awesome creators who are super supportive and helpful. Lynsey (Mosley London) and Ruth (Xoxo Designs) who have been in the own business game for a few years now have been there to answer all my silly questions.
Then there is all the other people online and IRL who have sent words of encouragement, made purchases, and spread the word about my business which has been hugely important.
I talk about this a little more on YouTube but without support there is no way I would still be running my own business and is a topic I’m going to cover more thoroughly soon…
How much I love the freedom of being my own boss
I know this all might sound a bit doom and gloom but seriously I have never been so stressed but also so happy since taking the leap into running my own business. Every struggle is 100% worth it for the gratification of putting my work out into the world.
These are just some of the things I wish I’d know before starting my own business. As always, if you’ve got any comments, questions or anything you wanna add hit me up in the comments or social media