No matter how much time you spend talking to friends and family, colleagues, plus the world and his dog about business before you get started, there is simply nothing better for your development and learning, than actually doing.
So when I started my business, I certainly wasn't arrogant enough to think that I knew what I was doing, in fact, I was well aware that I knew less than nothing. So my first year was a vertical learning curve; thoroughly enjoyable, incredibly frustrating at times but a wonderful and exciting challenge.
I also read a great deal about business, followed lots of blogs (still do) and read a lot of newsletters and often came across blogs posts titled something like 'what I wish I'd known before I started'.
So I thought I would add my thoughts to this with the 8 biggest lessons I learnt in my first year of Tiddler & Fox.
Ask for help - as I have said, I knew I didn't really know what I was doing but I was not afraid to ask for help. Don't feel like you should be an expert straight away - you won't be and you'll have a million questions, so if in doubt - just ask! There is a lot of free advice out there, as well as that which you'll have to pay for, but it does reap rewards to look for as much help and information as possible.
Read lots - I have read an immense amount of information in the form of blogs and email newsletters, listened to podcasts and so on and again, all this for free and it has been invaluable - so read as much as you can. You may only take one piece of advice from an article but that that one thing could be a game changer for you.
Network - meet people and make those people like-minded! You'll need support from people who know what you are talking about and can feel your pain - sorry pleasures - of being in business. Again, lots of free networking out there as well as paid, so try it all, you never know who you'll meet - I've made some amazing friends through networking and they all 'get' me and my business.
Get Training - this goes back to the point of asking for help - if you know you have a weakness in one area - get some training on it. There are lots of free training seminars and courses out there for small businesses so find as much as you possibly can, but you may have to pay for more in-depth training.
Don't overspend - I got carried away at the beginning with branded this, that and pretty much everything. I don't regret it but I could have done with reigning myself in - most of it wasn't necessary, at least not to begin with.
Don't try to rush things - it will take longer than you think. As with much in life, it won't happen overnight, let things grow naturally and sustainably and don't rush into things without thinking them through - expensive mistakes happen this way - you will however learn a huge amount from them!
Be flexible - things will change all the time, you learn as you go along and life also has a habit of getting in your way - be flexible enough to adapt and change, not just to external changes and your own learning and ideas but to your customers needs and wants.
Have fun - biggest lesson of all - plus don't take yourself too seriously. If like me, you are in it for the long haul, you have to enjoy it, otherwise why are you doing it?!
Speaking of fun, the sun is out, so I'm going to make the most of it and have a cuppa outside! Until next time x