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Here are 55 things I experienced during the first year of my creative business. Some I’m still regularly feeling.
1. It takes a lot longer than you thought
2. It will be a lot harder than you thought. You will think about giving up on several occasions
3. It will be a lot more frustrating than you thought. You will want to pull your hair out on several occasions
4. But it will also be a lot more satisfying than you ever thought
5. Every hour you are awake you will be thinking about your business in some way. It will probably keep you up at night too
6. You will be on your phone nearly as much as you will be at your desk working
7. You will spend hours and hours soaking up all that business advice from blogs and podcasts
8. Pricing your products is hard. “time spent making these+materials+etsy 5%+free delivery+packaging+electric+100% profit=?????”
9. You also know your product is valuable but you desperately want those sales so you underprice them
10. You will have to learn so much about branding, social media marketing, photography, photo editing, consumer rights, book-keeping, cookies, website design, blogging, SEO. The list goes on and on
11. Instagram is way harder than you thought, posting an interesting photo each day suddenly seems impossible
12. You have to spend money to make money. Unfortunately
13. So your other job (that is probably paying minimal wage) will keep you financially afloat. Just
14. That first sale (that isn’t from someone you’re related to) will feel soooo good
15. Adulting and running a business in general is hard. You’re tired constantly
16. You don’t have a weekend anymore
17. Early mornings become your norm now
18. But also entire days in your pyjamas with your laptop are acceptable too
19. Although Netflix is your new best friend so it’s kind of okay
20. Finishing a blog post twice a month is a lot harder than you first thought
21. But apparently blogging is essential to get traffic to your website so you continue to try (and fail)
22. Everything will feel overwhelming sometimes
23. So it’s good to ask for help
24. And then you read a business book for dummies and everything suddenly seems so simple
25. Sometimes you surprise yourself at how good you are at your job
26. Then the self doubt sets it
27. But then someone comments how much they like you’re new product on Instagram and you’re fine again
28. You get embarrassed when your new favourite product doesn’t get many likes on insta
29. But when one of your favourite accounts likes one of your photos you’re over the moon. You must be doing something right!
30. You will no longer have a social life. “I can’t go out tonight, I’m working”
31. Social media is not a social life
32. Treating yourself is a good idea
33. Because Self-care is important
34. Life puts barriers in our way. Including the whole of 2020
35. Christmas is your key selling opportunity
36. You thought you were busy before. You learn the true definition of ‘busy’ now
37. And you don’t sell all your Christmas stock so you just give it as gifts to your family instead
38. But then January comes and you have to get your books finished
39. Creating a website is way more complicated then you thought and way more expensive
40. Hardly anyone will be looking at your website for a long time how ever much you write about it on your facebook business page
41. You realise Google is all-powerful. You do everything you can think of to please it. Bow down to it’s omnipotence
42. Oh and once you put your phone number out there on the world wide web you will start getting constant scam calls asking if you’ve been in a car accident
43. You resent buying supplies on amazon (making Jeff Bezos even richer) but also they have so much choice you can’t resist
44. Procrastinating on Pinterest making boards of your dream bedroom decor or the perfect vegan brownie recipe is not working
45. But spending hours procrastinating on Pinterest looking at other maker’s work is kind of working, right?
46. Multitasking is key. You will have many fingers in many pies
47. Great Customer service is also key
48. Packing an order really well and writing “please please please be careful with this” on the parcel in bold capital letters still doesn’t mean the parcel will end up in one piece to your customer
49. Getting your product to the top of your niche Etsy search will feel good
50. Waiting for someone to buy it won’t
51. When it does sell, you will probably do a little happy dance
52. When you get that first 5 star review you just want to bow down and kiss their feet
53. But even after you send your lovely handmade product off swiftly and beautifully packaged, getting a ‘meh’ 3 star review will feel awfully personal
54. If you’re £3.28 in profit at the end of the month you’re overjoyed. At least you paid your bills. Who cares about paying yourself a wage?
55. Basically starting a business is way harder than you ever thought but also so rewarding at the same time. It’s basically the best thing you’ve ever done
Thank you so much for getting this far!
How many of these do you relate to as a small business??? Let me know and we can laugh/cry together.
Many thanks for reading!
By Christina Goodall