As some of you know, I have been working in Crave for Crafts full time since January, so I thought it would be a good time to collect my thoughts on what it takes to start a business.
Because I can honestly say that starting a business has been the most exciting adventure of my life, but also the steepest learning experience I have ever faced.
And as some of you know, before Crave for Crafts I had worked as an auditor, as a consultant , as a financial analyst… fun stuff, you know. I can think of a million big learning “curves” from these years, but nothing compared to the roller coaster of starting your own business.
Let me break down for you a few ideas, revelations and random comments. And please feel free to comment your own thoughts!
- When you work for a company, you can always blame someone else when things go wrong. You can always say that someone else made a mistake. Even better! You can say that you made a mistake but no one else found out (therefore, it is not your mistake any more. Clever!) Now, I can only blame Imogen but that wouldn’t take us very far, and it would be pretty boring always blaming the same person. So I bear the sole responsibility of what gets done and what doesn’t. So does her.
2. When you work for a company, you can always blame your boss for not being clear on “expectations”. Well, now I report to myself . So I don’t get things done (See above), the feedback to myself is going to be negative, but then I have to be supportive enough to myself to keep myself motivated. So how do I set up fair but ambitious expectations? Believe me, this is hard.
3. Continuing on the “managing yourself” topic, some days things go very well and you feel like the living example of entrepreneurial success. Some days you face hard setbacks that make you question the whole business idea. Controlling your mindset is the #1 key to success.
4. It is an art to make many things happen with little resources . We need to invest in creating new products, buy material, design tutorials. But we also need a website or a platform to sell. And we need to invest in Marketing, because if no one knows about us, what’s the point? We have to find a way, always. If we think the project is worthwhile, we will make it happen, one way or the other.
5. When you work at a company, you can separate your personal reputation from your reputation at work. How many times we have heard something like… XXX is a disaster at work, but outside the office he is a lovely person. Well, if Imogen and I are disastrous when we run workshops or if we sell crappy products, no one will give a s*t about how much fun we are at the pub. Imo and Ana are Crave for Crafts and viceversa. No personal separation here.
*I found this picture and I couldn’t help sharing it, lol
6. We have nearly forgotten what it means to have a salary every fortnight or month. If you spend it all, there is another wage lined up for you in just days! How cool was that!
7. I love the feeling of “endless possibilities” that you have when working in your own business. Anything can happen, but you MUST take action and keep trying new ideas, new products, new ways.
8. After many networking gigs with other entrepreneurs, I have realized that no one has any clue and it doesn’t matter. Everyone makes a lot of mistakes and it doesn’t matter. Everyone struggles with technology. Everyone finds it hard to sell more. But nothing of this can stop you for keep trying.
9.Website development is painful. It makes me cry. If you want to live a happy and long life, outsource this work.
10. On any given day, I wear any of these hats: PR & Communications officer and/or manager, Website developer, Accounting manager, Book Keeper, Facilitator, Legal officer, Customer Relations representative, Events Coordinator, Business analyst, Videographer. On any given day, Imo wears any of these hats: Creative director, product developer, trend hunter, learning solutions provider, procurement officer, supply chain manager, photographer, content creator. But sometimes we get bored of our jobs and we swap functions 🙂
In my next blog post I will talk about some productivity tips that help me stay focused and achieve a lot. Yeah!
PS. If you enjoyed this blog post, you might like to read how a day in my life is like.