Sunday, 18 March 2012

List 26: things I have learnt since starting my own business

Starting your own business is a lot like learning to swim - no matter how long you spend wearing armbands in the shallow end, at some point you're going to end up jumping in the deep end and hoping you don't drown. And here ends the dodgy business analogy. But seriously, I'm the queen of preparedness (as well as being queen of many other unrelated things) and bought many books on starting your own business, read more blog posts than I care to remember on the subject, and emailed all my business-owning friends for advice. But none of that really prepared me for the reality of working for myself and running my own (albeit very small) business, so I thought I'd share with you all some of the things I have discovered over the last few months...

1. eight hours sleep a night is for wimps - you can still (mostly) function on only four hours of sleep a night, especially if you have spent the entire day drinking coffee

2. no-one bothers to find out your name before they email you - deal with it. Try not to get too angry when they address an email 'to shop owner' and definitely don't bother trying to work out why on earth they addressed it 'dear heidi' as your brain may implode.

3. making things is fun. Making 100 of the same thing is less fun.

4. if you try to use a sewing machine after being awake for 21 hours you will forget to put the foot down and end up making a huge mess, so just walk away and go to bed before you throw said sewing machine through the window.

5. you can never have enough crochet blankets because at 4am your craft room is absolutely freezing.

6. doing accounts is not fun. Not even a tiny little bit. Not even when you do your accounts whilst simultaneously watching a video of tiny puppies. I will give a million English pounds to the person who tells me how to make doing accounts fun.

7. there is no limit to the number of times I can rewatch Criminal Minds.

8. the vast majority of people are amazing, and understanding, and helpful, and supportive. However this means there are a small minority who will make you want to cry/punch a wall/throw your computer out of the window. Ignore them, take a deep breath, move on. Anger and hatred make people ugly.

9. you will want to throw lots of things out of the window.

10. you cannot do everything. Or maybe that should be you cannot do everything in one day.

11. not everything will be perfect all the time. Things will go wrong, you will have to prioritise and that means some things won't get done the way you want. It's okay though, no-one expects you to be perfect except for you.

Does anyone else have any gems of wisdom they have discovered since starting their business/becoming self-employed? I'd love to hear them! xo


  1. Haha a very true post! Especially about the 'making 100 of the same thing' part - this Christmas just gone I handmade some cards to give out to people. Trimming and folding isn't exactly tricky, but doing 50 at a time is a massive chore! Definitely going through Moo or similar this year.

    Point 2 is very valid: no point taking things in business personally, you'll only end up burning bridges.

    Point 4: the sewing machine I have is very clever - it doesn't let you sew unless the foot is down! Just bleeps at you angrily. Might be worth looking into if you're going to be doing a lot of late night sewing...

    Best of luck with it all!

    Emma xxx

    1. yes I always try and save money by doing things myself and then reeeeeally regret it! oh your sewing machine is so clever! mine is super cheap so I guess that's why it just lets you make mistakes!

      thanks lovey, you're so sweet xo

  2. Haha - hilarious. How true!! :/

  3. awesome post heidi... ahahaha!
    i actually don't mind doing my accounts - whenever i buy/sell something i write it down straight away (or asap) makes the whole process sooo much easier, than if i left it all till the end of the month. i'm going to get one of those receipt spikes as i think that would be quite fun&satisfying to use .. does that qualify for the million pounds??

    1. see that is what I should do...but I just set aside one day a month to do it all! ooooh yeah a receipt spike would be ACE! where do you even get those from?! if I had a million pounds I'd give you a share for that receipt spike suggestion ;) xo

  4. A fantatsic post...It's given me a boot up the rear end as I was killing time on the internet when I should have been sewing for next weekend! thank you

  5. this is a brilliant post. Made me chuckle!! I hope your computer is in one piece !

  6. Love this! SOSOSO true!

    I relate to no.3 more than you will ever know. Some of my best selling things are never in stock because they are too painful to make ;)

    My mottos include:

    You can never drink enough tea.

    I may not be the best or most talented or have the most ground breaking idea, but at least I'm doing it.

    And man, if it wasn't for my fellow crafters that I've met and love, I'd have thrown myself out of the window long before now. No one else understands in the way someone who has walked in your shoes does! No matter how hard they try!

    Sophie :)

  7. Wll done to you on getting your business up and running Zoe. I used to do my hubby's accounts when he worked for himself back in the UK, not much fun!
    I sometimes think crafting should be done in a room with no windows to reduce the risk of things being thrown out of it. I have the same tendency when I've broken yet another needle on the sewing machine from going at it like a bull in a china shop.
    I'd like to have the bottle do start selling some of my makes, hats off to you for getting out there and doing it!
    Jo :)

  8. There really is a lot to learn from starting a business. Number 11, is indeed true. Things will not be perfect every time and that not everything would always turn out right. Don’t fret. Everything has its own time to bloom. Different types of businesses have their own seasons to grow in the industry. It’s a matter of good timing.

    Cameron Scott


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