Premium member Jen Hutchings of Intrepid Creative writes …
Twelve months ago, I quit my ‘big job in the city’ and started my own business. It’s been an incredibly empowering, rewarding and exciting experience, but it has also been hard, tiring and has required bucket loads of courage. I have dealt with uncertainty, self-doubt and all-consuming imposter syndrome but despite this I have built a profitable business. I now have flexibility to work around my family’s needs and I really love my work again. I am chuffed with what I have achieved and want to share a few tips with those of you wanting to do the same.
Here are 5 things I wish I had known 12 months ago …
1. Boundaries matter
When starting a business, especially a ‘one-woman band’ , it can be hard to know where to draw the line around your time. I have learnt it is ok to say no to your partner, your kids and even (shock horror) to potential work. I have struggled with trying to do it all and have had to remind myself of ‘why’ I started this business in the first place. For me it was about working flexibly around my family and reigniting my creative passion. I come back to my ‘why’ often and setting boundaries allows me to stay on track.
2. Seek out other professionals
Here is a tough lesson to get your head around…..you can not do it all, this is just a fact, and it is ok. The big secret is…. you don’t need to know it all or do it all to start your business. You can find other businesses who can help you move forward. Experts in their field who you can partner with and leverage off. I share referrals with other likeminded businesses, and this has been invaluable.
3. Know your value and don’t forget to add tax!
This has been the hardest skill for me to refine – knowing my value. This gets to the core of us, of women especially and it can be confronting and challenging. When I started my business, I had very limited experience in quoting work and hadn’t assessed my value before. I also made mistakes like accepting bad terms in fear of not getting ‘another gig’. There was even one occasion I forgot to add tax (OMG, I know!).
A good tip is to remember how many years of experience you are bringing to the table and the value of the problem you are solving for your client. Setting up progressive payments for the lifetime of the job is also smart. This way you are never left chasing money.
4. Determine what your greatest asset is and shout it out!
To my surprise, authenticity and honesty have become my greatest assets in this new world of being a business owner. Who knew? Certainly, these weren’t as valued in the corporate world, but it is refreshing to see these assets valued in small business.
Here’s some honesty….. I actually suck at the ‘hard sell’ and ‘closing a deal’ but I have been thrilled to learn my clients aren’t seeking this and love that I am ‘just like them’ and able to relate to them. This is valuable knowledge and helps me to position my business when talking to potential leads. It is also a relief to stop pretending and instead embrace who I am as a person.
5. Find your tribe and lean on them
Working for yourself and starting a business is hard and can be lonely. You need support along the way, people to vent to and be honest about your fears with. Choose carefully who these people are. There are people in your life who just don’t and won’t understand what you are doing and the risks you are taking. These people are not your tribe and their opinions just don’t matter. Repeat…. they just don’t matter!
I am so proud of myself for taking this entrepreneurial leap and I love working with other like-minded business to help them do the same. Growth is painful, confronting and requires some soul searching but it also such a thrill – this is what living feels like.
Connect with Jen here.
Jen Hutchings is a Business Chicks Premium member and the founder of Intrepid Creative, a boutique Gold Coast agency offering strategic brand, marketing and PR advice, specialist training and streamlined creative services to small businesses.