One year of running a business: what I've learned so far

ONE YEAR OF RUNNING A BUSINESS_ WHAT I'VE LEARNED | Julia Day | Easy As VAT | UK financial coach for female business owners

I can't believe that the Independent Girls Collective has been around for a year (well, it was a year last week). It started as a resource for business owners to learn how to deal with tax, accounting and anything else numbers-related and has grown into a fully-fledged business.

I really feel like I've found my place in the business world and I can't thank you all enough for being kind enough to read the blog, share my work and work with me. This time last year I wasn't in the best place and being able to pour my passion into the IGC and the support I've been given have honestly changed my life.

In light of the occasion, I want to share what I've learned about running a business in the hope that it will help any of you who are going through similar things will be able to relate.

It takes time to start making money

Pinterest will have you believe that if only you do this one thing, you'll be making six figures in no time. For the most part, that is a lie. Yes, there are a few people whose business takes off in a huge way immediately, but that's the exception, not the rule.

In reality, it takes time to build a successful business and get paying customers, no matter how perfect your branding and marketing are or how hard you work, and it's definitely a case of riding the wave - there will be fruitful and dry periods in most businesses.

You’ll also receive a lot of seemingly enthusiastic enquiries that go nowhere, so don’t count on anything until it’s properly confirmed!

You have to put yourself out there

I'm pretty introverted, but I realised very early on that if my business was going to go anywhere I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone and interact with other people. After all, how will customers find your business if they don't know about it? You have to get comfortable saying "I do this thing and it's great!"

If you're shy like me, my advice is to join some Facebook groups for business owners and participate in the threads where you can, reach out to people you think might be interested in what you're doing and say hi. It's a less intimidating way to start networking and letting people know what you do.

Don't follow things mindlessly

There were a lot of things I did at the start which in retrospect weren't right for the IGC at all, but I tried to do them all anyway because I thought that was the only way to have a successful business. I'll let you in on a secret - you will know instinctively what isn't going to work for you and there is no failproof path to success.

Take email funnels, for example. There are so many articles out there telling you that you NEED a funnel and share how to make an effective one. They definitely work really well for lots of businesses. However, I don't respond well to them in my own inbox and therefore I was never comfortable having one myself. I did try it for a little while, but ultimately I decided that it just felt wrong. And do you know what? I get far more clients from connecting with people on social media and sharing valuable content than through a sales funnel.

Be confident in what you do

I've done three launches this year, two for Easy Numbers and one for my coaching services. The second and third launches were much more successful because I finally felt confident that I was offering a really valuable service that was going to help lots of business owners.

Don't get me wrong, I know that Easy Numbers is an awesome, helpful course, but during the first launch, the business was still quite new so I was still finding my feet and feeling very uncomfortable with self-promotion. Fast forward five months and I felt really relaxed about relaunching my services because I had a bit more experience as a business owner, I knew what my clients wanted from me and was simply more confident. I think that confidence allowed me to feel good about promoting my services and shone through authentically to my community.

Stop reading and take action

If there's one thing I've learned over the past year, it's this: no matter how much research you do, you'll never be 100% ready. Put down the book and just do the thing.

How long have you been running your business? Share the best lessons you've learned in the comments!

Are you ready to swap money stress for financial empowerment?

The Independent Girls Collective is a members-only platform to help smart women like you to take control of their finances and feel good about money. 

As a member, you’ll get monthly courses, resources, live masterclasses and 1:1 coaching to help you manage your finances and provide the support you need to build a successful, fulfilling business that allows you to live the life you desire, as well as access to our supportive community of creative female entrepreneurs.