3 things I’ve learnt over the years…

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This month, exactly 3 years ago, was the time I took a big leap of faith and quit my job in the corporate environment. At that point in time, I had been working on my invitation business for a year already on a part-time basis, and had made a decision to go out on my own and devote myself to the business, full-time.

I was nervous. I was scared. I had little idea about what it meant to be my own boss. I was also incredibly excited about embarking on a new journey and having the opportunity to do something which I really enjoyed and was passionate about.

Let me be upfront and say that running a small business is hard hard HARD work! There’s no getting ’round that fact. But yet, I feel that if you’re doing something you feel connected with every day, it certainly is worth it. Today, I want to share just a few things I’ve learnt over the past few years…

–          Working for yourself is much harder than working for someone else

When I tell people that I work for myself, I sometimes get the impression that they imagine that “being your own boss” involves spending a lot of time at home doing things at a slow and leisurely pace, watching a bit of TV every morning for a few hours, taking breaks whenever you can and going on outings whenever you feel like it….SO NOT TRUE! While I will admit there have been a few occasions over the years where I’ve taken the afternoon off to do something for myself, this is countered by the long long hours I spend every single day on the business. It’s not just the actual stationery production which takes a lot of time and work, but there’s the ongoing admin (emails, calls, etc.), social media activity, marketing efforts, researching and reading up on wedding websites,  blogs and related media to stay ‘in the know’ in the industry…the list goes on! If you were working for someone else, you would most likely have different people or departments looking after all these things that you are now responsible for, all by yourself! Gone are the standard 9-5 hours and hello to working seemingly 24 hour days sometimes. But having said all that, I can’t complain too much because I do love weddings and being apart of the wedding environment daily gives me joy! If you are thinking of starting your own venture, you have got to be in love with what you will be venturing into, otherwise every day will feel like a chore and burden, and you’ll soon be wondering why you even bothered in the first place. So overall,  in my opinion, if you want to work for yourself successfully, you just have to  love what you’re doing and be prepared to work double hard as ultimately you have responsibility for every facet of your business. There just is no substitute for hard work.

–          You just can’t do everything yourself- make sure you outsource certain tasks to other professionals

Following on from my point above, a very important thing I’ve learnt over the years is that even though you are responsible for your entire business, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to DO everything yourself! Due to the small budgets most of us small business owners have, we usually try to do everything ourselves but in many cases, it really is much more time effective to outsource parts of your non-core activities (for me, these would be things such as IT, accounting, etc.) to the professionals, allowing you to focus on your core business activities. The time saved is well worth the money spent.

–          Being copied sucks (for lack of a better word) but you need to focus on your own path and ignore those copycats!

It’s inevitable I guess, that if you are good at what you do, you will be copied. It doesn’t make the blow any softer though whenever you find a new copycat on the block, blatantly ripping off your designs. But I’ve learnt over the years, that instead of spending days seething with anger, that I should just address the issue head-on by contacting the perpetrator, taking additional action if necessary and then, just moving on. Anger is the biggest energy and creativity suck, so the sooner I move on, the better it is for my business (and sanity =P). I found a quote last week on a small business website that really resonated with me, as it is what I believe in 100%!

“Don’t try to be like someone else. If you try to be someone else, there is a high chance that that person does it better. I agree that you need to be yourself. Do what you think is right. Trust your instinct. Have your own ideas and work things out. Yes, pick up on good stuff you find in someone else. Learn from other things. But essentially, be real. Don’t be a copy. Don’t be a cheat. Don’t pretend. Be honest to yourself and create something true and valid and valuable – and then I think you are unbeatable.”

Marc Wittenberg

Do you having aspirations of starting your own business venture or are you currently running your own small business? Please don’t hesitate to connect with me as I’d love to hear your tips and the lessons you’ve learnt…

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Comments

  1. Hello,
    I am glad I have found your blog. I like reading your thoughts. People come to me often to copy your Vintage Glamour invitation. It must be the most wanted invitation on the web. Don’t worry, I can’t even copy my own work :). I always end up making something new. Wishing you all the best.

    • Hi Meda! Thank you for getting in touch and for your kind words. It’s nice to know that there are ethical invitation designers out there like yourself who respect the work of others- sadly it can’t be said for many others out there. I guess people who can’t create simply need to imitate in order to get by. Wishing you all the best with your business! =) Bel x

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