Lessons I have learnt from starting my business

 
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Today I thought I’d share my leap in registering my VA business and becoming a small business owner.

At the time, I remember feeling nervous, and a little anxious about starting a business. I had no idea where to start. I hadn't run my own business before or knew what I should do first. I wasn't feeling 100% confident as I hadn't worked for over 8 years due to raising my two girls.

What I did know was that I wanted to be available to my girls in the mornings and afternoons. I wanted to have flexibility so I could be there for then Miss 6 & Miss 9 and still be able to help out at school and attend school events.

I wanted to be my own boss, be responsible for the work I do, and not have someone delegate work to me that I didn't enjoy doing.

Here's what have I learnt thus far:

In the beginning, it's hard work!

19 months on, and I'm still getting my name out there and finding new clients. I have joined a couple of VA networks, numerous FB small business groups & VA groups where I network & connect with other small business owners and VAs. I seem to spend more time on Facebook and Instagram marketing my business, then when I was home raising my girls!

This year I have joined some women in business networking groups, so its my plan to get out the door more (and of my comfort zone) and attend more networking events. It can be hard with kids needing to be dropped off at school and a husband who works in a demanding job where he needs to travel, so my time management skills will come in handy!

It takes time to become good at juggling!

I am hopeless at juggling, I don't know how people manage three balls in the air at the same time! It’s much like juggling working from home with kids being at home, during the holidays can be tricky! I often get ideas for my business when I should be spending time with my kids. Or my kids want me to take them somewhere or go on the computer when I need to do some work. It's a juggle and something I am still learning to get good at it. It does take time.

Take time out for yourself!

I find having my office at home can sometimes make it hard for my brain to turn off...especially when I am sitting on the lounge and scrolling through my Facebook feed....small businesses owners don't stop working at 5pm! They'll be working throughout the night, messaging or posting comments or asking for advice and recommendations.

Just because some business owners work weekends or late into the evening doesn't mean you have to! Make sure you take time out for yourself. Starting a business can be exhausting especially when you are doing it all on your own. Take some time to relax, switch off your phone and have a break from social media.

Having frequent breaks is essential not only for your health but you will also find yourself thinking more clearly by being fully rested. You’ll also be able to tackle tasks that have been bothering you with fresh eyes.

Don't let the negative nancies and naysayers stop you from giving it a go!

Some people will be jealous, and not be happy for you regardless of how much they say they are. Or they will say negative stuff and try to convince you on how hard it is to work from home or to run your own business or to run a business from home with kids!

Usually, it's a person who knows 'someone' who tried it once and failed. Tried what? I don't know, but I bet you it's not what you do, or because they were brave to give it a shot.

In years to come I don't want to think, why didn't I give it a go? Why was I so scared of having a crack at running my own business?

There will be people who don't support you, don't let that stop you from working hard on making your business a success! Even my Mum doesn't quite fully support me, she worries that I won't have time for the housework or taking care of the cleaning or my husband & kids. OMG, what year is it? I guess she was a 1950's housewife who looked after the house, husband and kids. Of course, she's happy for me but worries about me.

Don't let fear stop you, otherwise, you'll be forever wondering 'what if'.

You can do it even though the fear of failure may be trying to stop you! You can achieve and learn new things if you put your mind to it.

For someone who hasn't attended formal education in over 20 years (yep a long time) last year I signed up for a TAFE Business Skills course. I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to devote the time or energy to writing assessments and studying, but I am giving it a shot. Its an online course which allows me the flexibility to complete the course in my own time. At the end of it, I'm hoping it provides me with up-to-date knowledge, and broadens my skills so I can provide my clients with more options.

You are good enough!

There was a moment when I doubted myself and thought "I don't know enough", "I haven't studied enough", "I don't have enough skills". I had to get out of that mindset and tell myself that I did know enough, that I was capable enough, and that I could upskill myself and better myself.

If I can also inspire my girls that's a good thing. You just have to keep plugging away and think of the end goal.

Remember back to "your why".

  • Why do you want this?

  • Why are you doing this?

  • Why do I want to be my own boss?

  • Why do I want a flexible work\life balance?

Not everyone will understand what you do, but that's okay!

People still don't quite understand what I do when I tell them I'm a virtual assistant.

People automatically think that it involves Administration or Bookkeeping, when in fact I don't actually offer Bookkeeping, and Administration is only a small part of the services I offer.

Think of me as an Online Business Support Manager, I work with clients who are time-poor, or who don't have the knowledge or skills to do a certain task.

In the end, as long as you are happy, and you have a good group of people cheering you on and supporting you, while understanding, that it takes a while for a business to get off the ground and that you are working your butt off to get it going that's all that counts!