Surviving the First Year in Business

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Entrepreneurship has always been in my DNA; I’ve been part-time self-employed for many years, but it was only in 2015 that I found the confidence and got the push I needed to go for it and fully employ myself.

I started my business a year ago today (1st June 2015).

Happy Birthday My Business!

The first few months were spent piloting ideas and building a business plan with the help of a mentor, but to me, it’s been a year since I broke the shackles of employment and became fully self-employed.

happy birthday my businessFirst Year In Business

It’s been a steep learning curve and it’s been tough, and to a certain extent, still is.

If you tried to run on a treadmill, whilst juggling, on a roller coaster, I imagine the feeling would be similar to running your own business!

The rewards, however, are worth it. Not necessarily the financial ones – although when you get them, they can be lucrative – but it’s all the small things.

These are the things I love about self-employment:

  • For me the biggest reward is freedom.
  • I can embrace the day and do random things like: be a regular guest on BBC Radio Bristol midweek in the afternoons.
  • Sitting in the park in the sunshine, surrounded by notebooks, concocting and enacting ideas and plans
  • Having an intimate knowledge of all the best coffee shops in the city and a wallet full of loyalty cards. I never imagined I’d spend so much of my life working in coffee shops, in fact, as I drafted this post I was sat in the Watershed with a pot of tea.
  • Getting free booze and food at events while meeting really fascinating, inspiring and inventive people in the business community, and learning from them.
  • Doing skills trades with other entrepreneurs and experiencing some innovative new services.
  • Dictating the time I start work – I’m rarely out of my house before 9am these days
  • Allowing myself the time during the day to prepare tasty healthy meals, instead of nipping to the corner shop in my lunch break for a sweaty sandwich to eat at my desk.
  • Choosing who I work with
  • Feeling like a full member of my community

Sounds great doesn’t it? But it’s not all sunshine and cappuccinos. Working for myself has also been frustrating, confidence crushing and even humiliating at times.

love and hate in busines

Here are the things I hate about self-employment:

  • Wondering when the next chunk of money will arrive in my bank account
  • Clients sending work to me at the last minute, often at weekends or in the evening
  • Still sitting at my computer sifting through emails until late at night
  • Business events always seem to be in the evenings when I’d much rather be snuggled up on the sofa in my Jim-jams with my husband and the cat, binge-watching a box set
  • Family members constantly asking if we’re okay for money or when I’ll get a proper job
  • The guilt of having to rely on my husband’s wage in the months when I don’t make much money.
  • Waiting for months to get paid a few quid that means nothing to a business but to me, it means the difference between eating leftovers from the fridge or going out at the weekend and indulging in the wonderful culinary delights on offer in Bristol.
  • Not being able to afford a holiday when my long suffering husband desperately wants a weekend away in the sun
  • Technology failing on me at the worst times
  • Some days I feel like a fraud because I rarely follow my own advice and do the things I recommend to my clients!

Despite it all, my business has survived and I have thrived. I can’t imagine working for someone else now, the very idea sends a cold shiver through me – best get my finger out and start earning more money so I never have to go back to being a wage slave!

What’s the one thing you love most, and what’s the one thing you hate the most about being in business?

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Sheridan and Blake Books

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