I like being my own boss. Actually, I love it. There are so many benefits to starting your own business – you schedule your own days, so your lifestyle can be family-friendly, and if you’re working from home you have low overheads. However, there are some things I wish I had been aware of right from the get-go. I’ve been running my own freelance business for the past 7 years, and these things would have saved me time and hassle in the long term.
Time is money
It’s not all lunches out with friends, midday trips to the hairdresser and gym sessions whenever you feel like it. Don’t get me wrong, you can do those things, but you also have to balance it out with a little thing called work. I’ve learned to space out the nice things that break up my working week. I’ll schedule a personal training session during ‘work’ hours, and I book in a treat lunch out. It actually keeps me more motivated, knowing I have something to look forward to and some interaction with actual people in the outside world, as opposed to me, myself and I at home alone in front of the laptop.
Templates make everything quicker
At first, I was creating everything from scratch, but I realised templates are actually the way to go. Now I have an invoice template, a proposal template and image templates set up in Canva for all the different format images I use. It saves me loads of time streamlining some of my business processes this way, and it makes me feel more organised too.
Invest in a good accounting system
You don’t have to pay lots of money to get your billing and invoicing in order. If you’re just starting out it’s fine to have a simple Excel spreadsheet tracking your invoices and their status. Come tax time, it’s better to have a system rather than having to spend hours figuring out how much income you made and what your costs were. Down the track you can look at a system like Xero or Rounded, which automates your billing and keeps track of everything.
You are everything
When you start out, you are not only an employee. You’re also the sales team bringing in new business. The marketing team promoting your business. The finance team making sure the money is rolling in and bills are paid. And the Managing Director looking at overall strategy and goals for the future. Each of the roles you play in your business takes up a chunk of your time. Allocating time within your work day to ensure that everything runs smoothly is essential.
Make time for self-care
No one tells you when to take breaks or when to leave the office when you work for yourself. You could work from sun up to sun down if you choose too. But you wouldn’t be very productive! Regular breaks are needed during each work day, and time off on the weekend is an absolute must. Exercising, eating well, getting into nature, spending meaningful time with family – all of these things make up a happy, healthy life. It’s not all work!
If you would like some help with marketing your business, or even just a chat about how to set up and start running your own business, get in touch.