Are you wanting to start a business but are a bit apprehensive as to what might be ahead for you?
We’ve put together a top 10 learnings of things to expect in your first couple of years of business. We are by no means experts, but we can share our experiences in the hope of giving you motivation and / or a heads up on a few things!
1. Getting the right processes in place.
Processes are an extremely important part to any business. The chance of you figuring out the perfect processes for your business straight off the bat is rare and there will likely be a lot of trial and error.
Some of the most important things that we recommend specifically for an agency or freelance creative would be to have the below things set up:
- Client onboarding checklist
- A project management software (we chose ClickUp)
- A quoting system (we chose Quotient)
- Templates and checklists specific to each project
- Brief templates
If you are new to business, know that it is absolutely normal to be winging things and learning as you go. Make sure you give yourself time to focus on getting processes in place, as these will help in the long run, and make projects faster and more seamless.
Note: Some things are out of your control – especially in the beginning. If things don’t run smoothly, look at why, what can be improved and make sure you make changes so that next time it doesn’t happen that way. Always be open and honest with the people involved and usually there is a great level of understanding.
2. Becoming A BOSS
Becoming a business owner can also mean becoming a manager and a boss. Sometimes people may have skills that are transferable into this role, and others might not have any experience in this area. Managing people & delegating roles is a skill-set in itself and again, there is a lot more to it than just giving people work.
You’ve got to find out the most efficient way that your business is going to run. Where your staff’s skill sets lie & how they can benefit your business. If you have the capital to hire a manager then great, however a lot of start-ups don’t have that initial money. Again, it is all a learning curve and having general catch ups and meetings about how things are working are extremely beneficial.
If you can get yourself any leadership experience before starting your biz then go for it! It’s all extremely beneficial.
A key tip to remember:
Managing people is less about management and more about people. Take time to learn your people, how they work and what inspires them. That along with open, honest communication is key to being a good manager.
3. Take the right advice – from the right people!
Get a team around you that you can trust and call on. This doesn’t have to be your close family and friends - in fact, we don’t recommend that unless they’re savvy business people. Try to find people in the business world and build a network that you can rely on.
You ARE going to make mistakes and that’s okay. Being able to go to trusted people and ask for advice & share your learnings is going to be extremely important – especially as you are navigating the initial phases.
When you have business owners who have been there, done that, on your side - you will learn a lot more than going to your friends.
When you do make mistakes – own them & learn from them.
4. You will have less time.
Not to scare you, but you will have less time! So we want you to just be prepared for that!
A lot of people don’t realise how much more time owning a business takes than they think. Beka says that she is constantly thinking about work – even if she’s not there & Claire says… you always have to be ON!
The flexibility is all worth it though. Being in control of your own hours and not having to answer to anyone is for sure a perk.
5. Be your own biggest cheerleader
There are definitely more risk averse people than risk takers in this world & they all seem to come out of the woodworks when you want to start a business.
Some people don’t understand leaving a ‘secure’ job for the unknown entrepreneurial lifestyle – which is fine… each to their own. But don’t let their worries affect what you feel is right.
Even if you have amazing support around you – don’t rely on them to give you the push. You have to be your own biggest cheerleader; you have to believe in exactly what you are doing and you have to trust yourself that YOU are going to get you there and get you across that line.
6. Get yourself a good Business Partner
If you are going into business with someone else – make sure that you are on the same page.
Beka & Claire are super grateful for each other as they have the same values and they have always been open and honest with the direction that are heading both personally and professionally.
Having a great business partner makes life a whole lot easier and makes owning a business fun.
7. Your brain is ALWAYS on
Yep – that’s right. Your brain is always going to be on. Things you won’t even realise will get you thinking about business.
It’s not easy to switch off, so make sure you’re getting into a business that you fully believe in and are passionate about.
The Renew Room had its first hacking debacle at the end of 2021 (which was an absolute nightmare). What made it even worse, Claire, one of the co-owner’s, had a 2 day old baby. Yes that’s right – 2 days old… and she was troubleshooting.
But remember, it’s your business, and the time you put into it ultimately is up to you. If you are going away for a night with your family, don’t take that laptop. You can still be ON on the inside, but switched off on the outside.
8. You can have a life too
One of the biggest misconceptions is that owning a business means you won’t have your own life. Yes, your brain might be more switched on about things BUT that doesn’t mean that you won’t have time to still do the things that you love.
Both Claire & Beka have children and have loved being able to have the flexibility to be with them when they need to and want to. They also make it a priority to have a good work-life balance, which can be tricky sometimes BUT it can be done.
9. Make sure you are working with the right people!
One of Beka & Claire’s biggest achievements is hiring an employee within their first year. And this would be the same for ANY business owner. Hiring staff opens a whole new world of business as there becomes more admin, payroll etc.
One of the biggest hurdles is finding the right people that fit in with the business and how it is run. Like for most companies, there is always a company culture and processes that are run from the top, down. Here at The Renew Room – we are flexible and all being in different cities it is EXTREMELY important that we navigate working remotely.
Having hours that differ from each other, sometimes means that not everyone can be on for support when needed. This has meant forward planning, communication and regular meetings are a must.
For Beka & Claire, finding contractors and employees they trust to use initiative and get the jobs done on time is a non-negotiable.
10. Just Do it!
There isn’t really much more to say than just do it! It is an extremely wild ride, but it’s absolutely rewarding.
Be realistic though – don’t just think you will move into business ownership and all of a sudden be happy. You will have a new list of things that will cause you stress, and it takes hard, consistent work. But if it aligns with your overall purpose – you will feel amazing.
Go in with the right mindset – if you are committed, believe in yourself and your idea then it will be worth it.
The owners of The Renew Room have been as honest as they can about some of the things they’ve learnt in the past couple of years. But every hurdle has been worth it for them – their overall happiness and quality of life has maximised and they have fulfilled their purpose of helping so many people from all backgrounds.
Some days are harder than others – but there isn’t a single thing they would change!