Making the decision to start a business can be daunting, there’s so much to consider and, on top of that, imposter syndrome can rear its ugly head time and time again. So, 5 years after eventually running out of excuses and starting up on my own, what have I learnt?  

1 – To begin with, nothing feels like ‘work’.

For the first couple of years I said I didn’t work. I went to networking events, had coffee and completed projects for people but having previously worked in close knit and high pressure teams for over a decade I felt like I was playing. I definitely didn’t seem to spend much time at my desk during that first period of working for myself. 

That might sound ideal to some, but it comes with its own set of challenges and questions. Where is the work going to come from? How are you going to get enough work to live off? How much work do you actually need? How much should you charge? Which projects should you do? Am I good enough to do that or charge that? Plus many more questions rush through your head every day. Combatting this constant doubt can prove difficult especially when you’re out on your own but this is part of the process. 

2 – Believe in your own ‘way’ 

One of the reasons I left employment and set up Hey Me was to find a better work life balance. When I worked for myself I slept in late, I didn’t work conventional hours and I spent nearly as much time on my hobbies as I did my ‘job’. I also faced a barrage of advice and reminiscing from established business owners who told me that: you’ve got to plan everything, set ambitious targets for growth and know exactly what you want. You must get up early and work long hours and barely take a day off or you won’t be successful.  

I was at risk of getting sucked into this mentality and if it wasn’t for a few helpful business friends I probably would have. They reminded me that there was always more than one way to do something and that it was more important to work the way I was comfortable with than try to fit into a mold that made me unhappy.  

3 – Good business coaching is worth its weight in gold  

Whether it be from a colleague, a friend or professional business coach, having someone to speak to and guide you in business is priceless.  

I have been lucky enough to be surrounded with people I trust and who can help guide me and in addition I found a business coach who understood the type of clarity I required and helped guide me and the growth of Hey Me. 

4 – Growth doesn’t have to be rushed 

I had naturally set out a business that was flexible to my needs and although I had aims I let the business grow organically with the opportunities that arose. As a result, my target income for year 4 was eclipsed part way through year 3 and doubled by year 4. 

Applying the same mentality for the work I took on to the growth of Hey Me has led me to establish a culture of support and a team with similar values to myself .  

Although we have a new business strategy we aren’t rigid. We work with the opportunities that arise and spend time with each client, getting to know them and adjusting to them before we take on anything else. 

5 – Hold your nerve 

Finally, it’s very much a cliche, but running a small business really is like being on a rollercoaster and the only way to succeed is to hold your nerve. 

From trying to decide whether to go it alone to each time I’ve considered growing the business or thought that I didn’t know what I was doing or what to do next, something has occurred to set me on the right path.  

All the events, social media activity, coffees and conversations are worthwhile, you just need to keep going and all of the work will pay off.  

 

If you would like to speak to the Hey Me team and learn how we can help with your business’ communications, take a look at our services or contact one of us today.

Amy sits overlooking the River Ouse in York
Person writing in a notebook
Hey Me business card, mug and notepad on a desk
Amy.Bell

Author Amy.Bell

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