January has been a great year so far with our little French Bulldog ‘Eric’ on the mend, our wedding planning in full swing and my business taking on three more clients - I couldn't be fonder of 2018 so far.
2017, however, was not my favourite. I think it was a great learning curve, not only as a new mum but also as a new business owner. Now 2018 is here I feel I am learning more about myself, my new role as a mum and the focus for my business. I believe I have found my niche, with all my clients being very like minded and in a similar buisness situations. I am really beginning to build a little community.
Then a little curve ball was thrown this week with Evie picking up the worst cold and about 8 teeth all coming through at the same time. This in turn created a miserable baby and an
Teething is horrid - it amazes me how these little white pearls are causing her so much pain it messes with her personality. She now doesn’t know what she wants to eat, everything is hard work, only sleeping on mummy will do and how her desire to run around explore has disappeared. She has little sad eyes, with a dummy secure in her mouth and cuddling her blankey bear is all that stops her crying.
I bet if you asked any mother to describe her child’s teething, she would mention the drooling, the irritability, the niggles, the loss of appetite, the red gums, the chewing of fingers and tiredness all the time. Then I thought, you know what, this feels very firmilar, but this time these are all the symptoms I have had whilst running my business for the first year.
The teeth cut for my business so far have been for the following reasons:
I don’t think anyone is immune to the occasional bout of uncertainty about whether they’re doing the right thing. I’ve looked into this and apparently four out of five founders of new businesses consider quitting in their first year. So, I guess I should give myself a pat on the back that I have nearly made it a whole 365 days – HURRAH.
I think the hardest thing is the work life balance and the new emotion called 'Mum Guilt' – no one warned me of that one. Female entrepreneurs are three times more likely than men to say family pressures discouraged them in the early days of running their own business. The emotional rollercoaster of starting your own business is something I didn’t consider when I set out on my own. I really thought this would be the solution for me and for my family.
If you are starting up on your own, it's very common to lose faith at some point when your business is on its infancy. Long hours and financial uncertainty affect everyone, so that’s definitely something to plan and prepare for just as much as having a sound business plan.
This is the hardest. I am not the best at self-promotion and if I am, I have probably had a few glasses of wine and my better half is standing by my side. It’s really hard to say ‘hey look at me’, ‘I am good at what I do’ and ‘it’s worth paying me’.
You are then in the chicken-in-egg situation, which all start-ups face, wherein they need solid existing customers to prove their credibility and value proposition so as to bring in more customers into the fold.
Convincing your prospects to work with you when you’re not a big name, have limited resources, no case studies, and specifically in my case, convincing them to trust you with marketing for their business is a big ask. Also I have the added equation in the fact that I am going up against big agencies with lots of clients, money, connections and reputation.
But what I can say is that I am a small business, I am going through all the same growing pains as you and I also have respect for every penny you spend with me as I know how hard it is to earn.
Building a brand name
Getting your name out there can be quite costly and most small businesses don't have the capital behind them. It is also so much about your connections and if you are from a small town it is more about who you know rather than what you know.
So, what I have learnt is helping each other out is really important as small business owners and even for new mums with teething babies. Networking, making relationships and giving before asking will certainly help with getting our brands out there. I really believe if you are good and I mean really good at what you do it will go a long way, and your business will undoubtedly grow from strength to strength.
In the end
Teething is inevitable and is such an important part of development. It may hurt and be slightly uncomfortable but it is so worth it in the end. I will try my very best to remember to have fun, celebrate small victories, and keep my sense of humour in tact in all times.
On that note it's time to go see to my daughter who will undoubtly wake me every two hours through out the night and try to spend at least 5 minutes with the other half otherwise he might forget who I am.