Friday, 8 April 2011

Two years and still standing

Ariadne's Thread is two years old! My "start-up" business is all grown up. I'm taking time to reflect on the journey I've taken and, on the whole, I wouldn't change it for the world.

People talk about the "roller coaster" of running your own business. I now fully understand the incredible highs when it's all going well - and the real challenge of pushing through the slow and difficult times.

The downside of being a business owner is undoubtedly the financial insecurity, especially in the early stages, and that's not a stress to be underplayed. However, I'd been planning my launch into the world of private business for a while and managed to mitigate the worst of the problem.

The first 6 months were full of nail biting financial anxiety. Holding my nerve and believing in myself and the business was what got me through this phase. Getting my first contract was a huge breakthrough. It's lovely that, 18 months later, I'm still doing work for them.

I love the independence of running my own business and the freedom to set my own agenda. Being your own boss means that you work for the most demanding person on earth and that's where the fun starts.

So, what does this business owner want to pass on to people that might be starting up? I've picked five pieces of advice that I've found useful - or wish I'd taken....
  • Get as much advice as possible. You don't have to act on all of it!
  • Get to know as many other business owners as you can, both in person and online
  • Keep a very close eye on your cash flow
  • Keep your records up to date. An extended bout "at the spreadsheet" at the end of your financial year is not recommended.
  • Be flexible about your business offering and allow it to develop, but not become muddled.
Time to get back on the track and ride that business roller coaster!