As of May 6, I’m five weeks into owning and operating Hue & Tone full-time! We’ve moved into our new office, I’ve traded in my business casual for skinny jeans, I’ve sent what feels like 8,000 emails…and along the way, I’ve learned SO much. Here are a few takeaways from five weeks of full-time business ownership.
1. Having a dedicated workspace makes productivity 10x easier. I went with full-on office space, but a well-styled corner in your apartment can produce the same effect!
2. Making friends makes a difference. Set up lunches. Step out for coffee. If you’re in a new workspace, introduce yourself to your neighbors. Connections will bolster your business, but they’ll also enrich your life.
3. Give yourself twice the time you THINK you need to assemble your IKEA office furniture. It’s so cheap. It’s so stylish. But easy to put together, it’s not.
4. Allow yourself plenty of second chances. A new business comes with new tasks – some of them familiar, some of them brand-new. When your first try is a no-go, allow yourself another…and another.
5. Always plan for more paperwork than you expect. Especially if you’re planning to have a physical storefront…making that happen = paperwork for days.
6. Have patience with yourself as you develop a space. You will need a million things you weren’t thinking of (power strips and paperclips, anyone?) and, if you’re like me, you’ll be making coffee on the floor for the first few months. Be patient! You’ll make it all happen – you just need time.
7. Clients need to know that you’re willing to develop a relationship with them. This is something I already knew from my freelancing days, but it’s been reinforced the last few weeks. Sometimes it’s all about being available for a phone call or a last-minute email.
8. Every market is different. As in – very, very different. If you’re starting over in a whole new place, like we are, give yourself time to get to adjust to new realities in pricing, competition, etc.
9. Working “from home” or even “from your office” never means just that. You’re going to be working from all over the place! I realized that at the bank. And Office Depot. And Harris Teeter.
10. You have to celebrate the little victories. Like your first new client, a new Facebook fan, or a beautifully lit photo. Or, you could celebrate buying a place to keep your coffee maker. I’m sure I will…once I get around to it.