10 big lessons I learned starting my own business
We are back to our series called PERSPECTIVES, with a focus on gathering real-life perspectives to help shed further realities on the subject of money.
This series is aimed at offering deep insight whilst also inspiring and encouraging our readers to get better with money and ultimately seek Financial Joy and Independence in their lives.
I’m excited to introduce you to our guest, Lynn James, whom I met through the Personal Finance community.
Today she brings her experience and offers actionable tips for anyone wanting to start a business or side hustle.
Lynn is a personal finance/lifestyle writer and the founder of Mrs Mummypenny.
Her background is as a management accountant (ACMA) of 17 years with a breadth of experience working in commercial roles for Tesco, EE & HSBC.
She left the corporate world in 2015 to run Mrs Mummypenny full-time.
She regularly features on campaigns for Aldi, Pensionbee, Smart Energy GB & Octopus Energy.
Also in the press and media, The Times, Mail Online, iNews, Woman’s Own, Good Morning Britain and BBC Radio.
Her demographic reach is 80% women aged 30 to 50 who are interested in wealth, body and mind.
Many are parents who have money and want to get great value for their money.
Lynn is the author of Blogging Your Way To Riches, a book all about the commercial side of blogging, available on Amazon.
Now let’s hand over to Lynn…
Mrs Mummypenny has been my full-time employment and business since June 2015. I had been running it as a hobby for two years previous.
I have learned so much about the do’s and don’ts and I am keen to share my learnings so you can benefit and be successful quicker and not make the same mistakes!
1. Plan, plan and then plan some more.
I spent the first two months of full-time Mrs Mummypenny setting everything in the business for success.
I worked with a business advisor on a business plan, cash flow forecast, and survival budget.
A great discipline to help focus the mind and work out the plan for the next 6-12 months and beyond.
This business plan was signed off and my reward was a National Enterprise Allowance from the government. £65 per week for 13 weeks then £33 per week for 13 weeks.
This was free money from the government and such a help when my income was next to nothing.
2. Speak to trusted advisors.
I am a great networker and work hard to maintain that network, keeping relationships strong and building new relationships.
I have mentors who helped in particular with the business plan stage.
They tore it apart, made me start again then questioned my values, beliefs, and confidence behind the business.
In addition, they pulled my financials apart. It was amazing and they really made a difference at the beginning of the business.
They have been there and don’t it themselves running very successful businesses.
3. Keep all costs to a minimum at the beginning.
This means setting up costs and stock costs.
In the early days, it is unlikely you will make much money, and these costs will hurt you.
Do not spend any money unless it is key to the running of the business.
I set up Mrs Mummypenny with a laptop, a tablet for on-the-go work, a new mobile phone and a desk.
That was pretty much it.
Related post: 5 Ways To Start A Business For Free At Zero Risk
4. Employ a great accountant early on.
If you need one drop me a message and I will pass on a recommendation.
The accountant can help with financial advice, structure, company set up, payroll, planning.
A good accountant will save you far more tax than the fee you pay to them.
I am a qualified accountant but I feel much more comfortable having one there to check what I do.
They know all the up to date rules about income I declare and expenses I claim.
5. Keep your name out there.
My clients are brands, PR Agencies and small business as my providers of income. They pay me to review their products or services.
To reach out to these guys I needed to do all sorts.
My main way was to build my social media channels, focussing first on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
6. Go to events.
One of my most successful partnerships is working with Aldi.
I joined the Aldi Wine Club and entered a competition to be a wine panel taster for an Aldi YouTube video. The rest is history.
I met the PR team at the filming event and I started writing content for Aldi.
They invited me to events they held such as wine tasting evenings and I talked to people.
Simple as that, I engaged with other guests, told them all about Mrs Mummypenny.
This has led to so much other work with more clients.
7. Engage with your local small business community.
They can help with advice and you might even be able to do an exchange of services.
I help out my local butchers with marketing, and he gives me money off my meat purchases.
I really enjoy giving back to local business and understanding how their businesses work.
8. Keep track of your expenses and income.
This is something that I didn’t do so well from the start!
Set up your banking from day 1 separately from your personal banking and pay all expenses from there and put all income in there.
My income was all over the place, sometimes in the business account, sometimes in the personal, sometimes PayPal.
It took a long time to pick it all apart for my accounts.
It’s REALLY important to know your monthly position income and expenses wise.
Related post: How To Eliminate Expenses Through Side Hustle Income
9. Cash flow is king.
Do not run out of money.
Chase invoices and if they are not paid add on late payment charges.
If you run out of money your business will fail so keep afloat and always have a positive balance of money.
This is the biggest challenge in business, and something I still struggle with years after starting the business.
Related post: 15+ Funding Ideas For Your Online Business Growth
10. But what if you need money?
I got to the point where money was getting tight.
I spoke to my old high street bank, where I needed 1 year of accounts to get an overdraft, not helpful.
Instead, I was able to get a Barclaycard with 6-month interest-free purchases, this has a limit of £3k.
You can take out personal credit cards maybe, as there are tons of great interest free rates that last for ages.
Consumer rates are often better than small business rates on most things.
There are grants and loans available if you search carefully online. I am always on the lookout.
Maybe you have a nice rich relative or friend who might loan you some money on a short-term basis, please agree payback terms though.
The years of running Mrs Mummypenny has been amazing, they have been the best years ever in my working life and long may it continue.
I appear to have found my calling in life, finally, I do what I love, I am my own boss and have the ultimate flexibility to do what I want when I want.
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- 12 Reasons Why You Must Start An Online Business Today
Do you dream of starting your own business and being your own boss one day? What’s stopping you taking the leap?
Do please share this post if you found it useful, and remember, in all things be thankful and Seek Joy.