Now that I’m 2 years in to running my business in its’ current and most successful iteration, I thought it’d be useful to introduce a dedicated category on my blog for sharing my tips. 2018 is a crazy time where the workplace is beginning to shift a little and it’s more normal than ever to freelance and not be tied down to one company.
To start with, a little bit about me! I am the founder and lead copywriter of Tartle Copywriting, a Hertfordshire-based copy and content agency. I graduated University with a First Class degree with Honours in Writing Fashion and Culture and am a trained journalist. My degree gave me hands-on and educational experience in visual merchandising, editorial photography, styling for editorial, food photography, art history, fashion forecasting and media law. After several years of working in-house for leading companies including Lane Crawford, F&F (Tesco) and Evans, I decided to bring all of my skills and working experience together with my degree knowledge to build my own business where I could work on providing clients with tailor-made copy exactly for their needs. I also treat Daisybutter as one of my clients, meaning that I siphon time from my weekly schedule to work on the blog and bring in a (currently very small) income. I am ambitious almost to a fault, and have been fairly determined to succeed as a self-employed lady much as my parents were before me.
Onto the tips!
1. Keep track of your finances.
Whether you’re just starting out (and, in fact, especially if you’re just starting out) or have been working for yourself for a while, it’s SO important to keep on top of your finances. Create a spreadsheet to track your incomings and make a note of your invoices. This will help you stay on top of things ready to report to HMRC, as well as help you focus your business and let you see where you could be improving.
- My FREE invoice tracker spreadsheet
- This guide to what you can and can’t expense
- Easy as VAT’s Business in a Box
Once I;d got on top of my finances from an organisational point-of-view, I found that my business grew significantly. I was able to consolidate my monthly outgoings and plan my client scheduling to enjoy a more steady cash flow.
2. Stay in your lane.
Something that I’ve found incredibly hard to stick to is to stay in my own lane. This one sounds odd at first, but hear me out. You’ve spent an incredibly long time planning your empire and how you’ll take over the world, invested a fair bit of dollar (because, let’s be real, nothing good is ever free) and finally set up your business. And suddenly there are so many other avenues that you ‘probably could do too’. You add this to your roster, that to your roster, and suddenly you’re extremely stretched. Always play to your strengths: by all means expand your empire, but stay in your lane and remember why you started.
Though I’m experienced both professionally and personally in social media management for example, that is a leg of my business that I’ve decided I’ll be dialling back on this financial year in order to focus on what I’m most passionate about: copy and strategy.
There will be many times in your quest to establishing your business where you feel like you want to give up and just go back to your old form of income, but perseverance is absolutely what will pay off in the long run. Personally I had no job to ‘go back to’ as I ploughed myself straight into setting up business after moving home unexpectedly from living abroad in Hong Kong. That isn’t to say that several times I considered refreshing my CV and applying for a traditional office job just to tick boxes or be able to tell my parents/other random people that I had a particular role or to be able to enjoy a regular income. I’m so glad that I didn’t.
Hard work and believing in yourself will always pay off, I’m sure of it. I’ve experienced slow bouts in my business several times in these past two years but I’m learning to use that downtime to grow and develop my business. If you’re a small business owner too or are considering setting up a business, you’re probably just like me in that you’re constantly brimming with new ideas. And often you’ll end up too busy working (whether that’s selling products and all of the admin that goes with it, or producing work for clients, or something else) to sit down and polish those ideas to bring them to fruition. I recently experienced a two-week period where work was very quiet and instead of worrying about it, for once I took that time to pour my full energy into developing another branch of my business and refining the process for my existing clients.
4. Never stop growing.
No matter how perfectly planned your business might be, it’s important to allow room for growth. One of my biggest goals for this year is to plop myself back into education, whether that’s in the form of a short course, a new qualification or just an online class. Keeping my mind active is really beneficial to me. If that doesn’t appeal, how about considering expanding to new regions or areas? Or reaching out to new customer bases?