A year in business - part one!
PandiPrints has been around now for a year!
Well in fact about 14 months, it took me 2 months to get brave enough to hit the publish button on my Facebook page!
Now, I didn’t come into being a business owner totally blind, I have friends who are self-employed, family who work for themselves and I’ve seen some start up and close just as quickly. So I already knew it was going to be hard work … BUT I don’t think I was prepared for just how much hard work it really was going to be.
Here’s a list of the things that no one tells you about running your own business.
1. It’s expensive
No matter how good your business idea is, or whether you have the majority of equipment you need to get going there are still hidden expenses.
For good, eco friendly ones these can get pricey! Plus if you want to make it look good, you’ve got to invest in that. Stickers, tissue paper and boxes can add up pretty quickly! And if you’ve not factored that into your prices … you’re very quickly going to be out of pocket!
Even if you get a pretty cheap domain name … you then need someone to host it, you need an email address (and if you want a personalised one that’s another expense!) and then once you’ve figured all that out you’ve got to work out what features you want to include on your website … and the more features the higher the cost!
So, like me, you may think you have enough random stuff in your house to include in product pictures, I can guarantee you DO NOT have enough nick knacks and fake flowers for all your products. I once spent £50 on literal junk, that does not match my house BUT does make great props for photos.
2. Social media is not free
Well … it is … but it’s not! Don’t get me wrong it’s a great business asset BUT blooming heck it takes a lot of time to get right!
I’m a qualified digital marketer but having never marketed a product business before, I’m still working out my ideal content pillars, reels (let’s not talk too much about those will we…) and just making sure that my time on the apps is actually worthwhile and not just eating away my time. Like some sort of internet cookie monster!
Also, I feel like it’s important to add here - social media is incredibly fickle, as I said I know my way round digital marketing and I still struggle with it. Some days you just get lucky with a bit of content and you blow up, other days tumbleweed.
There are coaches who can help you and steer your content but this is another expense… so make sure you pay for the right person if you’re going down that route! (I have some recommendations in this blog here)
3. It’s an emotional rollercoaster
“Oh look my post got 30 likes!”
Next day ..
“My post got 3 likes… what did I do wrong?” Literally nothing, this is business. There are so many ups and downs it’s unbelievable. You think you’ve mastered something and then it flops, or doesn’t do as well as you think it will, or someone says something and you just feel rubbish for a few days. A few days later you're back on top of the world because you’ve made some great new connections, got four more product ideas and had an influx of orders.
Get strapped in baby it’s a bumpy ride!
4. No one understands the Tax Man!
If anyone ever meets him can you tell him I’m looking for him? Honestly, I’ve read HUNDREDS of blogs, articles and advice on HMRC and NONE of them make sense or make it easy. All I know is … I have to pay tax.
My top tip, squirrel away some money from every order so that when the taxman comes looking for his wee top up next year you’ve got the cash to pay it. Even if you’ve no idea what the answer to question 17 of your tax return is and you’ve no idea what the difference between a business asset or variable cost is!
5. People can be a bit shit ...
Sorry, but that’s the truth. I’ve had my designs ripped off, I’ve had people ask me for advice and then pinch my ideas, stalk my customers… I’ve had people undercut my quotes for work… the list goes on.
Just be prepared, you need a bit of a thick skin when you open a business. Remember though - what shitty things other people do to you, is a reflection of them NOT OF YOU!
These are just some of the things that I really wasn’t expecting to be as hard or difficult as I thought they would be. Don’t get me wrong, it's not all bad… it’s actually been really great!
To find out the good bits read "A year in business - Part two!"