So this week marks an anniversary for me, the one year birthday of my first year in business. (Although I am afraid there won’t be a party for this anniversary, perhaps next year)
Although actually being the second time I have been self – employed this is certainly the first time I would class myself as self-employed, a business owner, an entrepreneur. Whatever you would like to call it.
I’ve definitely learned a lot, give a lot, created a lot and shared many things with you all throughout the course of this year. Many people have different ideas and beliefs about running their own business, well this is how it went for me.
If you have any questions by the end feel free to get in touch with me.
One year ago today I had completed all of the boring, technical aspects of launching a business and had my insurance starting, business loan accepted and launched my website (a slightly rushed, smaller, less technical version of what you can see today).
At the start I was happily working in a local pub ‘The Vic’ in Rainhill to help me while setting up and before I had a few clients, which actually worked really well meeting a couple of prospective clients while working there and the pub actually became my first clients looking for a basic website in which people could find their menu’s and some imagery of the restaurant and the function rooms.
I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, constantly working to learn as much as I could about websites, marketing and business as I could reading a couple of books each month (which i still do), whilst trying to get advice and clients from every source possible.
And so the journey began.
It would certainly be possible to write another book on all of the lessons learned from this journey (who knows, perhaps, I might do one day), but I will keep this simple and short.
BY THE MONTHS
Preparing to launch…
November 2014 – January 2015
- Complete Chamber of Commerce and Princes Trust training courses
- Complete Business plan
- Set-up insurance, buy breezedevelopment.co.uk, register as self employed, more boring jobs etc etc
- Read as much as I could to get me prepared
- Panicked that I might not know enough, and consider quitting before I even start.
- Get a part time job.
- Turn 21 Years Old
Year one begins…
- Meet Brian Lewis (My business mentor) for the 1st time and have a instantaneous respect and admiration for him.
- Took both praise and criticism for the initial design of my own website (I could handle any negativity much better than my mum, who got offended trying to support me)
- Get my 1st client
- Continue to work part-time
- Continue to develop my knowledge and website
- Spend 2 weeks in Cancun (Not too much work got done here but I did lose a phone, wallet and have a brilliant time)
- Create a website for my brother (Hi Ryan, write the rest of your new content please!)
- Finish my 1st clients site
- Realise family and friends don’t all completely understand what I do / can do for people
- Sign up another client
- Have a proposal rejected for the 1st time
- Realise that SOME people will say anything to try to get their own way.
- Have some bad personal news (Deal with it by working more than I already was)
- Attend a load of networking events thinking – ‘maybe I am not as confident as I thought’
- Create logo’s for 4 companies and create a couple of websites.
- Take a training session with a local charity helping them with their social media
- Learn that a deal is never closed until its closed.
- Start writing (realise I actually quite enjoy it)
- Still have my friends saying I do no work, working from home or that it ‘doesn’t count’ because I can snapchat them working in the sun.
- Stop working part-time (maybe a month or 2 too early)
- Do a talk in my old school with a bunch of ‘high achieving’ students – really enjoyable but not the easiest thing with a small group, half of which were too shy to even tell me their names.
- Make further changes to my website.
- Launch a couple of Facebook adverts.
- Spend a lot of time with one of my own online guru’s who has done work with Vodafone among others.
- Work in a foreign country for the 1st time when my site goes down whilst in Budapest with friends
- Launch my 1st blog (http://breezedevelopment.co.uk/7-simple-seo-steps-your-website http://breezedevelopment.co.uk/7-simple-seo-steps-your-website)
- Launch my 1st give-away
- Gain some more clients
- Reach 500 Twitter follows
- Find that waiting for content for clients website could be the most frustrating thing ever – Maybe a slight over- exaggeration
- Get involved with some more charity work.
- Get invited to a Google event (thanks to great recommendations from Brian and Nathan from the Princes Trust) and unexpectedly had to stand up in front of the whole room with massive businesses such as Rothschild, Fujitsu and Google themselves to name a few.
- Decide with Brian that it would be a good idea to write a book, so start researching what my target audience don’t really understand about websites and online marketing to make up the chapters of my book.
- Attend my 1st BNI meeting and am not completely sure what to think (still not), do however get a lead from my friend Wendy to help a Yoga company with their website
- Start writing ‘More Than Just a Website’
- Start working with Louise from PrimaLash and get a reminder of how successful e-Commerce businesses can be!
- Begin talks with my friends uncle about a new project we will soon be launching together (You will have to keep your eyes out for that!)
- Get to spend a lot of time with my old manager which is always great for picking up tips and seeing how he is doing in the same business as myself but 7 years down the line.
- Spend pretty much the whole month concentrating on writing the book.
- Outsource a bit of work to free up some time.
- Attend a networking event in which Bryan Adams delivered a great talk on content marketing
- Pay off all of my initial business loan 2 years early.
- Did a few hours work in a McDonalds in the middle of Riga (Latvia)
- Have a quiet month in terms of sales
- Outsource my book for proof reading to a lady in America (worst decision i have made so far – you’ll see why later)
- Write my goals for the next year.
- Run a creative 14 day book countdown including videos, celebrities, spinning signs and even a Lamborghini.
- Turn 22, launch my book and get a new client all in the same day.
- Book a IOS App development course so that we can start offering this to our clients from April 2016.
- Another slow month in terms of new business waiting for prospective clients to receive grants and funding.
- Reached double figures of sales 18 hours after the release of More Than Just a Website.
- Found that the proof reader had created mistakes that was not there when the book was printed citing a corrupted file as her excuse and although giving me a refund for the proof reading, it still ended up costing me £400 for books that I can’t sell.
- Start meeting up with a group of young entrepreneurs from St Helens discussing many ideas about how we can help each other and the St Helens area.
February 2016 (so far)
- Went to over 1000 likes on Facebook (and 900 on Twitter)
- Agreed a deal with an I.T. academy in which my book will actually be used as a training guide – wow
- Started working with a new client and hopefully a couple others after many meetings throughout the month.
- Sell a copy of my book while being in Berlin watching a Hertha Berlin vs Borussia Dortmund football match – who knows maybe it will be worldwide by this time next year 😉
When it’s all over…
My first year has been a massive rollercoaster, a very enjoyable one though. I feel like we are currently living in a time where it is one of the easiest times in history to start a business with the amount of knowledge and tools on offer to you all across the world.
I would like to thank everyone who we have met on the start of our journey, and to think….we’re just getting started 🙂
I think for most people staying positive if there are dry spells or when you get rejected is the hardest, being able to go again after you have a few proposals rejected and you think perhaps I would have earned more doing less in my last job.
However personally being a positive person the majority of the time I haven’t worried too much about that, I think for me, I would say the realisation that this is not a get rich quick scheme, growing a business, a brand and really setting myself up for the future is a long term investment.
For example when a friend would earn more than me in a month, working somewhere they don’t like and working at 50% knowing how much I am working could be hard however I have definitely realised you need to look at the bigger picture as at 21 (now 22) it is really just about what I am earning now, but rather what i am learning and what i am putting into place to really create the future i desire, while helping many other people and businesses along the way.
I find it very hard to choose a highlight, it could be anything from launching the business, how much I have learnt, my 1st client, the book. However I think that the winner is going to be the people that I have met so far who will certainly help me in the future and hopefully I can help them just as much.