Babe, I’ve been a business owner for 4 whole years!
I'm not going to lie, it's been a journey filled with epic highs and record lows. From navigating the start-up process in my 1st year to cool runnings and 'coming into my own' during my 2nd year to plotting a course through the shock-waves of a tumultuous global pandemic to finally rebuilding with new-found perspective and purpose.
With another year of business comes again a time for reflecting on how I got here and what I know now. And, of course, I want to share this with you and hope it help you in someway too.
Psst. If you're interested, I wrote a similar blog on my 3rd business birthday - I always find it so interesting to compare where I was a year ago! Read it here.
Starting a business in 2018 - goodbye corporate life!
My corporate job was sucking the life out of me. It had been for a long time. Finally though, following a CRAZY transitional shake-up in my office, I'd had enough and realised my potential to go it alone. So, in March 2018, I registered my business on Companies House and launched that May as Well Defined Ltd. In 2020 I rebranded and became the business you know and love today (I hope!) as Chelsea Cox Limited.
I can remember, so vividly, being interviewed for a podcast in 2018, around the time of starting the business, and being asked what my aim was for that year. My response was simply to stay in business and to not have to return to corporate life.
In that respect, it's been a success - 4 years of staying IN business and 4 years of staying OUT of corporate life...
BUT, little did I know that the first year of business was going to be a breeze in comparison to what was to come over the pandemic years. To read a pretty honest account of that time, please read my other blog - Pivoting Through A Pandemic - My Small Business Story.
Learning 1 - Do business like no-one is watching
When growing in your business, we, as business owners, put so much emphasis on what we think others will think or say about our businesses. We concern ourselves with what our fellow businesswomen might think if we don't 'show up' on Instagram for a week or if we didn't time our new launch perfectly.
But babe - and I say this with complete love - no-one cares. Because the truth is that those people you're worried will be watching and judging are caught up in their own businesses, their own lives, their own day to day. What you THINK they notice, they probably have not.
If anything, they are probably having those same thoughts too.
And you know what...even if they do - so what?! You set the rules for your business, so keep doing you.
Learning 2 - Your business network and community is your most valuable asset
Never discount the value and need for a network and community - one that you can rely and lean on, one that gets what you are going through, one that can support you with the struggles and celebrate the wins, one that can and will recommend you.
As a business owner, networking, connecting and relationship-building should form part of your habits. You should take it as seriously as you do the financial aspects of your business or the design elements. Be it online or offline, it is imperative to the evolution of your business that you build a contact base. Get out there babe!
Learning 3 - Be accountable for your business
True business ownership is created through actions and learnings - there’s a huge place in business ownership for theorizing, planning and strategising (it’s what I do!) and taking action, regardless of how messy or turbulent it might be, is SO necessary. Making mistakes is how we grow and evolve.
Becoming a business owner is more than just registering your business or buying a domain name. True business ownership is taking responsibility of every area of your business, understanding what success looks like for you, knowing how your business functions deeply, how you look after yourself as a business owner, the narratives and noise you allow in or, more importantly, don’t allow in.
Business ownership is making hard decisions, it’s about getting real honest with yourself, it’s knowing when to ask for help and so so much more.
Check out my blog - The Small Business Truth You Need To Get Comfortable With - for more about accountability as a business owner.
Learning 4 - Truly understand YOUR meaning of success
Success is entirely personal - this should never be outsourced or influenced by how someone else's criteria for success - what success feels like to one person is totally different to how it feels to another.
Only YOU can guide where you want your business to go, what you want to achieve, whether it’s achievable. Ask yourself, time and time again, what does success look like to me? What do I want to achieve through my business from both an income and an impact perspective? What values do I want to stay true to on my business journey?
Business Hack Workshop - free online monthly workshop where the content is decided by YOU
To celebrate my 4 years in business, I’m launching free monthly Business Hack Workshops to my wonderful community (told ya, you guys are super important!).
So if you're struggling to strategise, dumbfounded by data, muddled by marketing, anxious about algorithms or bewildered by branding - this is the workshop where YOUR current business struggles pay off.
For an hour and half every month, I lead a workshop, alongside guest experts if needed, with the aim of dispelling business myths and shedding light on the business areas that are confusing you the most.
The content is different every month because YOU decide beforehand what we're going to cover. So it really doesn't matter whether you're just curious about starting a business or already a well-established entrepreneur, because there will never stop being questions that need answering.
Believe me, if there's an area of business that's got you bamboozled - like marketing or accounting or sales - you will not be the only one.
So, how will it work? 👇
1. First, you sign up for FREE (yay!)
2. You’ll receive a short questionnaire upon signing up where you can honestly note your current struggles and challenges
3. I’ll review all of your queries and base the theme of the workshop around the most popular topic, bringing in experts where needed
4. The workshop will be hosted on Zoom with plenty of opportunity to ask questions, network and possibly find opportunities for collaborations and partnerships to help your business grow or bring your business idea to life
Any questions on the workshop please reach out to: email@example.com Tues 31 May, 13:00-14:30 GMT