I set up Happy & Glorious in 2012, selling British-made gifts and products for the home online. I had worked in independent retail for many years, and was ready to take the plunge and branch out on my own. I started to exhibit at fairs, parties and popup shops over the next three years and now have a bricks-and-mortar shop in Ashford, Kent.
It’s been an exhausting, wonderful and exciting whirlwind, and a very steep learning curve, but here are five things that I’ve learned so far, (that I wish someone had told me!)
1. Whilst running a startup business is very, very hard work, it will never be the same as working for someone else. There is no red tape or chain of command; you come up with a plan, and you execute it. Everything that you do could develop and improve your business and personal life dramatically, and when an idea works there is a glow of excitement and pride unlike any other.
2. It’s important to start with a solid business plan, but it’s also good to be fluid, and to recognise when and how to change. Don’t turn down opportunities just because they don’t stick rigidly to the original plan. The next opportunity that you find could change everything.
3. Having one or more business mentors is enormously helpful. Friends and family are always important, but will inevitably let any concerns and personal fears colour their judgement. Talking to someone entirely independent, with unbiased knowledge and advice, and huge amounts of positivity is an invaluable way to develop your business. I spend just an hour each month talking to Will, and gain more clarity and develop sharper business strategy in that one hour than any other.
4. Whether you are a micro-business or a multi-million pound company, collaboration is one of the most powerful tools that you can use. Happy & Glorious is one tiny shop in a huge town, but it packs a much bigger punch when I team up with the other independent businesses. Not only are they a wonderful, supportive and fun bunch, they also have their own amazing creative ideas that I can hop on board with, thus getting my business mentioned to their social media reach. Working on your own can be isolating, but supporting others makes you stronger too.
5. It's a common misconception that if you do something you love, it won't feel like work. Of course, there can be huge challenges, the tax return is never enjoyable, and sometimes the lure of a duvet day is overwhelming. So love your start-up business with everything that you've got. Start every day fresh, be optimistic, and never stop learning. Much like a child, you need to take care of your business until it's strong enough to take care of you.
Discover Kate's beautiful products online at www.happyglorious.co.uk or in shop at the Park Mall in Ashford, Kent.
You can also connect with Kate and Happy Glorious over at her Facebook page www.facebook.com/HappyGlorious
Join me in thanking Kate for her great advice!
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