No Time Like The Presents
I can’t quite believe how quickly this year seems to have flown by. One minute Christmas was a couple of months ago, and now we are only 4 days away from the big day. Having two boys aged 9 and 7 means that Christmas is a fun, noisy and exciting time of year and the house is mad mix of wrapping paper, lost scissors, sellotape and lists. I don’t know how but my 7-year-old still believes in Father Christmas and I am relishing this fact as they grow up so quickly. He also still writes a letter to Father Christmas as opposed to my eldest who now produces an Amazon wish list…
The presents are not all packed, the shopping is still yet to be done but there is lots of Christmas cheer as the children have already broken up from school. Biscuit baking, craft making, walks and watching films are this week’s activities. And being self-employed means that this year I can be at home with children for the whole of the Christmas holidays. This is a first as it was previously the usual juggling act involving my mum, sister and partner.
Not only has this year passed really quickly, but it’s also been a year of massive change, learning and evolving. I set up Clairical in March this year, and so eight months down the line, what have I learnt? Starting your own business from scratch with a family in tow is a massive, steep learning curve. There is so much to set up, understand and implement. In essence, setting up a business is a job in itself, without even thinking about running it once you get going. It also requires an enormous amount of understanding, patience and support from those around you.
Having savings is essential. Setting up a business is hard enough without the added pressure of needing to earn money straight away. For some businesses, such as those providing a service, it will take time to forge and develop relationships which will lead to work, so having the backup of savings is a must. It’s also essential to keep evaluating the business to make sure you are going in the direction you intended. Evaluating also provides you with the chance to identify different opportunities and directions and as a small business, it’s easy to make these changes.
Downsides…I didn’t get my office Christmas lunch and there are no cakes when its someone’s birthday. I have worked many more hours setting the business up than I ever imagined but the business is now established, so from now on it’s about earning the money.
There is also the subject of working from home. For me this was a massive change as I was someone who was used to working in a busy open plan office with various teams of people. Working from home can be quite isolated, and in fact, isolating too. You must be motivated, organised and good at setting your own goals and it helps enormously if you have your own office. My office is a space that provides me few distractions that working in the dining room would. It has quickly become a productive and essential part of my business.
Most Important lesson
The most important lesson I have learnt is keep learning and training and to positively reflect. It’s easy to be become demotivated when you have an endless to-do list, not much money coming in and you feel that you have a big mountain to climb. I think it’s really important to keep reflecting on how far you have come even in short periods of time. And remembering that it’s easy to get complacent.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Now where did I stash the Ferrero Rocher?