The University’s Female Entrepreneurs Network has expanded rapidly over the last 2 years, providing support and inspiration to business women across the city.
At our May event one of our guest speakers, Leslie Kelly (founder of Believe in Wellbeing), shared some of the lessons she has learned from running her own business. With her kind permission, I am going to share them here.
1. Look after yourself
This means emotionally and physically. Running your own business can be very demanding, but if you run yourself into the ground it certainly wont help your business. Take time out to do some of the things you want to do.
2. Set boundaries and be firm in enforcing them
It sets a bad precedent if you say you aren’t available and then do something anyway. If possible get a second phone for your business and if you’ve decided to take some time out, don’t answer it! It’s hard to relax is you don’t feel you should be doing something else so link some personal treats to your business goals.
3. Monitor your processes
Keep data on your business and take the time to analyse it; keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Be organised. Set aside time for your social media activities, use a scheduling tool, consider a cancellation policy. Then take the time to look at what worked, what people clicked through on, what got a response. If it didn’t work? Don’t waste time repeating it!
4. Use technology – but only if it saves time!
Get a to-do list app that will synchronise across all your devices. Look into online client booking software (Leslie recommended Acuity Scheduling) and tools such as Canva that help maximise your social media impact.
5. Expose yourself!
Network, give talks, get out there and make the most of opportunities to tell your story. People can’t use services from a business they don’t know about!
6. Be an expert in your field
Make yourself the go-to person for your field in your area (and beyond!).
7. Don’t underestimate a slow-burner
You never know when someone will become a client. You may meet someone, exchange details and then not hear from them for weeks, months, even years. But when they need you, they dig out your business card and give you a call.
8. Competition, or opportunities?
Don’t look at other people in the same field as competition, think about how they can provide an opportunity. It might be that you can work together to improve both your businesses. Can you team up to run events? Can you cross-refer clients? This second one might be invaluable if one of you falls sick, moves away or retires!
9. Be authentic
Only you know how to be you. If you’re running your own business, trying to be someone else all the time simply wont work. People buy products and services from brands they trust; when running your own business you are your brand so you have to be the person they feel they can trust.
10. Use social media that works for you and your business
Choose the platform that works best for you, but also that works best for your target audience (this goes back to no. 3!). Once you’ve chosen your platform(s) be organised and put the time in. You may find it more efficient to use a scheduling tool like Hootsuite of Tweetdeck .
11. Charge your worth
Do your research. What are other people charging? More importantly, where do you stand in terms of qualifications, quality, expertise and experience? Your prices should reflect these factors and offer appropriate value rather than focusing on being the cheapest.
If you would like to know more about the Female Entrepreneurs Network please visit www.facebook.com/groups/FemaleEntrepreneursNetwork/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our next event is in July and you can book your free place using Eventbrite.