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Lessons Learnt in My First Year of Business

It’s hard to believe that it’s nearly been one year since I started Little Black Dress Digital! 20% of businesses don’t make it to their first birthday, so while it may seem like a small milestone to some, it’s a big milestone for me. To celebrate, I thought I’d take you through my top three lessons that I learnt in my first year of business. 

For those that are new to my blog, I thought I better give some backstory to this article. Little Black Dress Digital (or LBD Digital as it’s more commonly known as) was officially registered on November 13th 2020. I talked about starting my business in a previous article, but in summary, due to COVID I took part in a remote/online internship, which really was a sliding doors moment looking back on it. It was here I discovered the benefits of working for myself and when I was asked to stay on after the internship as a contractor, I took this opportunity to start my own business. I went full time in the business after graduating in mid-June from university. And, as they say, the rest is history. 

Lesson 1: You learn on the job 

However, what have I learnt in these past 12 months, I hear you say? Well firstly, high school and even university doesn’t prepare you to run your own business. No one tells you how expensive insurance is and no one teaches you how to use accounting programs (at least they don’t in a marketing degree). 

The admin side of a business really is something that you learn as you go and to be honest, it takes up much more time than you realise. I’m lucky enough that my Dad runs his own business and my aunty is a bookkeeper, so I had people in my life who had done it before to guide me when it came to my admin. Being organised helps in that regard too. 

I’m still learning to this day as well. There’s always new technology, techniques or trends to learn, especially when it comes to digital marketing. And to tell you the truth, I don’t want to stop learning because that’s part of my business that keeps me mentally stimulated. 

Lesson 2: Patience is key and trust your gut

The second lesson I learnt is that you’re going to have a moment in your business where everything just clicks. You just have to be patient and wait for this moment. 

In about August things were a bit quiet for my business and I’m not going to lie, I was feeling a bit down. I knew the value I could offer clients but LBD Digital’s brand awareness just wasn’t there yet. That month, a part time job opportunity came up that I got asked to apply for. There was flexibility in the job, which was important to me, as by now, I’d realised that I do my best work when I can do the work whenever I want. The company agreed to my initial proposal but something just wasn’t sitting right for me.

After discussing it with my parents (who I always love to bounce ideas and thoughts off), I decided to turn down the job. Literally that same night, I received an email with my first word-of-mouth client. It was like the universe was giving me a sign and I knew at that moment that I had made the right decision to stick with my business full time. 

Since then LBD Digital has had a snowball effect and business is going great!

Lesson 3: You’re going to doubt yourself but you’ll find an amazing support network 

I don’t think business owners even stop doubting themselves, but I feel it’s particularly bad in the first few months. You see other businesses that are successful and you don’t understand why yours isn’t working. Or you see a business and think that they’re way better than you with a better website or Instagram, when in fact, yours is just as good, if not better. 

At the moment, I’m doubting my pricing. I’ve had people tell me I don’t charge enough for my services, but then I worry that if I charge too much I’m not going to get clients. So, if it’s not one doubt, it’s another. 

Through these doubts you’ll find yourself connecting with fellow business owners, because they’ll understand what you’re going through the best. Networking with them is great too, because not only do you learn new things, but as they say “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. 

Combine connecting with fellow business owners with the support you already have in family and friends, who always comment on your post or share it with their friends, and you have yourself a very supportive network. Someone to bounce ideas off, someone to talk about your struggles with and someone to celebrate your wins with. 

So, that’s what I’ve learnt in my first year of running my own business. There really are a lot of things to celebrate and with things starting to take off, I’m excited for Little Black Dress Digital’s future.

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