By Jess Caire

Image Credit :: Jess Caire

Owning your own business… It is rewarding but it can also be really challenging, and when you are starting out it can seem overwhelming. As I roll into another year of self-employment, I got to thinking about what I’ve learned along the way (through a whole lot of mistake-making and heartache!!) and I’ve packaged up my top five tips for business (start-ups and established).

1. Know your value – don’t discount!

By now some of you may already be cringing… thinking, “Yeah, but if I charged what I’m worth no-one would want or afford me”. WRONG. But I understand where you’re coming from, I used to be like that. I used to think no-one will want to do business with me if I charge that price. That no-one will want to (INSERT WHATEVER HERE) with ME. Why would they? Who am I to think I’m worth that much?

Well, I’m here to tell you people DO want to do business with you. And if you never really understand your value, you will always be underselling the person who matters most. YOU. When I’m mentoring women, time and time again I see them discount away their value, without realising the impact it has on them financially and mentally. Stop it. Now.

2. Know your money

Know your expenses – set up a spread sheet or use an easy accounting program like Xero. Get comfortable with looking at your figures (and more often than once per year – go see your accountant!). I suggest running P&L reports fortnightly and comparing them with the month before. Know what it costs to turn the lights on each day. Know your Gross Profit (numbers get more fun over time, I promise).

Know your hourly rate – what are you really working for??? To do this, simply take your total income (annual preferably) deduct all the expenses (all of them – wages, super, insurance, your super (YES you should pay yourself super and YES you should have life / trauma insurance just in case – life happens!) and what is left is yours… so I suggest you divide that number by number of weeks you work (52!!), then divide it down by the hours you work per week. You may be shocked at what you find, and I hope the shock triggers a pain point which will challenge any negativity you attach to why you shouldn’t confidently charge X amount per hour. When you engage with a client they will want to pay you what you’re worth because you are that good. And the next time someone tries to question your worth or value, you’ll remember that pain point and stop discounting (which ticks no. 1 of the list!).

3. Build an ‘A team’

Not doing your homework on the professionals you need is a recipe for disaster. Picking the wrong ones = actual disaster. Select professionals (accountants, financial advisors, insurance brokers, lawyers etc.) wisely. Interview them – do they align with your businesses core values? Are they proactive? Are they easily accessible? What will the cost be and what is the return for you? Do they have the products that suit you? Build your team – carefully.

4. Ask questions and listen for the answers

If you don’t ask questions, you’ll never move forward. The more you ask, the more you learn. Ask – then listen. Your staff, your clients, your strategic partners. They have a wealth of knowledge that you can tap into. Treat everyone as though they have something to teach you. Don’t be frightened of appearing silly – if you don’t understand what your accountant / advisor / lawyer etc. is suggesting / advising – keep asking until you do!

5. Make a plan and set goals

You know that old saying, “failing to plan, is planning to fail”? It’s annoyingly true! Have a plan, have a vision, and WRITE it down! Where do you want your business to be in 5 years? Want to achieve an increase of 15% growth every quarter? Then get your vision, and break it into goals, 5y, 3y, 1y. Where do you want to be? What do you need to do today to make that happen? Write it down – look at it at least weekly, and check in frequently. Tell who you need to so you can stay on track and be held accountable!

Image Credit :: Jess Caire

Now I’m not saying these are the only tips you need, but it’s a pretty good place to start…. I could write for DAYS about all the things I wish I had known when I first got into business (get a mentor, be insured properly, understand your BAS, etc. etc.).

Lastly – a little mental health tip for you all…

Sometimes being a business owner is isolating. You feel like you’ve got to be ok all the time, for your staff, for your family, for yourself… Truth = you’re human and you don’t have to always be ok. Find an outlet – exercise, R & R, time with special people. See it for what it is. Be brave and have the courage to make decisions that work for you.

Stay focused on your vision and purpose and you’ll always be ok – and while you’re doing this, surround yourself with people who’ve got your back.

Love, Jess xx

Image Credit :: Jess Caire

Millie Looker

Millie Looker

Writer, Content Creator, Events Manager and Operations sensation, she’s the backbone to ensuring Adelady runs like clockwork.

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