Once again I have to start a tips post off by saying **I am NOT an expert**, just someone who has a fairly successful micro business and want to share the things I have learnt in the past three years in the hope that it'll help ease the way for fellow micro biz owners!!
If you don't know, a micro business is a one-woman (or man) show. It's what us little people who do it all, from tea making to post runs to accountancy, are. We haven't quite got to small business level yet, although most of us are working towards that (though it's totally ok if you aren't), which leads me to tip one....
1. Relish the time when you are a one man band. There could be a time in the future where you can't decide to work in your pyjamas from home, or finish early, or have a day working with a friend in a coffee shop as you'll have staff to manage and organise. Take those random days off while you can (although not toooo many, we still want to have staff one day right?!)
2. Don't try and grow too quickly. If you are fine working from home, don't feel you HAVE to move to a studio to be a legit business. If you stretch yourself too far, it's much more likely that you'll either run out of cash or loose motivation as your business turns into something you weren't ready for. However...
3. Push yourself a bit. Don't let the business stagnate; when it's just you and you aren't really answerable to anyone, it's easy to leave those boring jobs like new product photography or listing new products to one side. But it's these things that allow your busines to evolve and become bigger without having to force it.
4. There are no rules. Don't spend too long wondering if this is the right thing to do, you'll never get an answer and while you are waiting, you could miss the boat. This is your business, you make the rules, so do what feels right to you. It'll make your business more authentic and less trend led.
5. Don't rely on trends too much. Yes, it's tempting to jump on the newest bandwagon you seen all over Instagram, but unless you were one of the first to originate the trend or it fits your business perfectly, it's quite likely that'll you'll be on the tail end and it'll weaken your brand identity. Keep doing what you do best, and you'll stand out way more than if you try and fit in with the crowd (seems obvious right?!).
6. Join a community. When it's just you on your own, it's very easy to become isolated and to start getting way too inside your own head. Joining a community means you have a group of like-minded people who you can get some human interaction with (even if it's online) and can also acts as a sounding board when you start to doubt yourself. If you are on Etsy, join a Team, or there are loads of Facebook groups for creative micro/ small businesses.
7. Have some you time. It's soooo easy for your business to become your life, you sit on the settee at night until bed editing, tweaking, social media-ing and there's nothing wrong with that, just make sure it's not at the expense of actually going out and doing things that you enjoy. We work to live, not live to work right?
8. If you are a retail business, spend your quieter months getting ready for your busy ones. I know you just want to take a few months slow after the manic rush of Christmas, but it'll be so much easier if you spend these months planning blog posts, creating extra stock, buying an extra pack of dispatch notes; it'll take at least some of the pressure off come late November.
9. Don't worry too much about the slow months. We all have 'em, and although it can be stressful when that flow of orders turns to a drip, just use this time wisely; update listings, do some extra marketing work, and look at new ways of pushing your business, such as new product ranges or events you might not have considered before.
10. Be as creative as possible! We all went into this with creative intent; you don't realise all the other things that come with running a micro business, like the accounts and the photography, and eventually the creative side becomes a tiny slice of your time at work. Try and claw as much time back as possible, this is the bit you love and the more of that time you loose, the more you'll come to resent your business.
I hope they were useful!! I know some are common sense and things you might already know, but I think it's good to see it written down and hear someone else corroborate with your own experiences. If you have any tips for micro business owners, pop them in the comments!