OLIVIA&CO’s Founder, Anaita Sarkar, has boiled down the 5 biggest lessons she has learnt since starting three businesses in four years.
#1 You are in charge (which can be good and bad).
Being your own boss means it’s all on you. It means accepting all the responsibilities that comes with your business— striving to go above and beyond with both your customers, staff and sponsors. All the risk also falls on your shoulders, so when the business isn't performing well, it's up to you to make changes and execute. As Anaita, states “running a business isn’t easy but it's one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I don’t have to answer to someone else and when I make changes, I can see the immediate effects on sales. I love immediacy. In a corporate job, you have to wait for results and you may never actually see what your work amounts to”.
#2 You won’t know everything and that is fine!
Being an entrepreneur and effective business owner isn’t about knowing all the answers. It’s about knowing how to find them. At OLIVIA&CO. we believe that one of the best ways to do this is to consistently keep up to date with marketing and business strategies. Whether it’s doing online courses, reading articles from marketing gurus like Gary V and Neil Patel, listening to podcasts from other successful entrepreneurs, watching YouTube videos about digital advertising or following front runners in your field on Instagram and Facebook, it's important to keep your finger on the pulse. But it’s important to remember that starting a business is often slow at first. It takes time to work out what customers want, what your brand image is, what your ongoing costs are and how to effectively manage your staff.
The best advice Anaita ever received? "Anything is learnable if you practice it for a bazillion hours. Seriously anything."
#3 You don’t always have to listen to others.
There is no shortage of advice out there. And it may seem that everyone is wanting to put their two cents in- from your parents to your friends to even your hairdresser. But you’ll soon realise that not all advice is good advice. Remember to listen to your gut. Does it feel uncomfortable because the advice is wrong, or because the advice is right? As a general rule, when you get advice, take a step back and consider if you can learn from it or you should ignore it and if you would give that advice to someone else.
Anaita's tip: Surround yourself with people who are honest with you and who will support you in your business adventure.
#4 You have to put yourself out there.
Gone are the days where you can hide behind good branding. Customers want to connect with the owner of a business. There is so much competition out there and the one way to combat it is showing your personality and story. Being active across social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and even LinkedIn as well as dynamic marketing materials is a must. Networking in the right circles is really important. It doesn't have to be daunting. Grab a friend and join a meet up!
#5 You’ll never really clock off.
Your business is completely and utterly yours- your baby. So even when you leave the office (or home office), you’ll most likely be thinking about things to do with the business—a customer enquiry, a savvy budget plan or an innovative marketing strategy to promote your new product. This is normal but just make sure you do your best to unwind and take a break every once in a while! Check out our favourite ways to recharge and stay calm even under the most stressful circumstances.
Business is exciting and daunting and we can fall into the trap of wanting to work on it all the time. But remember, you didn't leave your 9 to 5, just to work 24/7!
And there you have it! Those 5 realities of having your own small business. Entrepreneurship is amazing, but tough. If it was easy, everyone would do it.