The Learning Curve - Updated!

7 real life stories in the first month of a start up business

I wrote this first blog after only 4 weeks since starting and 6 months later, I have decided to update it with a few more stories and insights. 

I started my business over 7 months ago and I can now look back at the first month with an objective view. I knew starting a new business was both exciting and scary at the same time. It was my dream job to be my own boss and create wonderful pieces of furniture that would be one day in the V&A. I had researched the market, created a range of products, built the website, written the business plan, got funding, read the books and blogs, read the stories of success (and failure) and you’re ready to go. (ish!)

Launching my own business was like having a child (and I mean that in a mans way – not in the physical childbirth because that would just be wrong!). Everyone tells you how difficult it is and you don’t believe them. Two months later and you cant believe how you ever doubted them. The main difference is you may have some more sleep with your business!

So what snippets of advice can I give that is not already out there, and there is lots out there. Well let me give you some stories for the first month of starting my business.

  • Never go out without enough business cards.

Even a trip to the pub to meet friends is an opportunity to pass on information. That is not getting your friends to buy your goods, but more a way of spreading the word. Everyone likes the idea of saying to a third party “Hey, I know someone who can do that”. I carry business cards everywhere, and I mean everywhere!!

  • Social Media is way more complicated than we thought.

Whilst I didn't think it would be send a tweet and hey presto, world domination!!! Generating good content at such volume has been really difficult. Introducing Feedly, buzz sumo, stumbleupon, buffer, you name it I have tried it. I know I haven't got it just right but I hope the stuff is interesting!

  • We love #.

There is nothing better than someone saying they like what you do, well except buy it. But hey, mutual backslapping is great. I seem to get lots of likes from the USA, maybe I should relocate!!

  • Tinkering with the website!

Why do I always want to tweek the website! Having spent months building it, I now feel that it needs tinkering! Change the images, rearranging the content. Oh well, I suppose I can't sit on my laurels.

  • The first order (hopefully)

Here it is – what I have been waiting for. But the doubts! I’ve tested the product, it’s brilliant, but now I doubt it. Will the customer like it, have I sold it properly, will they want their money back? Then………….nothing! Is that good? Is that bad? Then a recommendation (They could have done it sooner). YIPPEE!! I am off and running.

  • The advertising emails.

Day 2 – email from Elle Decoration! WHOA, and they are saying how fantastic my work is and how great it would look in their magazine, WOW, and they massage my ego and then WHAM! It will only cost £1k!!!!! Hello, did I miss something. I did, its called selling advertising space. Tip – wait for them to drop their prices, you can get it for a fraction of the cost

  • Your not going to do what you set out to do

I set up a furniture design and manufacture business, but 90% + of my time is spent doing all the above. Different skill set required – time to do some more reading.

Just a few points but boy it’s exciting. It has been over 7 months since I launched, and it is still as difficult now as it was then, except maybe I are more used to it.

Good Luck, it is worth every second.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published