Can I just start by saying: No, not having a profitable business YET or not having paid clients YET, does not mean you are running a Hobby and not a Business.
According to the Australian Government, a hobby is a pastime or leisure activity conducted in your spare time for recreation or pleasure. You’re in business, if your activity, as a whole, is commercial with AN AIM to make a profit.
Now that we are clear on that, I would love to give you a little bit more context so you understand better what I am about to share…
I have been running my business since February this year which means that by 30th June 2017 (end of the last financial year) I had been operating my business for four months. When I was working on my tax return and I looked at my expenses and my income for those four months, I realised that during that period of time I just managed to make enough money to cover what I spent on my logo and branding !
I am not going to say exactly how much is that but what I can tell you is that my expenses during those four months were five or six times more than my earnings. That obviously includes: networking events, memberships, books, online courses, as well as the fixed expenses of my business (website hosting, zoom, phone, internet, etc)
The good news is that from July till today, I have almost tripled what I made from February until June 2017… next financial year is looking much better.
Now, here is my piece of #wisdom for you !
Lesson #1 – Track your expenses AND your income from the very first day.
If you like colouring and would like to infuse a little bit of fun to your numbers, I would recommend you to have a look at the 50 Pages of Colour – It contains income tracking sheets and 50 pages of artwork so you can track your income and colour your progress following those beautiful artworks. I gifted this fantastic colouring book and income tracking tool to myself this Christmas to start using in 2018. I told you, this financial year is looking much better !
Lesson #2 – Know your numbers but do not beat yourself up if you don’t know them from the very beginning.
You probably don’t know exactly which are all your fixed expenses until you have been 3-6 months in the game of running your own business.Just to give you a few examples: I did not need Acuity Scheduling or Zoom or Vimeo when I first started but they are now part of my fixed expenses. I know that now but certainly did not know it 12 months ago when I first started.
Lesson #3 – Do whatever you have to do to feel confident with your new self.
You might not need a logo nor a website when you first start, neither to pay for website/email hosting but I do not regret for a second the $$$ I spent on that. It gave the confidence to say “I have a business”, it helped me be consistent with my marketing material, it helped me build my brand, it provided a space for my articles and blogs and it helped me build (in a way) my new identity as business owner.
Lesson #4 –Start before you are ready !
If you do not have a business yet but you are considering to start a business at some point in time, start by creating a fund for your business. Putting some money aside (does not matter if you are ready to launch or not) can help you take the money pressure off your shoulders when you first start, especially when building your dream business is equally important to the dreams and plans you have as a family. It will make a huge difference to you, your business, your family and even your clients, as you will be more focused on creating what they need and what adds value to them instead of putting all your attention in what can get you more money as you need to pay the bills, mortgage, etc.
During the last few months, I have had the opportunity to come across the work of a few talented women in the money, budget and financial field. So if you want to start learning a few tips to improve your relationship with money and your finances, here there are a few suggestions
Lesson #5 – Work on your money mindset right now and learn how to practice gratitude every day, especially when it comes to money.
I love Miriam Castilla’s and Stephanie Kakris’s work on this topic. I have learned so much from them and feel in a much better position about my relationship with money now than when I was when I first started. Even while I was doing my report I was feeling grateful that next financial year is looking much better and that the investments I made in my business were not a waste of money at all and if they were, I have learned from the mistakes and will keep going !
Lesson #6 – Be resourceful, imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.
Use what you have available right now, do not over spend in things that you do not really need. There are heaps of free resources available in Facebook Groups, on the web, podcasts, etc., that you can use to master some of the skills you need to run a business on your own until you start bringing some income to reinvest in your business and in your further professional development. Without a coach or mentor it will probably take you longer to get everything sorted but you can definitely start with what you have and where you are today instead of waiting for everything to be perfect.
There are also more affordable options available while you get ready to hire a coach that can also help you get the support, accountability and resources to help you move forward i.e. masterminds, memberships, group coaching, etc. It is a matter of finding the right one for you. Remember, Imperfect Action is Better than Perfect Inaction.
Lesson #7 – Get clear on your VISION !
Your business or idea will evolve, your products and services will change, your target audience and clients might change over time too, but if you have a clear vision, the essence of your biz will remain the same.
These are some of the questions you can ask yourself to help you come up with a strong vision for your biz: What are your core values? What does your biz stand for? What’s the mark you want to leave in this world? Why do you want to start or why did you started your business in the first place?
Photo 1 – Feb 2016 when I registered my biz name. I thought my business was going to be an HR Consultancy firm and I would help small businesses to create more connected, collaborative and human workplaces. Things evolved since then but It got to keep the same business name because the essence and the values were exactly the same.
Photo 2 – Early Feb 2017 (a year later) when I launched my business Colabora. Not really an HR Consultancy firm, but a the essence was the same: help female start-ups and emerging entrepreneurs to create more heart centred and sustainable businesses through collaboration.
Building a business when you have no experience and no budget is not easy. But I have to say, all the things I have learned, the skills I have mastered, the connections I’ve made and the people I’ve helped really make the whole investment (and lose) completely worth it.
I have this saying: “The real joy comes from our journey. Achieving our goal is just a result of the lessons we learn, the connections we make, the people we help” – and I am more convinced of that now than ever before !
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About the author
Beatriz Guevara, is a Collaboration Expert & Business Mentor | Mastermind & Workshop Facilitator and the founder of Colabora and the Collaboration Hub for Women in Biz. Her passion is to educate, support and inspire other women to transform their passion into a sustainable business through collaboration. Her mission is to help women just like you, transition from their corporate career to start their own business with flow and ease. She helps you uncover your strengths, talents and gifts; get clarity about where to start, how to start and what to do; and connect you with the people, resources and tools you need to build a business aligned with your values, your passion and your unique gift. She helps you nurture a mindset of abundance and gratitude from the very beginning so you can create a life and business of infinite possibilities through the power of collaboration.
And if you have a strong vision for your business but you need some support, connections and consistency to make things happen, join our next round of the Spiderweb Mastermind – Collaborate to Flourish. Submit your expression of interest to email@example.com or send a private message via Facebook to find out when the next round starts and discuss your application.
Do you want to work with Beatriz? Send her an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to organise a chat and find out more about her 1:1 mentoring sessions and packages, business collaboration workshops and customised collaborative solutions.