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7 Lessons we have learnt when running a small business

Well where to start with this one?!?! We are still a very, very small business and have only been open a year so I'm not claiming to know loads BUT I can tell you some things that helped us along the way so far and the lessons we have learnt.

Hopefully these lessons will help any of you who wish to start a new business and give you a little insight...

Lesson 1- Don't let it take over your life

This is a lesson we continue to try and balance and I'm sure everyone reading this has the same struggle of balancing work and life. There are ups and downs (so celebrate the good times!!) and there are only so many hours in a day so remember that. I make sure that every day I have some time for quality family time, Happy place Print, some time for myself and some time for the extra house things. The percentage of time may vary between some of these but most of my time is always given to quality family time.

Lesson learnt: I would have sleepless nights trying to think of new products, I would feel like I had to do something every day. I have learnt you don't have to and you enjoy it far more because you don't burn out.

Four Parks Retro Poster

Lesson 2: Never lose focus

It's so important to not lose focus of why you started your business. Many different things will arise that will take your focus away but the most important thing to do is remember why you started and stay focused on making your business the best it can be.

Lesson learnt: We have faced so many different challenges over the last year, juggling work commitments, what kinds of products we want to stock, taking the plunge full time but I have become more confident in running our business and not to 'sweat the small stuff!'. There are challenges in every job and it's no different when running your own business so always remember the reasons why you started!

Lesson 3: Order plenty of stock

Not only are prices lower if you order in bulk, you will also end up using it so save yourself some time and money and order plenty! Costings play a huge part in whether your business will earn money or not so take the time to do the Maths (my least favourite subject at school I'd like to add!).

Lesson learnt: Last Christmas...didn't order enough...mass panic...enough said haha.

Lesson 4: Have an ideas book to clear your mind

I have a book that I use to write down anything that comes into my mind. Thinking about new products etc can take over so it is best to write them down and come back to them when you have time.

Lesson learnt: I would find myself thinking about Happy Place Print all of the time and I wouldn't be in the moment. Now I can think about it when I want to and still remember the ideas I've had.

Lesson 5: Use an app to track your costs

We use quickbooks which is so good for what we need it for. We can track all of our expenses easily and this makes all the tax paperwork alot easier, thank goodness! I also have a desktop folder where I put all of our invoices as well as a folder for paper receipts too. Make sure you keep everything.

Lesson learnt: I had a fun few days a few months back where I had to download every, single invoice and find them in our emails it took ages. Now I stay on top of them so it isn't such a chore.

Lesson 6: Plan in time off

It would be easy to work 7 days a week all year but we don't want to do that and to be honest it still wouldn't be enough. We haven't closed the shop yet but that is only because we can't travel anywhere at the moment.

We always have family time together over the weekend and although we may post on socials, our focus is on other things we enjoy.

Lesson learnt: When I was teaching full time I rarely took much time off and it made me miserable at times. I've learnt my lesson but unfortunately can't get that time back. So I won't be making the same mistakes again.

Lesson 7: Just go for it

If you are thinking of starting a small shop then go for it! We had lots of ideas and just kept putting it on the back burner until covid hit and then we had time at home to focus on it. The start up costs were low so we didn't feel like the risk was too big, we are so glad we started and just hope this journey continues.

Lesson learnt: We put this off for so long and wish we hadn't. We also have been realistic and said goodbye to lots of (sometimes crazy) ideas and that's ok, you can't do it all.

So there we go 7 lessons we have learnt so far...There are probably loads more to come too but to be honest, the main thing we think every single day is how grateful we are for our customers and that keeps us going.

Without your support, orders and reviews we wouldn't even have our small business and for that we can never thank you enough ❤

Speak soon, have a great week x

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