May 2017 saw me “launch” my business. When I say launch, I put it on Facebook and LinkedIn and began getting myself “out there” – networking like a crazy fool. 

Fast forward to 2023, and here are some of the small business tips I have learnt along the way…

Rip up the rule book

Small Business Tip 1 Rip up the rulebook Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

Oh, wait a minute, there is no rule book!

Many books out there will tell you what you should/could do, but there is no one right way. 

There is no one road to success, and it is definitely not linear. There isn’t a magic formula that someone is keeping a secret. It’s about getting the formula right for you, which will look different for everyone. 

The best tip is: Do the work you love, with the best clients, for the smallest amount of time and charge the most money you can. 

Think of it like a scale. If one of those things is not balanced, the problems will creep in. 

This is also important if you are a neurodivergent business owner, as I am. Typical business books, courses, and networking groups are set up for neurotypicals by neurotypicals. 

This goes against all of our natural ways of working, adding to our self-doubt and hindering success. “But they say XYZ, so it must be right” Nope, not necessarily. It’s OK to challenge thoughts, theories etc. It’s OK to adapt them, and it’s definitely okay to ignore them! 

I’ve wasted hours thinking I was the only one not connecting to things or thinking they were talking nonsense. I thought I was terrible at these things. But that’s not true. It’s OK to do things differently and my ADHD diagnosis in 2021 confirmed all of this. 

It’s not easy

Photo by Dulana Kodithuwakku on Unsplash

Building a business has a lot of ups and downs. It’s not easy. 

There will be tears (maybe that’s just me), and there will be times when you dream of working in employment again, a simple job with no decisions to be made after 5 pm. But then you remember why you didn’t want to be employed and continue. 

Some people decide that running a business isn’t for them and go back to employment. There is absolutely no shame in that. It’s about what is right for you. 

Once you accept it’s not easy and things will crop up, it’s easier to manage than constantly feeling the world is against you. Stop believing the social media posts which tell you that it’s easy and that you, too, can be sat on the beach working for 1 hour a day while the dollars roll with little effort. 

Yes, it can be easier, but I don’t believe it can always be easy. No matter what size your business is, it has tough times. It’s learning to ride the waves. 

Build your confidence

Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

Business confidence comes in time. It’s not an overnight thing where you wake up and say, “Yes, I’ve got my sh*t together”. 

It comes through mistakes, learning, trying, giving up and starting over. It comes from the wins and successive stages in the journey. Business confidence is something that grows over time. It’s different for everyone. 

Stop looking around, thinking everyone is doing amazing, and you’re not. 

Everyone experiences feeling fed up, lost, frustrated and at a crossroads. 

Everyone has negative stuff going on. But hardly anyone talks about it.

You’ll see the social media posts about how they have “made it” – cue picture in front of a Ferrari (that isn’t theirs!) and wonder what you are doing wrong. You are not doing anything wrong; they are just not sharing the bad times and providing (often falsely) a sense of “success”. 

I’m not even bothered about cars, are you? I love experiences and holidays. Again, we all want different things. 

Take time to reflect on the good. I bet you don’t do that often (we are all guilty of this). Look back at all the things you have achieved, accomplished, and got through. Read the testimonials from your clients and remember why you do this. You are successful. 

Build a business that works for you

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Your business needs to work for you and your life. 

Again, we compare. They earn six figures a year or a month, and I’m not. What am I doing wrong? Nothing. 

You can’t compare business to business when we all lead different lives; are made up differently and want different things. 

Make decisions about what you want your business to look like.

Whether you think so or not, you ARE in control of this, and you can build a business to work for you rather than the other way around. Many people say they can’t catch a break, dislike their clients, are bored with their business, take their laptop on holiday, work every hour, and are stressed out. 

Make your business work around your life. If you have kids, will you build that million-dollar empire in 6 months? I doubt it. But that is OK because that won’t work for your life. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. 

Decide what is important to you and make a plan. 

  1. What money do you want to earn?  
  2. What type of work do you enjoy the most?
  3. How much time do you want to work? 
  4. What kind of clients do you love?
  5. What time do you want off?

Get these five things right for you, and success and happiness will come. 

Trust your gut

Photo by Kirill Balobanov on Unsplash

If it doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t.  So many times over the years, I’ve had that feeling in my tummy. Mmm…something doesn’t feel good about this meeting, person, opportunity, or whatever. Trust your gut 100%. 

It’s absolutely fine to…

  • Say no, thank you 
  • End a client relationship
  • Walk away from a situation
  • Ask for more time to think
  • Lose out on money 
  • Not get sucked into FOMO

Because if it doesn’t feel right or you can see possible problems, it will probably turn out how you imagine. It will cause you more heartache and stress than it’s worth. Value your morals, values, mental health and stress levels. 

Invest in help

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

When we start a business, we may need to make more money before we can invest in help. 

We spend hours reading, Googling, downloading the freebies, attending the free webinars, asking on Facebook groups, soaking it all up, and doing it all. 

But it comes the time when you need to make the switch to invest in professional help. 

If you invest in the right help with the best people, I guarantee it will pay for itself. Tenfold. 

But remember not to get sucked into FOMO. Don’t sign up for the course because it has good marketing or work with the person because you like them. It needs to make sound business sense. 

Review, reflect and adapt regularly

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on UnsplashSchedule in time to check in with yourself and your business. Don’t bury your head in the sand, and just keep ploughing on. Stop and take the time to review, reflect and adapt. 

Ask yourself these ten questions:

  1. Are you happy – business and life?
  2. Are you feeling stressed/burning out?
  3. When is my next time off to recoup, connect, and have fun?
  4. Are you on track?  (…your goals, remember)
  5. How are finances looking? (don’t wait to year-end to look at this one!) 
  6. Are you working with clients you love? 
  7. Are you mostly doing the work you love? 
  8. What problems/challenges are going on? 
  9. What good stuff has been going on? 
  10. What needs to be tweaked/changed? 

Has this given you a fresh way of looking at your own business? 

If you are ready to invest in your business, email me to book a no-pressure chat.

The Hub: Podcast Episode 14 – Business Your Way with Becky Stevenson

A LinkedIn article about my ADHD journey