Whether you are an experienced entrepreneur or are about to venture into your first side hustle, starting your own business can be a colossal task.
Beyond business matters such as the required tools, location and legal requirements, there are also a number of personal considerations you’ll need to address in your journey to being your own boss.
To share insights on their journey to creating one of Australia’s top entrepreneurship podcasts, lady-brains, we’ve teamed up with co-hosts Anna Mackenzie and Caitlin Judd to share their ‘ do’s and don’ts’ of starting your own business.
DO: Focus on your health
“Starting a business requires a lot of hard work, dedication and resilience. In our interview with Adore Beauty’s founder Kate Morris, we learned that she was rejected by Estee Lauder for a decade before they agreed to be stocked in her online store. In our own experience building lady-brains, we’ve encountered countless challenges and setbacks too.
“One thing to remember throughout it all is that you must focus on your health, above all else. Maintain the basics of eating right, moving regularly, and sleeping soundly. Your mental, emotional, and spiritual health has to come before the business, always. Without health, you have doughnuts.”
DON’T: Work 24/7 without any time off
“It’s easy to get sucked into ticking items off the never-ending to-do list or striving to get to inbox zero. The earlier you realise that feeling ‘done’ and ‘on top of things’ is an illusion, the better off you’ll be.
“Taking time out from your business is important, not only for your own sanity but because when you take time and space, your creativity bubbles to the surface. Some of our best ideas for lady-brains have come while sitting on the beach on vacation, feeling as relaxed as possible. It’s hard to be creative when you’re stressed.”
DO: Connect with others
“The reason we started lady-brains by bringing women together over good wine and great food, was because we recognised the power of a strong network. If you think about the best opportunities that have come your way in life – whether that be personal, business, career, or relationships – we bet they’ve come to you through a person.
“We landed our big-name guests through an introduction or personal connection: Jo Horgan from MECCA was Anna’s boss in a former life, artist CJ Hendry was introduced to us through a mutual friend, and we were connected with Silicon Valley exec Sarah Friar through our podcast network. You can do more with others than you can do alone, so invest time in building your network as soon as you can. “
DON’T: Avoid hard conversations
“Having hard chats is part and parcel of the business-building journey. At lady-brains, we’ve had to negotiate difficult deals with lawyers, break up with suppliers, and let team members go. As best mates, business partners and former housemates (during Melbourne’s long COVID lockdown), we’ve also had to have some pretty difficult heart-to-hearts with each other.
“While in the short-term it’s easy avoiding the hard conversations, in the long run, it only makes things worse. Lean into the discomfort, and you’ll find you grow as a person along the way.”
DO: Systemise and organise anything you can
“When you’re running a business, you have to be across a million things. One moment, you’re chatting to suppliers about a new product, the next you’re on the phone dealing with a customer complaint.
“Being organised helps you keep on top of things and remain focused on what really matters. To be as effective and efficient as possible, you need the right tools and equipment on your side. One of our favourites is our Brother INKvestment printer. It’s quick and efficient, and the mobile app allows us to print notes directly from our phones and send files to one another with ease.
“Small efficiencies like this compound into big ones in the long run. So, get organised!”
For advice on how to organise and plan your work week, see our article on how to better plan your work week.
DON’T: Agonise over a decision
“You’ll be confronted with lots of big decisions along your journey. You may have to answer questions like: should I hire this person? Should I spend this money? Should I say yes to this opportunity? While it may be tempting to ‘sleep on it’ until you’re 100% sure of the right call, indecision often drains your energy and only leads to stress.
“A wrong decision is a great opportunity to learn from your mistakes. Make a decision and move on. “
DO: Enjoy the ride!
“Starting and growing a business is difficult, but it’s also an opportunity for you to create something from scratch, express your authentic self, explore your passions and live on purpose. There will be tough times, but it’s important to remember to have fun along the way. Enjoy the ride!”
For more tips and advice on how to start a business, be sure to check out our article on a beginner’s guide to starting your own business.