Our 1-Year Review!
Updated: May 5, 2020
I know, I can't quite believe it either... Kitcat Kreatives is officially 1 year old! 🥳
I have been waiting to do this blog post for quite a while now... there has been so much that has happened for Kitcat Kreatives in just one year and I really wanted to share what I have learnt with you and give some advice if you have just set up a company or are planning on doing so in the future.
This time last year, I don't think I quite knew what I was letting myself in for. That may sound negative but it's true! I wouldn't change any of my experiences for the world, however, I don't think I really knew what running my own business would entail along with all its responsibilities! This will become clearer within this blog post, as I will give you my top 10 tips and advice that I would give to any business owner. So, here we go!
1. The line between PERSONAL and BUSINESS social media use can get VERY blurry.
What I mean by this is when you have just sat down and have finished work for the day, you scroll through your social media news feed and get a notification from one of your business pages. You then click on the notification and then *BAM*, you're working again.
This is something I have realised quite recently actually, I have found that my brain was becoming so fried and when I thought about my social media habits logically, this was why! It is really important to stay disciplined with how much work you do. You can sometimes do too much! This is why I created some opening hours for Kitcat Kreatives which are between 9 am-5 pm. Anything before or after that, unless urgent I will do first thing the following day. This is a super hard piece of advice that even I am still trying to listen to. It's really hard to know where the line is, especially when we can now access everything from our smartphones!
2. Find an Accountant from the get-go (...if you can).
When I say "if you can", it's because having an Accountant for your business will obviously come at a cost. Right at the start, there was no way I could afford one as it takes time to build your business up so you have a steady income, even then nothing is guaranteed in the world of freelancing! BUT, when I did have an Accountant, my stresses, Admin workload, anxiety etc. was halved! If you're like me and not the best when it comes to numbers, get an Accountant as soon as possible. I'm still learning and finding out new things every day when it comes to owning a business and I feel so comfortable asking any questions I need an answer to. That's another tip as well, make sure you feel comfortable with your Accountant and feel like you are able to ask them anything. (Remember, no question is too silly!)
I also think getting an Accountant early on will save you a lot of time in the long run. I say this as I have only just finished catching up with my accounts from over a year ago! That's 365 days... I'll just leave that there.
3. BE HONEST!
Sometimes, life happens. What I mean by this is that working for yourself isn't always smooth sailing. You will have to teach yourself ALOT and learn it all very quickly. In the world of social media and marketing, it is extremely fast-paced and you have to keep up otherwise you will risk falling behind and someone else coming along who has managed to keep up. That being said, don't be hard on yourself and you can only do what you can at the end of the day. When those tricky times do come around though, especially when it revolves around work with a client, it is SO important to be honest.
Luckily, I have never been in a situation where I have had to bend any truths or divert from honesty, but from positive experiences, I have learnt that honesty is the best possible policy. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to tell your client something you'd rather not, TELL THEM. They will respect you more for it I guarantee you, nothing good comes from lying.
4. Keep in touch with your clients.
This is one of my favourite tips and I believe goes a long way! Your clients will really appreciate you picking up the phone or even better, popping into their work for a coffee and a quick catch up if they're around. I'm writing this in a time of lockdown so having face-to-face contact isn't possible right now but that's a reason to keep in touch with your clients even more and touch base with them to see how they are getting on. It's also very important to never 'assume' anything. I was once told 'never assume anything, it will only make an ASS out of U and ME'. This is a phrase I hold very close to myself and tell myself a lot.
5. Don't under-sell yourself.
This is again something I am still trying to learn, but I'm definitely getting there! Looking back at what I used to charge right back when Kitcat Kreatives started was slightly too underpriced. That is ok though as I personally think that is better than over-pricing your services, you don't want to create a bad name for yourself right at the start. This being said, money is a very touchy subject. I found that talking it through with close family members or friends helped get a rough idea of how much I should charge for my services.
I find that you also have to be confident when you give a price too. Don't always back down! You said that price for a reason and you should keep to it if it's reasonable. I think this tip ties in a lot with self-worth. You are worth a lot and so is your time so always remember that! I think I have pretty much nailed my set prices now but figuring out the rough ballpark for how much you charge should be one of the first things you think of before setting up a business and providing clients with your services.
6. Set up a Business Account once you have multiple clients.
To be honest, when I set up Kitcat Kreatives, I never knew when the right time was to set up a Business Account. I was given advice from people saying I didn't need to set one up or that it was too early, but looking back now, I think it would have made life a little easier if I had set one up from the start. I found myself very confused and probably too laid back with what I could spend when relying on my personal account. Getting a Business Account too also forced me to write down exactly what comes in and out each month.
7. Say yes to everything (within reason).
Yes, yes, yes! Say yes to everything you can. Obviously, if you know you can't do something then don't lead a client on but if you can, always say yes! Make sure to always communicate too and keep them updated for the whole process so they know when you are able to get the job done. I say yes to everything as well because it's so much better than saying no, also you never know if you're about to have a good or a bad month financially. When you're a freelancer, you never know how well a month is going to go and that is why it is so important to save too which I will explain below.
8. Save whenever you can!
I only have to give you the example of the Pandemic we are currently in to explain why it is so important to save. Having said that, I was extremely lucky and actually only started to save at the start of the year! Now, if anything was to ever happen, I have something to fall back on, almost as a safety net. It's also good to save as you can't predict anything. I've always told myself to prepare for the worst and hope for the best!
9. Identify your main service/specialism and run with it!
Luckily, from University I had learnt a whole range of different skills that I could help my clients with. I started off with a whole list and had to then scale it back. I work for myself and haven't employed anyone so it was important to not overload and offer too much. From talking to people and really thinking about my services, I realised that Social Media Management was the best service and package that I could provide to my clients. A year on and this is still the case! I have learnt a lot about social media along the way such as algorithms, do's and don'ts, best platforms for each client etc. It is always good to really nail what the specialism of your business is before you start too, the last thing you want to do is confuse your audience!
I do have other services as well that all fall within the same field of marketing and relate to each other in one way or another, it is also ok to have more than one service. Knowing what these services are is very important. You need to know your brand before your audience does.
10. Treat everyone the same.
This one is also very important. You may come across a time when you feel a bit nervous before speaking to one client in particular and question why. Put everything into perspective and remember to treat everyone the same. Provide only the best of the best. If you do this, you'll be fine! As said previously, customer service is so important and just picking up the phone, popping in for a quick coffee and a catch up will go such a long way with your client I'm sure of it.
Well, there are my top 10 tips and advice for you if you're thinking of setting up your own business or if you were just wondering what my mindset is from being self-employed for over a year now. Ooh! Something else too, never rely on anyone or anything. Self-employment means you work for yourself, treat it as any 9-5 job you have had in the past. Remain disciplined and motivated and you'll do just fine! Ok, that's 11 tips there now... I hope you have enjoyed them.
If you have any feedback, comments or thoughts on this blog post or you would like to read something in particular in the future, please get in touch!
Have a good week. Here's to the next year!