6 things I learned in my first year of running a business

Quitting my full-time job 1 year ago was daunting but mostly exciting for me. Having been through the business Startup Accelerator I felt as equipped as I would ever be and ready to hit the ground running. I had a plan for the next 3 months ahead at least.

What’s the business?
I am a Registered Dietitian and my mission is to end nutrition nonsense and free people from dieting and food guilt. I take the most up-to-date evidence-based nutrition information and empower my clients to make changes to their health and lifestyle via personalised nutrition coaching online.

There were a number of things that I learned whilst starting up a business that have helped me remain both sane, but also successful. So I wanted to share my experiences one year on, including some of the mistakes I made and what I’ve learnt along the way.

1. Don’t be afraid to ask

In my first few weeks and months, my closest friends and family were my biggest champions and support. I was amazed at how supportive and willing they were when I asked for help. I made sure they were clear on what my business was about and what I offered, which meant that they could market for me. This helped bring in much of my initial business.

 

2. Set boundaries

This took me a little while to figure out. Whilst I wanted to work all of the time because it was exciting and fun, I also realised that I needed to continue a life outside of it to not burn out. I now rarely work on the weekends, I schedule other activities during the week to ensure I properly switch off, and I schedule breaks into my day so my client load doesn’t get too heavy.

 

3. Set intentions

When working for yourself on your own, there are a million things you could be doing. I sometimes found this resulted in distracted working or working on tasks that aren’t really that important. Before you know it, another week has passed and you’re not sure what you’ve achieved.

Setting daily and weekly intentions have been really helpful to keep me focused and to prioritise. If anything distracting creeps in, I add it to my weekly intention list. I also set big chunks of time aside to work on the bigger picture, sometimes roping others in for 2-3 hours to help me on this.

 

4. Prioritise the right support

Upon finishing the Startup Accelerator, I had everything I needed to get started with the business. As time went on, I identified that there were some more niche areas I needed more support in as the business evolved. Sometimes I didn’t quite know what this was, but my gut was telling me that I needed to do something different.

Creating huge mind maps and laying everything out in front of me has been really helpful. I write out relevant headings e.g. finance, marketing, sales, organisation, home life and write out everything beneath these headings that I needed help with. I would then be able to prioritise where to begin. I then spend time reading, watching videos, speaking to friends, or investing in a couple of sessions with an expert to help me on the specific area in order to keep moving forward in the right direction.

 

5. Build up your network

Whilst I love working for myself (the flexibility, freedom, reward) there have been a number of times where it’s been tricky. Especially not being able to bounce ideas off of a colleague. I have therefore spent this year, building up my network online (many brilliant Facebook groups), at events (start-up or professional events) and have subsequently found my own little network of people I can turn to for business and professional support.

Next week I shall be starting at a co-working space outside of London, where I will have my own desk space and be working alongside others. This is a big step for me and an investment but it’s a priority for me to work in a proper working environment instead of from home. I recognise this year that I have had to take a few steps back (moving back to my parents and working alone) before I have been able to move forward.

 

6. Trust your instincts

There will be a number of people who give you ideas, suggestions and feedback – that may be friends, family, clients or business experts. It’s very easy to jump at these ideas and before you know it, you’re swimming around in circles and not moving in the direction that feels right for you. You know your business better than anyone else, so trust your instincts and do what feels right for you at the time.

 

The startup programme for me was life changing and I wouldn’t be where I am without it. Be patient, keep an open mind, and focus on what you can do, because anything is really possible.

If you are struggling with emotional eating, anxiety eating, weight yo-yoing, binge eating, and just want to eat a healthy diet without obsessing, I offer a FREE online nutrition course. Equally, if you need support from a nutrition professional with your business then you can  contact me via my website.

 

Kate completed our Startup Accelerator in December 2017. To join her in taking control of your career and finding work you love, learn more here.

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