A Reflection – Two Years In Business

In November 2017 I left my day job to set up my interior design business. At the time when I set up I was mostly making and selling upcycled furniture and soft furnishings. It wasn’t until January 2018 that I got set up on Houzz as an interior designer and got my first bona fide interior design client about a month later! 

Two years down the line and I’ve not really stopped to take a breath. It’s been the best, busiest and most stressful couple of years of my life and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I had this big idea when I set up that I would write a blog post every month and and track my business journey. Did I do that? I wrote one post two years ago about leaving my day job, well things never quite go to plan do they!

So it’s two years later and I thought I would commemorate the second anniversary of my first official interior design client by sharing my thoughts and learnings over the past two years in a series of blog posts. 

I started off thinking that this would be one post but when I sat down to write it I realised there are just so many things I’ve learned over the past two years that I can’t  possibly put them all in one post so I’m splitting them up into a series!

You can’t do everything 

When I first left my 9-5 I was super excited to have all of this time to be able to work on my business. I had been working on it as a side hustle for months and so the prospect of having my days too felt like I’d have all the time in the world! Well I’m sure anyone who has started a business can tell you that your time very quickly becomes taken up with all manner of tasks.

When you are your business you have to wear many many hats and it doesn’t take long to learn that you’ll have a lot more ideas than you can reasonably take on at any one time. In the beginning I would beat myself up about not being able to get through as much work as I wanted and kept feeling like no matter how hard I was working I need to work harder and longer, well this is not only completely unsustainable but also terrible for your mental and physical health. 

Work life balance is massively important, you need time to recharge in order to be doing your best work. So after two years I try harder to plan and prioritise what needs to be done, obviously this doesn’t always work but learning to give yourself a break and realise that you can’t do it all on your own has been a big part of my business journey so far. 

Celebrate the wins and learn from the losses

It’s really easy to become so goal focused when starting out in your business that as soon as you achieve one goal you move straight on to the next without taking time to actually step back and look at what you have achieved. I now try to celebrate the wins, no matter how small. Whether that be by a celebratory meal out, treating yourself to something new or even just taking five minutes outs to give yourself a pat on the back! 

Equally it can be difficult not to wallow when things don’t go to plan or you lose out on a job or client. My mind always has a tendency to go to a dark negative place so this is something I’ve particularly struggled with and I’m continually working on. When you get a rejection or someone chooses another company over yours it can be hard not to take it personally, but the ability to try and learn from those mistakes and think about what you can do to make your offering better than your competition is what’s going to help you become successful. Also sometimes you might just not be the right fit for the client and that’s ok too, better in the long run than having to deal with someone who you just don’t see eye to eye with!  

Next time….

Learning to value yourself and your work