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#SQUIFFYPRINT : 20 Things I've Learnt Running a Business

Jessica Robinson

Bit of a bullet-blog this week to ease me back into the whole bloggy writing thing! Some people have contributed too to this blog post, I have linked their websites next to their comments. They are fellow business owners like myself, so....


  1. Never listen to someone when they say your business idea is rubbish or can't be positive for you. They are not you and they do not have your vision. I've said it before & I’ll say it again, opinions are like arse holes, everybody has one!
  2. There are no shortcuts, says Becka of Becka Griffin Illustration. Just put in the hours and be patient.
  3. Learn not to take things personally, all feedback is good feedback. Use it to hone your skills and make your product offering better.
  4. Getting organised: especially if you work on your own. Understand you are the marketing/sales/production/warehouse/customer service department all rolled into one and wear each hat accordingly. When I’m designing I try and put my phone on silent and turn it over so i have no distractions. 
  5. See a business/sales coach/mentor every now and again. I see a lovely lady called Hayley once a month which keeps me on track. She makes me accountable for a weekly sales report and motivates me when it comes to winning business/driving sales to my website. I brain dump on her once a month and I find it a massive help to get me back on track if I've veered off a bit. 
  6. Don’t compare yourself to your 'competition' - or the people you think are the competition. Everyone is on their own journey with their own timeframes. This is a hard one! Stay authentic. I recently took the decision to go back to designing and focus on the creative process rather than the printing itself. I felt I needed to stand out a bit more from the saturated personalised make-up bag market.   
  7. Running an online business can be a lonely old place, build yourself a network of creative friends who know first hand the demands of running their own small business. Face Book & Instagram groups are particularly handy.   
  8. Clare from Bespoke & Oak highlighted good photography as key player in your online business. The visual aspect of your website is essentially your shop window. So whether thats learning to use a camera yourself or hiring a good product photographer, the customer needs to be able to get a feel of your product through fabulous photos. 
  9. If you work from home: people will randomly turn up because they think you aren’t doing anything. ;) Here's a top tip: put your coat on before you answer the door, if its someone you don't want to see, tell them you are just on your way out. If its someone you don't mind, tell them you just got in! ;) 
  10. You’re gonna have to learn to juggle: especially if you have kids too. Becky Murray who runs Becky Broome, suggests be prepared to try your hand at anything: from making to marketing, photography to logistics, you need to be adaptable! 
  11. Try your hardest but you will never be able to switch off. You will see opportunity and new ideas and inspiration everywhere!!
  12. Some days you will have a total ‘idea drought’ - and thats ok, go get a coffee and go to the library (not with the coffee though) or meet a mate, walk the dog round the black or buy some funky magazines to get your creative juices flowing: I can suggest Calm, Blogosphere and even the monthly Tesco magazine for inspo! Finding ways to self-motivate is key as you may not have a team of people surrounding you to help.  
  13. Plan meet up's with people who run their own businesses too: find your tribe. Its good to actually talk to a human other than the postman. ;) 
  14. Staying positive helps productivity. Surrounding yourself with positive people is also key: I once read you are a reflection of the 5 people you spend the most time with. 
  15. Your business & product offering will constantly evolve: I still wear the first hoodie I ever printed. :D Its totally naff but I love it and after 5 years of wear and wash, it looks pretty sweet! I also have one of the first product labels I ever used in a little frame on my desk, it reminds me of how far I've come. 
  16. Some customers can be absolute keyboard warriors, you would not have people say the same things in a shop that they would write over an email or message. Do not take this personally, and, if need be, walk away from the computer and compose yourself before you reply.
  17. You know you’re doing well when the haters come through. ;) 
  18. People will copy your idea. But thats cool, they aren’t you so keep going!
  19. Don’t put off the rubbish jobs: do them first, and set yourself a time to do them in. Bingo! (same goes for housework and washing up I suppose).
  20. If you are dithering about setting up your own business: a year ago today, you wish you would have already started. I really don't know where the last 5 years went, but they zoomed by! 

See you next Mondays blog! 😊😜✌

Jess :) x

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