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Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth

- Mike Tyson

You learn a lot in your first year of business. And I learnt that my income takes a nosedive in August.

The 10 months leading up to my first Summer were brilliant: I had a steady stream of clients, so I felt like I clearly knew everything there was to know about running a successful business because my business was awesome.

But then I went from Hero to Zero and I hadn't planned for it.


If You've Never Thought Of Quitting, Your Business Is Still In It's Baby Stages

At this point my anxiety was through the roof so I panicked and decided to get an employed job.

If I'm going to be honest, the thought of employment felt a lot less stressful: knowing I'd be paid each month and not having to spend every waking hour of my day thinking about my business. I could go to work, come home, and not worry.

Then I remembered: interviews, inflexible set working hours, getting paid naff all, that feeling of wasting my life, being told when to take my holiday and not being around my family.

Then I remembered: it's my business / my rules, flexible working hours, I bloody love what I do, the sense of achievement I feel and hanging out with my family.

Then I saw this quote: "if you've never thought of quitting, your business is still in it's baby stages" ..

It was I needed to get over myself. Running a business was never going to be easy all of the time. I had to put on my big girl pants and figure this out.

And I did. I figured out that my business went quiet over Summer because people go on holiday. Duh. So I continued to market myself over August and by September I was back on top. Drama over.


The Perfect Plan

My second year in business was going to be a total success this time because I had a plan for a slow Summer. In fact, I planned to take the whole of August off and enjoy myself! #BOSH

How was I going to do this? .. My Retainer Clients

I needed to know that (at the bare minimum) my financial commitments were covered each month, so I onboarded enough Retainer Clients to be able to do this.

Then any ad-hoc design projects over and above these clients would be money in my pocket.

This meant when the design projects dried up over Summer, I could still meet my financial commitments, thanks to my Retainer Clients.

With me so far?..

The months leading up to Summer were awesome. Business was growing. Money was flowing. Everything was perfect. And I was getting ready for a chilled, stress-free August.

July came around and, as expected, design work stopped coming in. But that was cool because I had my Retainer Clients, right?


Unfortunately three of my retainers left all at once due to unforeseen personal circumstances. My safety net fell apart and I had no prospect of getting any new design work until September.


Trust the Process

I ended up completely stressed again for the whole of Summer and worked my ass of by running a promotion to try and attract anyone who was listening and get some money coming in.

But I this time I had the confidence to believe in myself. I trusted the process and knew I just had to be patient.

Thanks to all of my marketing it worked. I managed to recoup my losses and then some - but I definitely didn't have the Summertime pina colada lifestyle I'd dreamed of.


That's Life

Being a Business Owner is pretty badass. It's high risk but it's also high reward.

It's really cool when business is going well and when things get challenging it's really cool to get through them - slightly wiser, slightly better off for it.

You just have to roll with the punches, baby - no matter how much you plan for it.

BRING ON 2023!

One day you're riding high in April then shot down in May - but that's life! Learn from it, trust the process and don't give up.



If you like what you've just read, this is your personal invitation to join my newsletter mailing list for more tips and advice about web designs, brand design, marketing and my honest experience on what it's like to be a small business owner ..


Claire x


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