Words of wisdom from 5 small biz owners

I recently realised that what I was really craving something in my business – a feeling of community around my brand. Many people do a gorgeous job of creating that sense of community through their social media accounts or through their email list, but since I had my first child in 2020 I’ve found it hard to stay on top of the amount of time it takes to really build that up.

When launching my first online course and my course platform the Tree House, I knew I needed to get serious about community building. It’s a brilliant way to help people get through the whole of your course, create a sense of accountability, and allow people to connect with others going through the course at a similar time.

I set my community up on Circle and I am loving seeing it grow slowly and organically! I decided to create a Digital Magazine inside the community platform so that I could post Interviews with members, enabling us to get to know each other and learn about the ups and downs of our business journeys.

Here I’m sharing some of the amazing words of wisdom that have been written by 5 of the community members 🥰 They’ve given some wonderful advice for creative business owners. To read the full Interviews, sign up to the community here.

Helena Murphy – Commercial photographer capturing product, places and people.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to past you?

Nothing that is meant for you will pass you by. Don’t stress about your ideal timeline – it’s going to unravel in the way it’s meant to, and it’s not a race.

What’s one thing you learnt or implemented in your business where you thought ‘Why didn’t I do this sooner?!’

I definitely would have done the SEO work I’ve done this year much sooner, if I could go back! Because SEO is a slow piece and takes a long time to make an impact, it would have been beneficial to work on it from the start and not be so dependent on a platform you can’t control, like Instagram or TikTok.

Read the full Q&A bu signing into the community here

See Helena’s website here

Lauren Clegg – Jewellery designer and maker creating sterling silver jewellery inspired by nature.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to past you?

Trust my instinct and listen to my inner voice for guidance more. I’ve spent a long time looking externally for direction, thinking that everyone else had insider info that I was lacking, but when I’ve followed advice from external sources, it hasn’t fit right. I realised I just need to trust myself and follow my own path.

What’s one thing you learnt or implemented in your business where you thought ‘Why didn’t I do this sooner?!’

This is going to sound really behind the times, but downloading apps onto my phone for the platforms I use for my business. For example, I sell on Etsy, and I used to transfer all the photos from my phone onto the laptop, to upload them onto my listings. It was so time consuming, then I realised I could download the ‘sell on Etsy’ app, and I can upload images and edit listings straight from my phone. Game changer (that probably everyone else is already aware of!) Lol. 

Read the full Q&A by signing into the community here

See Lauren’s work here

Sophie Carefull – Coach for introverted creatives and a business mentor for personal branding photographers.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to past you?

I’d say: “Everything will get so much easier when you stop fighting against yourself.” I spent so many years focusing on all the things I disliked about myself, and rejecting my true nature as an introvert and someone with anxious tendencies, and actually, the more I’ve been able to face and then embrace those parts of myself, the more peace I experience. 

I never used to believe in the power of self-compassion (“If I stop being horrible to myself, surely I’ll never get anything done?!”), but now I see it as an absolutely essential ingredient for a happy life.

What’s one thing you learnt or implemented in your business where you thought ‘Why didn’t I do this sooner?!’

One of the most important lessons for me has been “be a farmer, not a hunter,” as I think the saying goes. I spent so much of my first couple of years in business on a constant (and tiring) treadmill of trying to find my next new client, that I’d often neglect to appreciate my existing clients. 

It dawned on me that it’d be much more worthwhile to cultivate longer-term relationships with everyone I worked with so that I didn’t have to rely so heavily on outward marketing. I started to get more repeat bookings and referrals when I actively encouraged them, which may sound obvious but I think a lot of us overlook this, especially in the early days when your confidence may still be wobbly and you’re just so relieved when a job goes well that you quickly move onto the next thing without looking back.

Read the full Q&A by signing into the community here

See Sophie’s website here

Ammaarah Jeewa – Creative copywriter for creative women

What’s one piece of advice you would give to past you?

Stop letting other people tell you your limitations. Only you can decide what you are and are not capable of doing. You get to dictate what happens in your business, not everyone else.

What’s one thing you learnt or implemented in your business where you thought ‘Why didn’t I do this sooner?!’

Be authentic. It sounds simple, and maybe almost obvious, but it’s so easy to feel like you have to conform to some type of ‘appearance’. Even when I thought I was being authentic, it turns out, I was still trying to hide. It wasn’t until a gentle marketing coach suggested that I look at what I do through the lens of, ‘Does what you’re doing make you love yourself?’ that it really opened my eyes.. 

I was genuinely surprised at how often the answer was ‘no’. It prompted me to take a good hard look at what I was doing, especially in terms of marketing, and adjust things so that I could finally answer ‘yes’.

Read the full Q&A by signing into the community here

See Ammaarah on instagram here

Rebecca Broad – Writer and social media manager

What’s one piece of advice you would give to past you?

Charge. More. Money. 

What’s one thing you implemented in your business where you thought ‘Why didn’t I do this sooner?!’

Oh, I love Starling Spaces. In my business account with them I have Spaces for all sorts: different tax years (I automatically put away 30% of all income), Christmas bonus, my next three months’ wages, new tech fund, and ‘investment’.

It’s made everything to do with finances so much more visible for me. I never used to feel financially safe enough to spend any business money, but Spaces help me to see what I can afford to spend.

Read the full Q&A by signing into the community here

See Rebecca on instagram here

If you enjoyed reading this wonderful advice for creative business owners, you can join the Tree House Community here!

©2023 LEMON AND BIRCH  | PHOTOGRAPHY BY SOPHIE CAREFULL
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