And what a fun 4 years it’s been…
So HBS turned 4 at the end of last month! Where has that time gone?? It’s been such an exciting journey for me and I have and continue to love every minute.
Why did I start HBS?
When I first started, my daughters were still at primary school. Initially I just wanted to work term time so that I was around for them after school and during the holidays. It not only gave me the flexibility, but also meant that we weren’t paying out for holiday clubs which the girls hated. My most favourite side to it all was that when my husband took his annual leave during the year, we actually all got to have that time together as a family. Rather than each of us trying to cover a week here, week there and if we were lucky got 2 weeks together.
Am I doing what I first started out to do?
Ah, no… whilst my background has been in IT, I actually began my working career as a secretary (which was my lifelong dream!). So when I set up HBS, I was a Virtual Assistant. However, within my first year I’d taken on a client who needed some help with an IT project, as well as asset management and compliance.
Shortly after that client, a friend contacted me to ask if I could host and re-create his website for him….I told him to give me 5 minutes and I’d call him back. Quick google search to see what was needed, and then I phoned him back saying “sure”. That was the turning point for my business and it took on a whole new direction.
Since then, I have dropped the Admin work and predominantly work as a Web Designer, but my USP is definitely the 23years I spent in IT. I don’t design websites in the same way as a graphic designer would, but more so from an IT perspective. By that I mean, I want to make sure it’s not only a fab looking website, but that it’s secure, backed up, functional and has been SEO’d for want of a better word.
What have I learned in the past 4 years?
Here’s my top 6 learnings:
Network! You need to be out there and finding a supportive group of likeminded professionals is a must.
Have faith in your skillset. You no longer have a boss or colleagues telling you “well done”, so it can be very easy to worry about how your clients will react to something you have produced. Remember to have faith! They’ve come to you BECAUSE they like you, they like the work you’ve done for others, so don’t underestimate the value in that.
Referrals. Those that know me know I love to network and more than that, I absolutely LOVE to be able to connect people together. And what’s better, is without asking for it, the favour is always returned. I firmly believe what you give out you get back!
Outsource. Easier said than done in the early days, but as soon as you are able to pay someone to do the tasks you don’t have time to do, or don’t have the skillset to do – my advice is do it! It took me a few years to get to the point I could do this, but it’s made such a difference, I wish I had done it sooner. I now have an extended team supporting me and it’s a wonderful feeling. You’re helping them by giving them work and they are helping you. Honestly, do it!
Learning. Don’t forget to expand your knowledge and keep your learning going. Something that happens when you are employed, so why should it stop now?
Be true to yourself. This is YOUR business, and it should be what gets you up in the morning. Don’t take on clients that you can see are going to zap you of your energy. Life is too short, so work with people you choose.
Would I recommend it?
It’s not for everyone, but if you are passionate about what you do, love meeting and working with different people, aren’t afraid of putting in the hours and are motivated enough to work on your own, then DO IT! I wouldn’t change a thing and am very excited to see my future plans and goals come to fruition.
If you are thinking about starting up your own business, then please give me a call or drop me an email. I’d love to chat with you and offer some advice, introduce you to some key networking groups and people who I know will be able to help you build your business.