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Everyone wonders what it’s like to be your own boss. Some out of curiosity, some perhaps in anticipation of making the big leap themselves. Our founder, Asa, has been reflecting on the first year in business. iRaw was officially born February 23rd 2016 when we received our first order for cookies. What followed was a rollercoaster of events, moments and emotions. iRaw travelled to 6 trade and consumer shows to meet with consumers and potential consumers, began exporting product to Spain, France and even Iceland, and outgrew its production facility within three months.
What it’s like to be your own Boss – Highs and Lows
However, this wasn’t all smooth sailing. Just to highlight one blunder, iRaw made a big investment into a production machine that came fraught with problems. From the moment it arrived, the machine couldn’t fulfil its task and deal with our raw ingredients. This was a huge blow not only because of the wastage of raw material but orders quickly started backing up too. We’re so grateful for our production team stepping up to help!
But good, bad, amazing, ugly – each emotion and each experience was a learning curve, one we managed to get over and move forward still. When you wonder what it’s like to be your own boss, start by first embracing that it’s an ongoing learning curve, one that can be incredibly steep. From there, check out the following ten lessons or tips we’ve collected in our first year.
What it’s like to be your own Boss
Be genuinely sure that your business concept is something you really believe in and want to do, more than anything you have decided before. When you have that believe firmly rooted in your system you are ready to make the move.
Define your customer/s. Be specific let them live in your head to understand them and be able to speak directly to them.
Do some research. You might have an idea of where your potential customers are hanging out and how to reach them. However, to know vs, thinking you know you better do some research. The research depends on the type of the product you are offering and the definition of your clients. Are you launching a vegan burger? Go to restaurants, cafes, stores that are selling same or similar product. Study their clients, the product and prepare few questions you can ask both the customers and the sellers. It may bring you the edge you need you then can add to your product that others aren’t currently delivering.
Define your business module and revenue channel. Be crystal clear from the start what you want to achieve. Ask your self is it scalable! BE specific with your goals and if you can discuss with friends or someone close that can provide a valuable insight.
Decide what route you want to take to get your brand noticed. This is a very important decision and can probably make or break your success. The reason for saying that is if you keep your focus on one direction your whole energy will go onto supporting that decision and more likely be successful.
Now you have a focus on the foundation, you must decide on the connection to the target audience. How will you approach them, revisit your decision on the route to the market, build your strategy with consistent and honest plan to action. It is all about how you can add value to your customers and show that you care and how your product can make a difference. My advice at this stage is to do more research, study your competitors how are they communicating their product to their clients. How do you rate their attempt, can you learn from it?
Once your business is ready to kick off, you will be hit by so many different challenges and many of them if not all will be something you didn’t foresee. That is why preparing your content in advance is so important. It will help you to stay true to your basic concept and help you to communicate the message you have and what problem your products are solving. There are many tools available online and for free that will come very handy.
Decide before you start what time/day of the week or the month is your time off METIME and stick to it. If you don’t, you will quickly find yourself paddling in the deep pool not understanding the reason why you are feeling confused or indecisive. It is important for your decisions to come from a place of clarity and focus, this will not happen if you feel overworked, exhausted or frustrated.
Understand the need of cash flow, be realistic. The sales might not come as quickly as predicted or one incident might cause cash going out faster than its coming in. Be prepared for how to deal with financial challenge. It is easy to lose focus on your pre planned strategy and become frustrated. Do a little research before you start on where or how you can get back up if needed. This will save you valuable time as you already have ideas or options to dig into once things start getting a little bit too tough, trust me there will be moments when you feel that things are getting out of hands or too much to handle.
Finally define a place where you gather all your data. It is vital from day one that you keep track of your actions. Be it how many likes one post on instagram had, issues with packaging, how a meeting with the bank manager went, investor, co-worker or anything else. Reserve a day each month or quarterly (depending on the size of your business) where you review all the data you have captured. The reason why I suggest this is this will give you breathing space. It will help you to grow and make decisions. As a part of your strategic plan, it will help you to learn how to run the business as successfully as you can. Also, it will help you to deal with everyday tasks more effectively and teach you structure. Once you have it planned, gathering data is easy as you know what you want to keep track on.
There you have it – What it’s like to be your own boss from our own Boss, Asa. We hope it’s useful!