February 1st 2018 – The day Wisteria London went live!
Hi Everyone and happy Friday! As you can see today, is actually an extra special Friday for me as it marks ONE YEAR since going live with Wisteria London, and what a year it has been! It would be easy for me to sit here and fluff up the last year, but in reality it has been bloody hard work! I think I have been through every emotion imaginable and learnt a lot about myself in the process! I wanted to sit down and write this blog post, so I could share the twelve lessons that the last twelve months have taught me. So grab yourself a cuppa and let’s delve right in!
1 . If you can dream it you can do it
I can’t believe that today marks a year of the launch of Wisteria London. Time really does fly when you’re having fun. This time last year I had quit a job I wasn’t 100% happy in, to start up on my own! The very thought of being my own boss scared the living daylights out of me, but I am a great believer of chasing your dreams and seeing where they take you. If you have a dream and are determined to work damn hard then don’t let anyone take that dream away from you! Sometimes, all you have to do is believe in yourself and the rest will follow. So whether you want to start your own business, sign up o run your first marathon, learn a new language, go travelling or simply take the leap into a new job the DO IT!! If it doesn’t work out, then we can’t say we didn’t try…..life is to short for regrets, fight to do what you love every chance you get!
2 . Don’t let the naysayers have an impact on your dream
Not everyone is going to be your biggest fan and that’s okay! I received some pretty harsh comments in the beginning (we won’t name names!) but I was basically told that I was making a BIG mistake and that I would never succeed! HA how wrong were they?
3 . Accept you will never fully be ready
Whether you’re starting up your own business, running your first marathon or writing your first blog post, you will never feel totally ready. The plan will never feel perfectly formed, you’ll never feel as strong and prepared as everyone else seems (I’ll let you in on a secret; they’re not that strong or prepared either! No one is!) No one has every last thing figured out, we are all just paddling. Paddling is good though, it’s what puts us in charge of the situation!
If I had waited for the ‘perfect’ time to start Wisteria London, I would never have got started, and I would still be in a job I hated, wondering ‘what if.’ Off course I was scared, scared I would fail, scared I would run out of money and scared what people would think! The moral of the story is, that none of these things, matter in the whole big scheme of things as long as you are willing to work hard. Who cares what people think, at least you are taking a risk at following your dreams and if it doesn’t work out you can say you tried, more than any of them can say! So paddle like you’ve never paddled before!!
4 . Start where you are, Use what you have. Do what you can.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the ‘if only I had,’ thought process. My advice….do your best, given any situation, and be grateful for what you’ve been able to achieve because in the end, amazing things will happen! I created the entire Wisteria London website from scratch, myself. Now, I am no IT genius and funny story is when undertaking my degree in Business Management, one of the modules was building a website and I swore from the day that class ended, I would never build a website again! Six years later here we are….LOL! It may not be the most technical site in the world but I am proud of it. Same goes with product photos, I take all the Wisteria London photographs myself (bar a few I use from the brands we stock) but these are all taken on my iPhone 7 and edited on a free app on my phone.
What I am trying to say is that you don’t need to wait around to know it all, or have a fancy camera to take pictures, or have the latest high tech editing app. You can start now! Use your mobile phone camera and edit images on a free app, there are lots of them out there. Use Instagram/Facebook and Twitter (again all are free marketing tools that reach thousands of people daily,) to promote your business or blog posts, as you never know who might see them. I was lucky that some of the girls from Dancing on Ice last year saw my page and got in touch, and we were lucky to send them some of our products which they then promoted on their Instagram, to their thousands of followers.
5 . Nothing happens overnight
I’ve never been someone that could simply ‘wing it’ in life. Everything I have achieved, I have achieved through hard work and determination. I am the most impatient person in the world, I want everything done yesterday, but this year has taught me that nothing happens overnight and the same goes for a lot of people in business. Sophie and Hannah Pycroft, the sister duo behind the fabulous Spectrum Collections, worked out of their garage and didn’t make a sale in their first six months, Coca Cola only sold twenty five bottles in their first year and Michelle Mone took three years to launch her brand Ultimo. Not one of these businesses found success overnight but that didn’t make them any less of a person, it just made them appreciate it more when they did make it!
Don’t get me wrong, there are still days I wish I had more sales, or my following on Instagram would grow a little quicker and there are many brands and businesses out there that cheat their way to the top but this is something I will never do with Wisteria London. I respect myself and my followers too much to do this. I want to build my brand properly and learn from my mistakes and if that take 5, 10, 15 years then so be it!
6. Be your biggest cheerleader
As one goes through life one learns if you don’t paddle your own canoe you don’t move’ – Katherine Hepburn
With many of us preaching self-love these days, it’s only right that we practice what we preach and become our biggest cheerleader. We deserve the praise and recognition and we need to start believing in ourselves!
I am going to be honest with you and say that I can be rubbish at this sometimes, however, I am learning and it’s forcing me out of my comfort zone! I am relatively a shy person and I’ve still to master the whole talking on Instastories malarkey, but rewind to last year, and when people asked me ‘what I did,’ or when I handed in my notice, ‘what are you going to be doing,’ my heart would race and I tended to either dodge the question or tell them quickly, and then change the subject! I don’t know why, but I was so worried about what they would think. Fast forward a year and I am getting better. If someone askes me now, what do you do for a living, I am more than willing to tell them about Wisteria London, hand them a business card and be proud to talk about ‘my baby!’
Moral of the story, be proud of you! Give yourself a pat on the back for going for it and trying your best. This is your journey and you’re on your own path! Who cares what other people think, this is your life? Everyone’s journey is different; if we were all the same it would be boring. So c’mon be your biggest cheerleader!
7 . Don’t get caught up in numbers on social media
I think we are all guilty of this! It’s easy to get lost in social media, especially when it comes to the numbers game. You can be left thinking why are they getting followers and I’m not? However, I’ve come to learn that it’s okay to grow slowly. As a small business, I want a community of like minded super fans, who love what I do, engage with my content, sign up to the Wisteria London newsletter and buy Wisteria London products! Off course we would all love to get to 10k to have the swipe up feature, but I would much rather have 1,000 engaged followers who support me than 10,000 who don’t give two hoots!
In the words of Sam Burgess from Small and Mighty Co, ‘I need a tribe not a crowd and I’m happy to grow slowly because I’ll gather followers as my business grows and that’s okay.’
8 . Structure is key
When you go from having a 9-5 to having a 24/7 job, you need to learn to manage your time better. You no longer have someone telling you what to do and when to do it by, so you need to be strict with yourself and plan how you can be the most productive.
9 . You need downtime
Running your own business undoubtedly brings quite a bit of pressure with it! If you don’t work hard enough, you won’t pay the bills! It can definitely be stressful and almost make you feel that you literally need to work every single minute of the day, but when I do take time to relax and switch off I feel like I come back a hundred times more productive. Nobody can keep going 100% all of the time, so it’s important to listen to your body and mind and make sure to give it the rest it needs. When it boils down to it, you are the boss, so you call the shots! Make sure to prioritise downtime, as it’s true what they say ‘your health is your wealth!’
10 . Reflect on what you have achieved
Sometimes we are so consumed by the now, that we forget the little things that have actually got us to where we are today. Last year, I made a conscious effort to note in my diary when something happened, whether it be big or small, so that when I was having a bad day, or feeling low, I could look back and see how far I’d come. It’s crazy how much you forget and the little things that make you smile. Although you may not think it, you’ve grown a lot from this time last year!
11 . Never underestimate Google Search or YouTube tutorials
Google Search and YouTube tutorials have become my new best friends. Starting your own business means you have to be a jack of all trades but not necessarily a master of them all. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, I may have a business degree but that doesn’t make me an IT specialist or a financial advisor, which are both part and parcel of my everyday business. When creating and designing my website, I found YouTube tutorials a God send, not only did they tell me what to do but I was able to visualise it as I went along! What we ever did without YouTube and Google I will never know!
12 . Enjoy every minute
One of the biggest things I have learnt is to enjoy every minute. Off course, some days can be tough, that’s life, but I have to remind myself that I’m doing something I have wanted to do for a very long time! I no longer have to dread getting up in the morning to go to a job I absolutely hate, I no longer have the Sunday night dread and I can look at Monday as a fresh start, a new week to achieve whatever the hell I want. Be grateful even just for the small things in life, as I bet/know there’s someone in the world who would love to be in your shoes! Monday-Friday are not days to be back at the grindstone, these are the days to be back at your passion. If you are working for the weekends you’re doing it all wrong!
And there you have it….12 lessons that the last 12 months have taught me!
I honestly can’t believe that it has been a year already! It has been thoroughly hard work and at times emotional, but I absolutely love what I do and wouldn’t have it any other way. I just want to say a MASSIVE thank you to my mum and dad who have been the biggest supporters from day one, my boyfriend Richard, who has picked me up when I’ve been down, and reminded me why I started and most importantly YOU. Thank you for being a part of my journey, for buying Wisteria London products and for following, liking, commenting and sharing our posts. My little business wouldn’t have grown in the last year if it hadn’t been for you, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.
To celebrate and say thank you there will be FREE SHIPPING on all UK orders until midnight on Monday 4th February 2019.
I hope you all have a wonderful day