I think success is odd concept for a small business because how, when you work by yourself in a unique business, can you gauge how well you are doing in your market place?
I have been selling my work for about 3ish years now and, to begin with, it was really hard to build up my customer base, stockists and so forth and some days I really did miss the reliable income of my old office job work!
When I first started out I would say that a lot of the time, it felt like I was trying to run through syrup and when I was first trying to make my way, I think one of my biggest mistakes was comparing my business and how successful it was to other businesses that I thought were similar in some way, be it location, what they were selling or something else.
I spent a lot of time looking at other creative small business social media pages and thinking ‘WOW, they look like they are doing so well - I wish I was doing as well as them’.This went on for a while – me worrying that I wasn’t doing as well as I should be or that my business wasn’t growing as fast as it should or thinking ‘am I doing enough?’ and so on and so on!
But, as time passed and everything seemed to start going in the right direction, after slogging at my business for 2 and a half years, I realised something I already knew about people on social media but hadn’t made the link that businesses will do the same thing as individuals(a mental block or something!) That knowledge was that:-
Social media is full of the highlights of what is going on, the best bits but not the failures , knock-backs or the hard work behind the facts - not the full truth in fact. Just the EDITED highlights!
It appears that a business doesn’t necessarily have to be tremendously successful to appear that it is on Facebook, Instagram or any social media; it just needs to have someone who is very good at promotion and building a brand behind the wheel!
So, my best advice to anyone who is just starting to try and get a creative business off the ground is -do not try and compare your success to anyone else, particularly on social media.That will just drive you mad - only you know how well your business is doing financially as well as the quality of life you enjoy being your own boss!
Finally, I wouldn’t necessarily say that I am successful because I have no idea when you reach success (is there an alarm that goes off or fireworks or something!?) but I would say that compared to when I started out, to how my life and business is now, I have achieved a lot and am proud of where and who I am.