What Lessons I Learnt in my First Year of Business

On Friday 6th November, the little typewriter celebrated one year in business.

Four months after I married the love of my life, three months after I resigned as the Senior Content Writer at my corporate job, I finally took the plunge.

Although it was something I’d wanted to do for years the timing became seemingly perfect in 2019. A new outlook on life, health challenges and feeling stuck in a job I loved fuelled the need for change.

What started as an online profile to showcase my creative work turned into a fully functioning business. I replaced my ridiculously long hours and a regular paycheck with smarter, healthier work ethics and better flexibility to do what I love for business I believe in. 

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It was one of those decisions I wish I’d made earlier. But like quality web copy, good things take time; and this adventure was well worth the wait. 

365 days, 52 clients Australian-wide and 544,437 words later.

Here’s what I learnt. 

SEO-copywriter-Jayde-Walker

It’s Okay to Press Pause

Invest in rest. Easier said than done, yet it’s essential for sustainable results. 

Pressing pause allows you to be better, take on work more productively and stimulate stronger ideas. If you don’t allow time to rest, you cannot achieve all you’re meant to. 

You switch your computer off after a day’s work. Make sure you do the same for your mind, body and soul. Almost anything will work again if you unplug it for a bit, including you. 

Partnering with Likeminded Business Owners is a Recipe for Success

If you know what you’re doing and provide a worthy service, you’ll probably do alright. But when your values align with the people who make your business tick (your clients), that’s where the real magic happens. 

When I first started TLT I was eager to build my business. There were the ideal people to work with, whose values match my own, but in the early days, I wasn’t being too fussy either. 

I soon learnt the importance of who you work with. Businesses you click with. The best way I give my clients the most value is to work with people who entrust their business with my expertise and respect my knowledge. When businesses listen and action your advice, it’s easier to deliver them maximum results. 

Genuine businesses who treat their customers as #1 has always been a priority. Yet when you learn they’re the ones who help motivate and inspire you to do better, you also prioritise businesses with similar ethics. 

Who you work with should be more important than income. Build a good business with a loyal client-base and success follows. 

No is just as Important as Yes

To deliver an outstanding service you must learn to say no. No to businesses who don’t match your values, no to taking on too much work, no to red flags, continually late payers or clients who disagree with all your recommendations and refuse to make changes. 

Saying no is just as important as saying yes, if not more. 

If you take on too much work, you shift the balance of happy clients. I believe in giving current clients the attentiveness and creative energy they deserve. It’s much harder to do that if you bite off more than you can chew, especially when you’re a one-lady band like myself.

It may mean turning down businesses. Except, it leaves room for the like-minded ones and more momentum for current projects. 

Work Smarter, Not Harder

I started this journey to make my life simpler while still doing what I love. Yes, there are extra hours you have to put in sometimes. But working more hours doesn’t necessarily make progress. 

Instead of putting in extra energy, get smarter about your time. 

  • Measure your results, rather than hours
  • Slice your time into manageable bites
  • Establish routines so your brain learns to carry out projects more efficiently
  • Track time to streamline projects and work in intervals to avoid shifting focusing. This method is known as the Pomodoro technique

Remember, we’re creatures of habit. The more routine you create, the less you have to think about the task. 

TLT was only meant to be a part-time gig. My goal was to limit the hours I worked. Yet things change quickly when you’re doing what you love on your terms. 

Overall I work fewer hours than before. When you work smarter, you accomplish far more. The key is to find a structure that suits your business, clients and schedule. I alternate four day weeks with six days weeks and start my workdays later when I’m more creative.

Here’s what a day in the life of a copywriter looks like. 

one-year-in-business

Outsource Help

All content and website work is done internally, yet some jobs need outsourcing. Accounting is one of them. 

You wouldn’t trust just anyone to write your website’s content, so why trust someone inexperienced with numbers to keep accounts in order? So, I fired myself for all things tax and numbers related (except invoicing) and outsourced a Perth-based business to takeover. One less thing to worry about, thanks to Sucess Tax Professionals!

I outsource editing work too. Although I edit everything myself first, it pays to have an external editor to work their magic. Pauline, a professional editor, writer and SEO specialist, also helps manage my site. 

One of the biggest challenges working for yourself is not having people in-house to bounce ideas off. I’ve always been better working on my own, but going solo was still an adjustment. 

Those creative chats or second opinions are valuable. Being creative too, my husband is my sounding board and second set of eyes before sending copy to my editor. It’s also a good idea to speak to other business owners. 

Word of Mouth is More Valuable than Advertising

Many businesses benefit from Google Ad campaigns and social media advertising. But you don’t need to spend thousands to gain clients. 

Although I invested some funds into Google My Business in the first six months (less than $300, my clients come via word of mouth and from actively sharing my published content on relevant platforms. 

Happy clients naturally spread the word for you. But engaging with businesses you’d like to work with online and getting your content out there puts your business at the forefront of potential client’s minds when they’re ready to use your services. 

Review Your Prices

When you first start, chances are you don’t know what you’re worth. 

Overheads are kept low working from home and prices are competitive. My work ethic is also client and success-driven over cost-driven. 

The truth is, you’re likely worth a lot more than you charge. Make sure you review your prices every 6-12 months to accommodate. Many sole-traders absorb these expenses to avoid increasing costs to clients. Nominal increases are part of business though. After all, expenses go up each year. 

What does TLT charge? Read about website copywriting rates

Find Ways to Feed Your Creative Soul

Before my job involved writing five days a week, creative writing was my outlet. My career started as a music journalist at the age of 16 writing for local and international magazines in my spare time for over 10 years. 

Now I write for my clients and myself, I find other ways to create. Creativity allows space to experiment, express and enjoy spontaneous fun. It’s essential to make time for it. 

A few creative favourites of mine are:

  • DIY projects
  • Repurposing 
  • Cooking
  • Gardening 
  • Exploring abandoned places to photograph
abandoned-places-WA-one-year-in-business

Creative projects also help stimulate productivity and boost happiness.

Australian-Wide Business

Successful businesses don’t just happen, they have to be nurtured and planned.

Thanks to the support of my clients, TLT became a national business in less than 12 months. 

My clients are found in:

  • Perth
  • Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Adelaide
  • Australian regional areas

Running a business isn’t always an easy ride. Fortunately, the challenges and experiences are invaluable. There are still lessons to be learnt and milestones to achieve, but I couldn’t be happier with what I’ve built and the copywriting service I offer my clients. 

Thanks to my family and friends for their constant encouragement. My clients for entrusting me to help them and everyone who’s referred people to me or taken the time to read or share my work. 

Special thanks to:

~ Dad, for his ongoing support and business advice

~ My husband Rob for backing my decision and being an amazing silent business partner 

~ Pauline, my mentor and friend for believing in me and her editing and SEO magic

From the beginning, these people had no hesitation or doubt TLT would be a success. I appreciate every one of you!

To celebrate one year in business, I’m giving away AC/DC’s Rock or Bust Official Tour Book. The book is a limited collectible edition that covers the full extent of the band’s 2015 tour.

Winner will be drawn Tuesday 1st December and announced later on socials and via email.

Sign up to my newsletter below for your chance to win AC/DC’s first official tour book.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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