5 things I’ve learned

posted in: HD Words | 1

It’s five years since I started HD Words.

Five whole years!

Happy Birthday candles

It appears that I have managed to be one of the 50% of small businesses that are still going after 5 years, which is nice.

Big thanks to all my customers and contacts for helping me get here!

Huge thanks to my husband and daughter for supporting me along the way, and my friends for being there while I groused about lean patches, and worried about too many big projects landing at once. We got here together.

So, as a mark of 5 years trading, I have decided to write a series of blogs (actually, 5 blogs) around a theme of 5.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned

1 – Imposter Syndrome is real, especially for a sole-trader, starting a new business. I’m mostly over it, with regard to my writing, but every so often I still feel like I’m faking it as a business woman. I have had to learn that while there are always some people who can do things better than me, there is no-one who can do everything I do better than me.

2 – Who you know is important.  Many of my best clients come from referrals by friends, colleagues and clients themselves.  And I hope the reverse is also true, that the people to whom I refer my contacts also benefit from the exchange. I expected to be cold calling, or cold emailing, but I’ve not had to.  Networking has been the most important channel for me to find customers – and also make new friends.

3 – Knowing my limits. Making sure that I balance my time, my effort, and my down-time to be happier and healthier.  Also, handing off the things that I can’t do, or that stress me out.  This year, for the first time, I have engaged an accountant.  The relief of not doing my own tax return has been immense!

4 – Perfection is unattainable. There will be typos, even if it is literally my job to write properly, without typos. Sorry!  There is always something that slips through. Let’s pretend it’s like a Persian rug, where the error is deliberate, to prove that only God is capable of perfection.

collection of punctuation marks

5 – Writing is the easy part. The 80-20 rule states that 20% of the effort goes into 80% of the work, and the remaining 80% of the effort goes into the 20% that’s left of the work.  This is editing, proofreading, finding images, etc, in my trade, not the actual writing.  For some people, the writing itself is the hard part, which seems strange to me, until I remember that I have no clue how to fix a misbehaving engine, or design an impactful logo, or compose a memorable sonata, or create a wedding dress from scratch. Kudos to you if you can do any of those things!

So, who knows what I will learn in the next five years. No doubt it will be different, and interesting.  My initial vision of my business turns out to have been a little different from the reality, in only good ways, mostly because my clients have been more varied and interesting than I could have dreamed, and become friends, in some instances. 

So, that’s Blog 1. My next blog will examine some of those clients in more detail, looking at the clients from whom I’ve learned the most, over the last 5 years.

  1. John Cook

    Point 3 – Getting an accountant. Tax Law, particularly VAT, is an illogical nightmare. The right one, will not only do the organisation and the sums, but will make sure you are claiming everything you are entitled to – in addition to pay the night amount of tax! PS I am *not* and accountant 🙂

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