How to be the boss of your own business
Posted on October 17 2018
At Fox & Moon HQ I often get asked about how I got started with my business and what tips I have for someone who is thinking of becoming their own boss. I try to respond to as many questions as I can, but I thought that writing it down into a fun blog would be a great way to help as many of you as possible.
I've taken some of your burning questions and turned it into a Q&A style interview. If you've been dreaming of starting your own business for a while I hope that some of this advice inspires you to give it a shot!
Can you tell us how you got started?
Wind the clock back and I was working in hospitality. A few years ago I met Nick (my very own Chef and now husband!) and for a while we divided our time between jobs in the UK and France.
After giving birth to Harper-Rose in August 2015, I found myself on maternity leave and the post baby slim down began.
As I tried to get back to my pre-baby shape, I searched for a food planner/diary to keep myself on track. I wanted something where I could be super organised with my meal planning - which would help me tackle my total baby brain!
No planners were really catching my eye as they were all a little bit too cheesy in my opinion. I decided to make my own by designing the layout and a super snarky front cover. I shared photos of my original planner on Instagram and it turned out that several other ladies out there shared my sarcastic sense of humour and asked for a copy.
During baby nap times, I began printing made-to-order planners at my kitchen table and the rest, as they say, is history!!
Who are you influenced by?
I’m all about the Insta scroll…
For general motivation (and let’s be honest, we all need it from time to time!) I enjoy @bossbabe.inc because everything they post really speaks to me. Their feed is all about female entrepreneurs and women doing what they love and I'm a sucker for things like that. It’s very empowering.
Who is your ultimate #girlboss inspiration?
I really love following Lucy Mecklenburgh - @luckymeck1 - who was on TOWIE. She now has her own fitness brand and an online shop called Lucy’s Boutique.
I like her posts because she seems really genuine and shares snippets of her real life. She strongly believes in the 80/20 method in life (80% healthy, hard work and 20% splurge and relax), which is a realistic balance. She doesn’t pretend to be anything she’s not and I like her attitude.
Anyone who enjoys burgers and a prosecco after a workout is a good role model in my book… Life is all about compromise and staying happy!
I’ve noticed that she often likes my posts on Instagram which always makes my day because she is just such a bae!!
What 2 bits of advice would you give someone who wants to start their own business?
Number 1: Be prepared to work harder than your 9 -5
I genuinely don’t think people realise how hard working for yourself is, but you will work more than you have ever done in your life. There is an assumption that working for yourself is super cushty, but actually behind the scenes small business owners are working around the clock to make ends meet and make it happen.
The work never stops and there are so many different pieces to the jigsaw puzzle that is running your own business!
Number 2: Really believe in your product or service
To me, this is everything. You have to believe 100% in what you do as this is at the heart and soul of your business. You should not be willing to compromise on what you do. My products are my own and I strongly believe in their value. I use and promote them myself and I do not rely on other businesses to promote them for me - I must be my own biggest champion because I know I am the best at what I do and can offer my audience.
What things do you need to start a business?
First, you need a strong idea. Second, map out a plan of how you’re going to do it and then just get started!
I didn’t have a business plan when I first started out, but as I’ve gone along I’ve discovered that you need to be very flexible and test out your ideas and services. You will constantly be reviewing and making tweaks. Changes are going to be inevitable based on the feedback you’re going to get.
Build your audience base and focus on providing them with what they want. This will take time and a lot of research and getting things wrong. If you are genuine, your following will grow over time, but it won’t be an overnight thing.
What’s a typical day in the life of you running your own business?
A typical day starts with Harper, who is three, waking me up, a strong black coffee whilst getting the dog out, getting us all dressed and out the door.
Harper has just started pre-school and this involves a 1.5 hour commute there and back to my office, which is a bit of a nightmare!!
In the office I don’t even turn my computer on until I have made another coffee and put my music on (it is like my day won’t be right if I don’t start this way)! I then get all the orders printed out ready for packing, reply to my emails and make sure the orders are ready for collection whilst bopping away to 90s R&B or Radio 1.
I regularly have deliveries to deal with, orders to place, new designs to work on, invoices to pay and this is all in a day’s work. I aim to leave the office around 4pm, collect Harper and spend some time together before she goes to bed. Then I sit on the sofa with a glass of something and do my social media whilst watching TV.
Any tips on how to use Instagram for business?
You can have so much fun with Instagram and my account really reflects me as a person as well as my business. People seem to really relate to that more than just selling products like an online catalogue. I can express myself in pictures, quotes, captions besides my work and I love the creative side of it.
Here are my top tips:
- Set up a business account
This is good because you get to see the analytics behind your posts and extra features that are really useful. You can see what is working and what is not.
- Have an idea of how you want it to look
It’s important to not just post willy nilly. You have to have a theme or an underlying look to your grid as Instagram is visual after all. People love a pretty page. Plus, you want your brand and Instagram theme to have that consistency so that your followers see your posts and recognise that they are yours.
- Post consistently
You’ve got to show up every day and let your followers know that you are there.
- Get involved with Instagram Stories
Let people see another side of your business by using Instagram Stories. You can share the fun side and the less than perfect side and it really helps engage with your audience and show the human element to your business.
- Act with integrity
Lastly this is a biggie. Be honest. Be yourself and engage. Everything you do should be genuine. When possible, reply to as many comments and DMs as you can. Answer questions and get involved in conversations in the comments. Say thanks: like and share people’s images they feature you in.
Don’t play the follow unfollow game - because who has time?! - and obviously do not buy followers.
Quick fire questions:
If you had to choose between a life without coffee or a life without prosecco, which one would you ditch?
I would ditch coffee because what’s life without a few bubbles…?!
If you had to choose between going on Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice, which one would you pick?
That one’s tough. I’d probably choose Dragons’ Den because Theo Paphitis owns Rymans Stationery so I’d like to think he wouldn’t be too cruel!
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
People who don’t do their job properly! I have zero patience with that.
What’s in your handbag right now?
Numerous notebooks (of course). A small pug teddy. An unread magazine from my holiday (over a month ago!)
A clean pair of Harper’s pants, socks and trousers in case she has an accident.
Two bling biros. Two pairs of sunglasses, two satsumas (why?!), hand sanitisers, perfume samples, my purse, a Chanel lipstick, three sets of keys and a lolly pop stick (sadly, no lolly).
Well, that was embarrassing… The handbag of a working mum!
If you weren’t running Fox & Moon, what would you be doing?
Ooh, this one is easy! If I didn’t have Fox & Moon I would be running my own deli. Anything that’s related to food and wine would be perfect as that’s my original love.
I hope that sharing my story with you helps those of you who want to start their own business. Believe in yourself, believe in your product and the hard work will all be worth it!
Are you dreaming of being your own boss? I'd love to know what you're planning... Leave me a comment or share with someone you know who is thinking of starting their own business.