Four years ago, I didn’t know if running my own business would work but I wanted to try. Looking back, I didn’t have any ideas on what I needed to have in place to start my new business, how to find clients or what to charge.

So, I took a leap of faith.

Since 2014 I’ve worked with over 50 clients.

Some have been short-term, and others are still with me today. I’ve learned something from each and every one of my clients and I’ve really enjoyed being able to help them, and see their business grow.

Over the past four years, I’ve changed and refined my services as my skills have developed and I’ve acquired new specialisms, such as building WordPress websites, Blog Management, Email Marketing and Social Media Management.

If you’d told me then that I’d be doing 1-1 training with women in business, offering webinars and speaking to an audience at networking events – I’d have laughed!

So, what have I learnt?

Networking with women is amazing

Building a tribe is a great way to ensure that you have people around you who can support you, and I’ve certainly found mine by networking with other businesswomen. I don’t believe I would be where I am now without the support of VIP VA, Aspiring Business Women and Love LBG behind me.

It’s taught me that it’s ok to ask for help.

I think when we’re newly self-employed it can feel like everyone is your competition and asking for help can make you look inexperienced. The truth is that there is no real competition as we’re all different and have something unique to offer. We might share the same target audience with other business owners, but we attract our clients by being who we really are.

I’ve learned that it’s important to be yourself. I have no magic formula but I’ve just been me, and it has worked!

It’s also important to have the right systems in place from the start

This is something I’ve blogged about often over the past few years, but it’s something I do strongly believe is crucial for setting your business up for success from day one. Listening to other business owners and networking is a good way of learning from the mistakes of others, so you don’t have to.

Every one of us started from scratch, and many of us faced the same obstacles along the way.

It’s why asking for help is a good thing. What you might think is embarrassing and ‘you should know’ often isn’t that obvious, and most of us wish we’d asked our networking contacts much sooner than we did.

You can have a read of my blog on starting a new business here for some of the advice I wish I’d had behind me from day one.

One surprising thing that has helped me with my business processes is GDPR. Yes, the dreaded acronym that seems to terrify everyone when you mention it, but it really isn’t that scary!

GDPR has given me the chance to review every aspect of my business and make changes to all areas that will make things more efficient for myself, my clients and my associates. As a result, I’ve decided to implement regular reviews going forward.

You can’t do everything yourself

There are so many tasks involved in being a business owner that you can easily spend so much time on your business rather than in it that you end up getting nowhere fast.

I started to outsource my marketing and social media when I couldn’t really afford it, but I am so glad that I did. Most of my work now comes from social media marketing, and it has given me back the time to work with my clients, doing what I love.

It’s not easy to work with kids at home and having childcare is essential.

It’s also important to be able to manage your time well, work around your family commitments and have some strategies in place for when the kids are home poorly, and you still have work to do!

I’d like to round up what I’ve learned over the last four years with one piece of advice I really hope you’ll take on board straight away.

You are worth more than you think.

So, set your rates higher and don’t be scared that you won’t get clients. You might be surprised that you get more customers as a result because people can tell when you value yourself, it shows in what you do. So go on, review those prices now and let me know how it goes!