5 Things I Wish I Knew, Before I Started My Business

I’ve always quite fancied having a mentor or someone I could talk to, who was in the place I wanted to be with their career. Almost all of my permanent jobs ( before my freelance days) have been wildly male-dominated and very much lacking in support and upskilling.

As a result, in my career, I have taken it upon myself to self-develop and learn strategies for business, marketing, and a balanced life. This route is fraught with mistake making and much time can be lost to this… That doesn’t mean I don’t value it… in fact, I do GREATLY! It’s just a little bit harder! My advice is to get access to a  mentor or coach who can help develop your career and lifestyle outlook. Choose carefully!!! In the meantime here are 5 pieces of business advice I bloomin’ wish I’d been told before starting my business.

  1. Choose your Tribe!

Have you figured out who your tribe is yet? OK, right now you know your product is targeted to a platform, let’s say Instagram. …. But what type of person on Instagram – there are so many millions of users within so many industries and niches! By choosing a tribe to direct your product/service towards you will be able to work smarter and leaner. For example, you could use Stock imagery for beauty bloggers… Trust me you will thank me later when you start targeting your key persona’s with social media ads, Google campaigns and messaging. Choose your Tribe and love them hard!

I was guilty (as many of us can be) of trying the Pokemon approach of ‘Gotta Catch ‘em all’ when I first started out consulting 6 years ago. Yes, I just referenced Pokemon. I was so eager to get new business I thought I just wanted to attract everyone. I soon learned my lesson after I attracted clients who didn’t get my process and approach or weren’t ready for my types of ideas. I put myself in a position where I had to invest my resources and time in the wrong type of client who was never going to work out.

The worst thing you can do is fall into the ‘I’ll take on any project for any type of client’. This is the reason for many startups failure and will have you heading for burnout for sure. When we are just starting out we want to keep our options open, but this can be a fatal business decision. NAIL THAT NICHE to uncover your digital ecosystem.


  1. Outsource

Solopreneurs I’m talking to you! Quite often though it pains me to admit it – us self-employed guys and gals, running our own business are often control freaks. Seriously, we need to kick that habit into shape and invite others to work with us. I’m not saying go hire a big team – consider the areas you might need support in…

For example, you might be a great copywriter but your design skills are a little rusty. As soon as you can afford to outsource your design work. It not only frees up your time to run the business itself but it adds another voice to the discussion.

For me, I’m not a fan of the day to day content scheduling – I prefer to stick to the strategy and creative concepts of my business like I do with my clients – so I employed a VA to do that for me, for a damn good price.  It freed me up to focus on new business and help me develop my new course (COMING SOON BTW).

“If you want to run a business that has the capacity to endure – outsource your weaknesses and play to your strengths.”


  1. ENGAGE

If you’re looking for business advice – perhaps you could enroll a trusted mentor or business coach? Working alone not only zaps your social skills it can also lead you on the wrong path  – sometimes we need some gentle coaxing and motivation.

If you can’t afford a business coach right now (though their value is never ending) check out a couple of really helpful FB communities I know!

Blog and Business BFF’s – Run by Melyssa Griffin a badass place for specific platform digital courses right now!

Digital Nomad Girls – If you’re a girl looking to travel whilst you work this is the place to get inspiration for how to and where to go!

Instabuzz – Perfect if you’re a creative maker and looking to set up on Instagram

Also, if you want to get out into the real world then there are a host of coworking spaces popping up across every city and even rural locations around the world. I pop into my local Impact Hub in Birmingham every now and then and it’s a great space for meeting people and talking over ideas. Coworking spaces are also a natural way to network without the pressure of the usual ‘networking breakfasts ‘ we all hate. Except for the croissants… I’ll keep the croissants.


  1. Objectives

It is very easy to rush into launching a new brand, create content for your latest campaign and write a blog post. JUST STOP RIGHT THERE! Objective setting is one of the best business pieces of business advice I have. It sounds simple but even the best of us fall at this hurdle sometimes when we just want to keep the momentum running.

My favourite exercise is to create an ‘objective hierarchy’ and work my way down by answering the following types of questions;

  • What are your business objectives?
  • What are your brand objectives?
  • What is the objective of this campaign?
  • What is the objective of this twitter post?
  • What is the point of sharing this image on Instagram?
  • Why did I publish that Blog post?
  • Why did I attend that event?

This exercise will keep you on message, on brand and helps avoid wasting time creating invaluable content/services (on or offline)


  1. Organise yourself!

There seems to be 100’s of techniques to get you organised. Really you only need to use a few key ones, otherwise, organisation can fast become a method of procrastination.

It really depends on you, how you work and whereabouts in the stage of business you are.

If you are in the business ideation stage and you’re working from home – Bullet journaling might be the right direction for you. It provides a daily to-do list routine and a place to keep motivated. However,  if you try to take this time-consuming method into a busy workday, you’re unlikely to keep up with your workload.

If you’re time poor then a good bet is to trial some project management software …. I use Basecamp as it’s really affordable and I can use it across all areas of my business, with all my clients and when I’m outsourcing projects.

Whether you’re working from a coworking space, your house or the beach – get your routine down. Plan in breaks, time to cook food, walk the dog. I find blocking time-out at the start of the week and then re-evaluating on a daily basis is a good setup for me. It’s ok to change your course a little and be flexible but try not to just do the things you love. The boring things like finance, paying renewals will come back and bite you in the ass!

I hope you enjoyed my 5 things I wish I knew before starting my business. I learn more and more every day and I’d love to hear your lessons and advice from other potential business owners and startups. Shout me up in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter here!

Sarah Seaton
hello@sarah-seaton.com