This post is brought to you by The Huntington National Bank and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own
This month, my business officially turns ONE. Last year around this time, I threw caution to the wind and decided to open my cocktail infusion kit line right before the holiday season online and locally at holiday shows.
I figured it would be a slow takeoff and I could learn as I go. WRONG! It snowballed quickly and it was like running full speed on a treadmill. Obviously, I am beyond grateful for the quick start, but it was not expected.
By January, business finally slowed down a bit and I was able to organize my finances, take time to learn some online business management tools, and enroll in local courses for women entrepreneurs. Busy season is from May to December, so I had quite a few months to get back on track.
2019 has been a year of change, growth and education, both personally and professionally. When you start a business, there are so many paths to take and decisions to make; it really takes a lot out of you.
Since I’m the sole owner, I have to make so many important decisions at the snap of a finger…truly a real-life choose your own adventure! I’ve learned so many nuggets of information that have helped me survive this year and I thought I would share some tips for those of you starting a business or just getting a handle on your personal finances.
It doesn’t have to be perfect.
It was spring of 2018 when the idea for my business popped into my mind. I wanted to create a way for people to enjoy their favorite cocktails from home that was easy, healthy and a natural alternative to what was already on the market.
Once I started to put the pouches together using dehydrated fruits and herbs, I was so set on making everything perfect. I was scared to launch until every element was perfect.
But here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be perfect. The website photos can improve; your packaging can change…just push play and go for it!
Organization is essential!
Document everything, make spreadsheets and keep your finances in check. If you don’t have time in the moment, put everything in a box or keep notes on your phone.
I am so happy that Huntington Bank makes it so easy to keep my finances organized and they offer so many helpful tools. Also, I know I can quickly visit the bank with questions and concerns. Their new Huntington Heads UpⓇ feature sends me an alert (message and data rates may apply) if my spending is going over the limit I set in a certain category. I allot amounts for items like promotional materials, advertising and supplies. I like to check in weekly to see how I’m doing.
I cherish my special time with Liam. We went apple picking this month!
Self-care is essential
Aside from finances, organizing your time is also essential. I could easily work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week…but that isn’t feasible for my family, health or anything. I will admit, my gray hair is coming in MUCH faster after this year.
As with any job, there has to be a work/life balance for sanity! Since the three older kids are at school during the day, I set limits to when I’m working and Liam and I do fun activities as well.
Block timing is a game changer for anyone! Set time frames for tasks and then move to the next. Set boundaries, such as 30 minutes for email every morning, 25 minutes for lunch, 5 networking events a month, one hour for finances each week, and stick to them. Unplug after a certain time at night and allow quality time for yourself and family.
My husband and I got away for a long weekend to California! Much needed after this crazy year.
You can’t do it all.
In a dream world, I would do every event that I hear about, especially since local events are amazing for exposure. At first I was booking my schedule up way too much and I realized I was burning myself out. Leading into the holiday season, I realized that I need some weekends off to unwind and breathe!
My husband, Ricky, and I just took our first vacation without the kids since our honeymoon. We actually saved for our vacation by using the Huntington Savings Goal Getter℠ tool. We set a goal amount and when we wanted to reach that goal; Savings Goal Getter showed us how much we needed to save each week to meet our goal on time. And you know what? We did! It felt so hard to leave the business and the kids, but it was so worth it! Remember to cherish the relationships you have and nurture them.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. I realized that certain events could be so busy that I need another set of hands, so I’ve found friends and family willing to help. Social media isn’t my forte, so I am looking to outsource. Focus on what you are great at and let others help with what you aren’t.
Pay yourself for the time!
With blogging, finances are so different than an actual business! I set aside funds for taxes, but most earnings are my own for personal expenses or to reinvest. With a business, it’s different!
For the first few months, I wasn’t paying myself for my time. Once I started taking courses and learning more about breakeven prices or product cost, I factored in my income to that amount. While it’s not making me rich, I do have a little income to put away for my personal financial goals…or groceries.
When it comes to balancing my personal and business finances, I am still learning. I realize I can’t reinvest everything into my business, but it’s so hard not to! Over the summer, I entered two different Shark Tank style competitions to earn money for my business. While I didn’t win the big prize in the final one, I still walked away with $1,000 for to help with expenses. It was a lifesaver!
Moving forward, I’m looking into finding investors and different ways to help grow my business. It’s a whole new world! Luckily, I know I can always turn to Huntington Bank if I decide to apply for any loans (loans subject to credit application and approval). My banker explained many different routes I can go.