It’s been nearly a year since being full time in my business Thirty Five The Studio. If you didn’t know then, hey I run a social media agency called Thirty Five The Studio where I help female-led or owned businesses create aesthetically beautiful but strategically led brands online. I set up Thirty Five The Studio during my time at university as part of my final major project and I decided to carry it on afterwards rather than going through the process of searching for employment. And boy, am I glad I did. I have learnt SO much since going full time so I thought I would go through the lessons I have learnt since setting up my business.
I haven’t really spoken about my business too much on my blog or my Instagram, because I have kept the quite separate but if you would be interested in knowing more about it and the behind the scenes of it then please let me know!
So as a little back story – I started offering content creation services to businesses for their social media pages. I actually did this during lockdown when brands reached out to me on my Instagram as they couldn’t get into studios, which spurred the idea of turning it into a business idea. I worked with some lovely small businesses during this time for a discounted rate to build up some experience. Then during my final year of university I worked towards launching Thirty Five The Studio as a content agency. After finishing university I slowly realised that it was the social media element that really was my strong point. So in June 2021 I went full time in Thirty Five The Studio as a social media agency offering social media management, branding, content creation and strategy.
I think it is pretty rule of thumb as a small business owner that to expect to get any money out of your business you have to put money into it. I knew from forecasting during my uni research a rough guide of how much I would have to put into my business when starting, but nobody really talks about some of the other expenses. For example I have just spent a fair amount of money on having a brand shoot done (images in this blog post) which I am SO happy with, but it wasn’t cheap. However with that investment I then may be able to justify a price increase if it attracts new customers.
But this isn’t just relating to money. But you also have to invest time and effort as well. A lot of people have the perception that if you are self-employed you can pick and choose when you work. This is partially true, however you also have to put a big shift in to get to a point where you can be more selective.
Guess who didn’t do this… In all honesty, my first year of being self-employed (2019/20) I didn’t earn enough to pay tax as I was at university. So going into the first year full-time of Thirty Five The Studio I didn’t know what to expect income wise, especially as it wasn’t a full tax year as I started full-time in June. However I am very grateful that I exceeded my own expectations in how much it would take off – but that just mean’t I had to take a huge chunk of March’s income to put towards my tax bill. Lesson learned… put 20% away each month instead.
I hands down don’t think I would be in the place I am today without some of the connections and friends I have made through my business in the last year. I am so very grateful to some of the people I now speak to on a daily basis. And the best thing is, is having people to talk to who understand everything as they are in the same industry. Viewing people in the same industry as competition can be a very toxic view point, because using this community can bring you more opportunities, skills and knowledge than without it.
In the last year I have realised the amount of organisation it takes to run a business smoothly. And I will be so honest and say I am not at that point but then I also don’t think any business owner will say they are no matter what point of their journey they are at. But one thing I have realised is that often as a business owner, something will happen which you need to do – whether that’s a quick change to a piece of content, or sending over an email. And this happens to me on the daily, and I never write it down. Moral of the story, write it down so you don’t forget or you will regret it and spend time procrastinating when you can’t remember it.
Since going full time I have been part of a coworking club, where there is also a book club and it’s really pushed me to read books that are more business related (I usually stick to a good romance book). And one I read recently was all about ‘not doing the thing’. In other words, not being too had on yourself and working out your own measure of productivity. It really opened my eyes because I am very much someone who thrives off of a structure. I quite literally plan my day hour by hour on Google Calendar. And without it I know that I wouldn’t be able to stay on top of everything. But what the book reminded me was that as a business owner you have to be open to the unexpected.
Whether it’s a message from a client which needs addressing ASAP, a call or something that hasn’t quite gone the way you thought. There will be things that crop up which might happen during you day that you also have to be prepared for.
Ultimately, I have learnt more than I can even comprehend into one blog post throughout the last year but if you want to follow my journey then head over to my business’ Instagram @thirtyfivethestudio to follow along.
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