04 May Happy First Birthday to us!
Happy First Birthday to us!
It’s been just over one year since I started up my (not so little) business Starfish Admin Services last April and what a rollercoaster ride it has been!
I’m so proud of what I have built up in this last 12 months. There have been times when I have laughed, I have cried, I have been totally exhausted through working so hard at setting it up and I have been exhilarated at new clients and what we have achieved. In fact, I have probably felt every emotion there is across the spectrum and I have come out the other side smiling!
I wanted to take some time in this blog to look back over Starfish’s first year and also look to the future and see what the next year will bring!
The Greatest Achievement
To put it simply it has been maintaining a business in the current climate, not only to maintain it but also to watch it grow and prosper. I have made so many new business friends through networking and these friends have helped me hugely with setting up, running and moving my business forward.
It’s been a joy to learn about my clients and what challenges they have faced. Being able to help them and more importantly save them money is such a great achievement.
Since the launch last year, I have grown so much as a person, through learning and networking and I have high hopes for the future. People buy from people so lots of my business has been won through meeting me and getting to know me, I am passionate about what I do and my business.
An example of one of my biggest achievements was when I took on a client who was employing a full-time PA and by sitting down for a meeting with me, I could tell her that if she used my services they could save £90,000.00 and prove that the work would still be at the same standard!
The Greatest Challenge
When you make the decision to start a business, you lay your life bare for all to see, you invest every little bit of you into it and that determination to succeed runs through your veins. I have loved seeing my little business grow into a thriving company but it has left me open; open for judgement and questions about me, about my past and what I did before and want to do in the future, and this makes me slightly uncomfortable.
Luckily, being such a determined person, means that I can look past the challenges that I have making things slightly harder, they only make me push myself more, working late at night to ensure that I’m doing the best for my clients and best for me too.
What I would do differently:
There are a few things that I would have done differently and I have learnt a lot since I launched.
I needed to use social media better when I launched, the last year has taught me just how important it is to grow your business and build the brand. Linked to this is the Starfish website; what you say about you and your brand online is key to having a successful business.
I would have more confidence in my ability as a successful business women and I would tell that slightly younger Julia of last year that she CAN DO IT!
Lessons you have learnt about business and starting up a company:
However, as good as we all know Networking is, if I’m honest, as a Virtual Assistant, sometimes I feel like what I do is never as ‘good’ as the people I’m speaking to. Meeting lots of different people is daunting and frightening to put yourself out there!
So how did I get over this challenge? I can tell you, almost a year into my business that the key to getting over my issues was to stop assuming. Do not judge the book by the cover, we can assume something, but until questions are asked, we don’t get to know the person behind the image. Many people do and therefore why, I think, they miss out on opportunities and as my little story above taught me, you never know who they know.
I used to turn up to these Networking events and look around, feeling like I was holding myself back, why should I not lead the group? why should I not pitch my business?
So, this year, that is what I am going to do!
Year Two Hopes and Ambitions
In the next 12 month’s I would like to build Starfish to at least another 20 clients and take the business into the next level of a medium sized work team.
Starfish has big plans for the long term, including launching nationally to provide services to the whole of the UK and employing a team of up to 10 people to manage this. In the short term, this year I am concentrating on growing my brand through social media channels and more networking events. I am currently coordinating an exhibition to target trades people and I’m working with various associates to help me grow.
Setting up Starfish is without a doubt one of the best things that I have done in my life and I would not change this for the world. I am proud of what my business and I have become and I am very much looking forward to year two! BRING IT ON!