Running a successful business can be exciting and so fulfilling but it definitely doesn’t just get handed to you. I know, personally, that there are a lot of hurdles to get over before things are smooth sailing… for the most part.
When I first decided to become a makeup artist, I think I was a little naive and really didn’t think about the logistics of running a business. For me, it was about creating art, in my own way. I never thought it would be as successful as it has become. This was my first mistake!
I Didn’t Prepare a Business Plan
I really should have thought about some sort of business plan. I literally went into the industry with my eyes closed. I had never run my own business and had never had to invoice my own clients, take care of my own admin etc. I didn’t think about the costs, the usage expenditure of my products, travel… the list goes on and on!
In hindsight I really should have sat down with someone and said ‘Look, I want to start a small business. I am clueless. Give me some pointers!’
I was lucky to have a husband who was very clued up on business and was able to guide me but at the same time…it really wasn’t his job to be giving me daily advice on what I should be doing.
I had goals but I didn’t write them down. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but I sort of just winged it.
Not having a clear vision of what I wanted the first, second and third year really made things chaotic. I really felt like I fumbled about and was only lucky that I was landing on my feet a lot. I was clever enough to set up the business as a Sole Trader with HMRC , so at least I did that!
A clear understanding of what I was looking for out of my business would have helped me immensely.
I highly recommend seeking some sort of business advisor if you are serious about your business…or even taking a small course in business!
I Didn’t Organise My Accounting
My next mistake was not immediately setting up a bank account for the business. My husband and I shared an account and in the beginning, because I wasn’t bringing in a lot of money, I thought it wasn’t a big deal to keep things separate.
Before I knew it, business was taking off and I still hadn’t sorted out our accounts. Trying to account for everything became a nightmare.
I didn’t stipulate on invoices (at least I invoiced) that they should put the invoice number when making payments and didn’t think about cheques at all and the fact they are hard to trace (they would go in and I didn’t know how much I had been paid for and by whom!).
I now have a separate bank account. My internet, phone, cleaning, petrol and all business costs go through it. I don’t allow cheques to be sent to me if I can help it. All invoices paid must state the invoice number.
I didn’t have an accountant as I didn’t see the point initially, but once the business took off I realised the importance of it and finally caved last year. Ever since my accountant has helped me immensely! I am no longer scared of accountants and am actually meeting with a new one for coffee today who deals specifically with artists. ie. She will know how scatty I am and will hold my hand and guide me the way I need it!
I Didn’t Sort Out My Paperwork
This one is a killer! Are you ready?
I used my emails as my paper trail! I thought ‘Well, my server backs everything up, my emails are saved on my laptop too, what’s the point in printing or saving things anywhere else?’
BIG, HUGE, MISTAKE!
I lost every single contact email I had! My laptop was reformatted at the Apple store. I didn’t back up my emails. I thought they were saved where my email domain was online. WRONG! The server only saved the last three months.
I lost every single contact I have ever had. Every confirmation of weddings, trials, invoicing, booking forms etc.
What I thought was a solid back up totally wasn’t. I literally had to trawl through my old phone for contacts and emails (luckily I hadn’t reformatted that as well).
This sent my last season into a stress overdrive because I only had contact names in my google calendar for weddings with no contact details on them.
My husband stepped up to the plate and changed my email address over to be backed up by Google, which was great because it saved everything there and it was a business account so I had extra perks. The email address stayed the same, but Google was now my hard drive .
I also had to find a way to get clients to sign booking forms which weren’t just paper that needed to be printed or mailed to me. So we changed that system as well.
Now, I am a pedant when it comes to my back up. When I meet someone for a trial…I get all details again, even though I have it on the booking form which sits on our server, is emailed to my hubby and the client. I ensure I have the exact address in my trial book on where we are going as well as being in Google Calendar. It is all there! I will never get stitched up by technology again!
There were plenty more hurdles that I went through when building my business but these are the things that really caused me some trouble and unnecessary stress. I often blame it on the fact I am an artist, but really, if I had someone give me this useful advice, artist or not…it would have helped me immensely!
What have been the main mistakes you’ve made whilst growing your makeup business? Have you had any near misses that you’ve learned from. Hindsight is a wonderful – what would you do differently if you were beginning over again? Drop us a comment below, or come join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.