I cannot believe I have been running a business for over five years... FIVE YEARS! Lightbulb + Star has changed in so many ways in that time, and I thought it would be great to share some of the thoughts and processes that I've gone through that have gotten me to where I am today.
A brand re-fresh
So, why a brand re-fresh? Lightbulb + Star wasn't going in the direction that I wanted it to. I hadn't thought of a clear path for my business, but over quarantine, I decided to really focus on my business and what I could offer people - and a chunk of that came down to branding. The previous branding was done by the fab Sans Souci Creative, and they did such an amazing job, the only problem was me. I wasn't sure of what I wanted at the time. Back then I wanted to sell physical products and focus a lot more on copywriting, as well as image editing. I wasn't clear on what my mission was for the business and that translated into branding that wasn't focused on any goal - which was completely my fault.
After a difficult and scary year (thank you Covid!), I thought it would be financially best for me to not invest in a brand designer for two reasons: firstly I didn't have the budget, and secondly, I was now inundated with LOADS of time off, so I thought I could give this a crack myself, as I had designed KCFreelancing from scratch and built the website too. And honestly, a day spent on Canva was all I needed.
I really thought about how I wanted Lightbulb + Star to look. I wanted it to look welcoming but professional, a little bit of my personality but not exclusively feminine, and I also wanted a bit of colour too. After hours and hours of scouring through Creative Market and Canva on the lookout for fonts and how to best pair them, colours, and how I could design graphics and different layouts for different elements, I am finally where I am now with Lightbulb + Star, and I am very happy with it all, and dare I say a little proud because I know I did it!
Looking back at five years of business
I have learnt so many things over the years from running a business. Some of the lessons are little things, most of them are big life things, but all of them incredibly valuable. Many people have imparted their wisdom to me, and for that, I am forever grateful, and I hope I get to do the same for someone starting out their own business in the future.
I've learnt a lot, from life skills like doing your taxes, saving a sum of money for emergencies, figuring out how much money I need to make to have a profitable business, and in turn deciding how much to pay myself so I can pay for my personal expenses and buy things that I would like, and other skills like good communication, professionalism, proofreading, and organisation. There are many skills that you learn when you start a business of your own, and many of them I learnt as I went along, and some I had to learn on the fly, but they're all important, and you get to grow those skills as your business grows too. But if I had to narrow it down to five things that I have learnt, here's what they would be:
You can say no to things! - Just because someone has enquired with you, or has offered you work, doesn't mean that you have to accept it. Know your limit and how much work you can take on. It is completely okay to turn down work. But I'll be honest with you, when I first started my business, I took all the work I could - which was why I offered so many services. Back when I was KCFreelancing, I offered Image Editing, Video Editing, Social Media Scheduling, and Blog Post Writing services.
Honesty and communication is key - This is something I learned the hard way. Being honest with your clients is a must. If you can't deliver work on time, tell them. If something has gone wrong, tell them! Honesty and good, clear communication is key - no one wants to be left in the dark, and your clients deserve and need the best from you.
You're going to get things wrong - I can't count the times I have made mistakes. Mistakes are how we grow, and I am so thankful for every one of them. No one does everything right, just make sure that you've improved from your mistake and move forward!
You must make time for yourself - This is a BIG one! Sometimes I find myself wondering when was the last time I actually had some time off. When you're running a business, you often forget to schedule some time off for yourself. This even stretches into every day. Make sure you carve out a moment for yourself every day, whether that's first thing in the morning, or at night - make sure you make time for yourself!
Budget everything/save, save, save! - Something that came in incredibly handy when Covid hit. No one can predict when things like Covid will happen. Maybe you've run into some personal finance problems, or you're having trouble getting paid, or maybe it's something completely out of your control - these are all times when you will be thankful that you have savings in your business, and are thankful for budgeting which will maximise your savings.
I am so thankful for all of the lessons that I have learned, all of the wisdom that has been imparted to me, and all of the opportunities and wonderful people that I have met throughout my business journey. I can't wait for what the future holds for Lightbulb + Star!