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Laptop sitting on a desk to represent starting a business

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Business

Starting a business is not as easy at it would seem on TikTok. You spend hours looking for the perfect font for your logo, wondering if the colours are vibrant enough and making faces at the computer when you’re trying to find stock. It’s bloody difficult.

Sourcing Products Is Tricky

You will spend hours looking for the perfect product to stock in your new business and you’ll feel so overwhelmed that you’ll want to settle for whatever’s popular. You’ll start to think that the neon green faux fur gillet would be great…

Please don’t give up on finding your perfect products.

When I started January Collective, I knew that I wanted slogan tshirts, and I could only find the standard place name shirts that you see everywhere. I knew that if I wanted to start a business, that I’d have to design the tshirts myself.

Print On Demand

When I knew that I wanted to design the products myself, I signed up to Shopify and connected Printful. Printful is a Print on Demand (POD) service who will print and ship your products when a customer orders them.

There are pros and cons to PODs – you don’t have stock to create content, and you can’t check the quality or personalise your packages. But the pros far outweigh the cons when you’re just starting out.

You don’t have to spend a single penny to get started, and you don’t have to have all the space for new stock. You can simply use the stock images and start selling products.

Social Media is So Different

When I started Instagram and TikTok for January Collective, I thought it would be the same as starting it as a human. It’s not.

You have to really plan the content so it’s cohesive and highlights your personality AND the products. People buy from people so you have to put your unique spin on everything you put on social. But you can’t just post product pictures either…

It’s so bloody difficult and I still haven’t got the perfect formula, but that’s the good thing about social. Your content will always be found if you use hashtags so you can take a little break while you’re figuring it out.

Write all of your ideas down

Get yourself a business book. It doesn’t have to be a fancy journal, it can be a £1 notebook you find in the charity shop, but it’ll fast become your best friend when you’re starting a business.

Put everything in there: your passwords, your vision and values, your colours, your TikTok ideas, your products, price comparisons, your to-do lists… everything.

I cannot tell you how often I’ve flicked to my branding page to find a colour HEX code because the green just doesn’t look right.

Starting a Business Is Bloody Difficult

If you only take one thing from this post, make sure it’s this: starting a business is bloody difficult.

You will find the perfect product, set the pricing perfectly, upload ALL of the TikToks and you still won’t get a sale; you’ll hate putting your business out there because you’ll think you’re being greedy; you’ll feel pushy if you tell people that you own a business that they should check out; you’ll spend hours staring at your website and seeing flaws; you’ll be checking that your checkout system is working because that’s surely the reason why you’re not getting any sales; and you’ll spend hours trying to learn SEO for businesses to get people on your site.

It takes time to build up an audience and it’ll take time to see results. Starting a business is not like it would seem on social media so please don’t give up on it.

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