Women's History Month: Women in Charge
To celebrate Women’s History Month we wanted to champion some of our favourite small businesses that have women in charge! Women’s History Month is a time for us to support activism by reflecting on the small changes and the daily impact we make, through having conversations around these topics and supporting each other.
We have collected some key tips from AUB Alumni on running your own small business or becoming a freelance practitioner, to inspire you to promote your own work and to support others.
Top Tips on running your own small business
My top tips for running a small business are:
- Be consistent in your listings if you are using Etsy
- Engage with your followers on social media
- Focus on your photographs and branding - people buy with their eyes!
Follow @dot.to.sand and see Kamila's Etsy Page
- Perseverance - Keep going and trying, you have to take risks in order to gain rewards.
- Exposure - Put yourself out there to get as much exposure, it's worth trying even if it's not successful monetary wise, you can gain on a personal/experience level.
- Networking - You never know who you are going to meet and what connections they have, which could help you. It's always good to note down someone's email/social channels so you can get in touch again.
- Budget - You don’t need to splash the cash, cut corners to make sure your overheads are low and then invest in your business when you can.
- Goals - Set yourself realistic, achievable goals so you gain a sense of accomplishment and balance between growing your business and staying afloat!
Follow @maysummersperkins and see May's website
Top Tips on being a freelance practitioner
- Be persistent!
Don't expect the work to magically come to you, you have to make sure you are creating regularly and sharing it everywhere you can. Online for now and then in a non-covid world try and get into exhibitions, competitions, any opportunity you can! It can be slow, but things will start to happen if you keep going.
You never know who you know that knows someone else that could find you work! Make as many creative friends as you can, including people you currently go to uni with! You never know who will end up helping you out down the line! One of my biggest paid jobs last year came via one of my friends from Foundation!
- Don't let people try and take advantage!
If they ain't paying, you ain't doing it. Doesn't matter how much 'exposure' you will get, you'll just get a name for yourself in the industry as someone who doesn't even think their work deserves to be paid, if something comes in and there is no payment, be polite but firm and they may come back in the future with a budget, but it shows your work is worth paying for.
Follow @leannerule and see Leanne's website
- Remember - You are a professional!
Whether you are just starting out as a small business owner, or you are the proud manager of a blossoming enterprise, it is important to remember that in the eyes of your clients and customers, you are a professional. This doesn’t necessarily mean you always need to use ultra-formal language, but you do need to know your way around your business and field.
- Don’t forget the admin work!
This is absolutely one of the least exciting parts of running a small business, but future-you will thank you!
I find maintaining an up-to-date spreadsheet of potential clients you have reached out to very useful- keep a note of the date you reached out, who your contact is, and what the outcome was. Also, it can be very helpful to keep a list of all business incomes and expenditures that you will need to include on your tax return. You’ll be surprised how long ago the previous year feels, and how much you have forgotten, come January 31st!
- Know when to give yourself a break, and when to hold yourself accountable!
This can be a bit of a tricky balance to find, one that I am still trying to figure out myself! While it is important to make sure you’re looking after your mental health and letting yourself take time away from your business, don’t start making excuses for yourself when you know you have deadlines to meet, or clients to respond to. This ties in with my first tip- remember that in the eyes of your clients, you are a professional, and they expect you to act as such.
Follow @megantadden_illustration and see Megan's website
- Keep the love for play and learning. It can be so easy to get stuck in a rut when you’re having to focus on your business and where your next money is coming from. I love learning something new to keep my mind fresh, and there’s so much online at the minute to get involved with that can engage your creative brain without feeling like work. I’ve really enjoyed joining live Procreate workshops online with friends this past year, as well as messing about with macramé and ceramics. Activities with no expectations can be super freeing!
- Allow yourself the time to make new creative friends – and seek them out too! Freelancing can be really isolating and it’s easy to forget how valuable a community can be, not just for your mental wellbeing but for the development of your work too. Talking with friends about each other’s projects can lead to fab new ideas and things to try for both of you. And if you see someone’s work online and you really like it, you should totally message them and tell them – social media makes us such a connected world now, and it’s great when we use it to lift each other up. You never know where those conversations might lead.
- Remember to take ‘you’ time away from your work - and try not to feel guilty for it. I’m awful for working a 7 day week, all hours of the day, and then feeling anxious when I step away from work. I’m constantly reminding myself how important it is to make space away from my freelance, no matter how much I love the project I’m working on. Bournemouth is perfect for this because I can leave my phone at home, go on a long dog walk down the beach, and eat chips at the end – perfect head space-time!
Follow @coradraws_insta and see Cora's website
Other small businesses to follow: