Starting a business is something that many people dream about.
But bringing that dream to life and actually starting your own business can often be more challenging than you may think. There is naturally a huge amount of preparation and other variables to consider when starting your own business. If you’re one of the lucky ones who’s looking to finally take the plunge into self-employment this year, it’s essential to equip yourself with the right skills for attaining success.
Running your own business is no easy task and there is a seemingly never-ending list of skills that you need to learn to keep things ticking over. While in the future, you may be able to hire a team to help, enlist the services of consultants for specialised advice, or even utilise freelancers, these opportunities for outsourcing any of your core workload may not be available to you upon immediately opening your doors. In fact, most business owners wear many hats when they’re starting out, taking on all sorts of roles, completing a wide variety of tasks and learning a wide range of new skills in the process.
The big question is usually where to start. Should you study social media marketing courses? What about accounting or business management? And is learning about customer relationship management going to be important as well?
Below, we take a look at just some of the skills that you should consider learning if you’re considering starting a business in 2023.
Digital Marketing Strategy
Utilising the power of social media is a crucial component of digital marketing today, and in Australia, it’s no different. Almost 80% of the Australian population is on social media, with Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn being amongst the most popular platforms.
The popularity of social media presents a significant opportunity for businesses to directly connect with and engage their customers, allowing them to bolster brand recognition alongside taking total control over their business’ reputation and image online. Enrolling in a reputable social media marketing course can provide entrepreneurs with the skills they need to leverage these particular digital channels most effectively.
Here are just some of the benefits that can accompany utilising social media for your business in Australia:
Understanding The Australian Social Media Landscape
Australia has its own unique social media landscape when compared with other countries, as different platforms are more popular than others. Taking a social media marketing course in Australia can provide entrepreneurs with a better understanding of the local market and which platforms are most effective for reaching their local target audience.
Creating Compelling Content
Creating compelling content is critical. Search engine algorithms force companies to continually create new, high-quality, engaging content that is designed to capture the attention of their target audience. This includes learning how to use visuals – such as photos and videos – to tell a story, and how to use different content formats to keep your audience engaged. Providing trustworthy valuable content to users is paramount if you want to rank near the top of the search results.
Leveraging Social Media Advertising
Social media advertising is an essential component of any marketing strategy nowadays. Paid advertising on various platforms can help businesses reach a broader audience and generate leads and sales. Entrepreneurs need to know how to create compelling social media ads, target their ads to reach their desired customers, and track and measure their ad performance using digital marketing analytics tools.
All business owners should be taking efforts to make sure that they’re connecting with other figures within their industry and slowly but steadily building a strong, dynamic industry network. But how exactly do you go about networking? There are actually plenty of ways to connect with like-minded individuals in and around your industry, including attending industry events and conferences, joining professional organisations, and connecting with other entrepreneurs and business leaders, just to name a few.
You may even have networking opportunities available to you through your old high school or university, so be sure to keep up-to-date with alumni news channels for any events you could attend.
Remember that networking is really all about making connections. It’s not enough for you to simply introduce yourself and hand out business cards or other promotional materials that showcase your business. If you present yourself as a warm, inviting and personable figure, then it’s more likely that you’ll make lasting connections and build a strong professional network.
Taking time to nurture that network will also be sure to pay off, as your network can be the very source from which you find all the young talent you’ll need when it comes time to expand your business and grow your professional team.
Being a sole proprietor is great if you can handle everything yourself, but chances are you’ll have at least a couple of employees at some point, and you will need to lead your team to success. Strong leadership skills, including communication, motivation, and delegation, are essential for any budding entrepreneur.
By developing these skills now, entrepreneurs can ensure that they have all the leadership skills they need to create a positive work environment and foster a culture of innovation and excellence once they do have a substantial team of their own. This will not only improve the productivity and performance of their team but also help them attract and retain top talent, keeping their employee turnover rate nice and low.
Being able to take control of your accounting and finances can be incredibly beneficial for entrepreneurs. Having a clear understanding of what is going on with your business finances is essential when it comes to making informed decisions about your business’ operations, investments, and financial strategies, both in the present day as well as across the future of your enterprise.
In addition to managing the day-to-day finances of your business, understanding the accounts can be important for other reasons too. For example, you may also need investors to help grow the business down the road, and being able to confidently provide financial statements and other accounting data will be vital in encouraging investments in your business.
Get Your New Business Started On The Right Foot
As you can see, entrepreneurship is a never-ending process of learning new, critical skills that you’ll need to keep your company afloat in today’s challenging business climate. The skills listed above are only a small sample of skills you’ll need to grow to get your business off the ground. While it might seem overwhelming trying to get to grips with all of these new skills in the beginning, it won’t be long until these tasks become second nature.
With a little time and effort in learning the skills you need, you can be confident that your business will be operating like a well-oiled machine.
How To Turn Your Crafting Hobby into a Business
Featuring Debbie Hatumale-Uy
The dream we all aspire to do! Crafting can be so fun and therapeutic if only you could turn it into a profitable business. This is what Debbie has done when she was on maternity leave.
Debbie embarked on her career in social media and marketing, dedicating herself to these fields until her maternity leave coincided with lockdowns. Faced with the prospect of costly equipment and seeking a pregnancy distraction, she acquired a Cricut machine, delving into crafting. After extensive research and countless YouTube tutorials, she began selling personalized items, ultimately establishing Only The Sweet Stuff in 2021, marking just the start of her journey.
Today, Debbie wears multiple hats as a crafter, podcaster, marketer, e-commerce business owner, and crafting coach. She imparts her knowledge to families and fellow crafters, guiding them on their crafting journeys. Debbie has fostered a crafting community boasting over 20,000 members across Australia and stands as a prominent supplier of crafting “blanks” in the Australian crafting scene. Her mission revolves around elevating the Australian crafting industry and supporting the success of small crafting enterprises through her expertise, assistance, and sense of community.
Q and A with Debbie
Congratulations on your business let’s ask some questions that people who are teetering on starting a business always want to know! How has your working background of social media and marketing prior to Only the Sweet Stuff helped with the growth of your business?
Starting out my career in social media before going on maternity leave did give me a really good understanding of the different platforms, how different content performed on each and how the algorithms supported these.
However, the success of Only the Sweet Stuff came from me sharing what I loved to create and any tips I thought would be relevant. I wasn’t posting with the intention to start a business at all.
Once my community started to grow and I realised people were loving the things I was making and learning about the various techniques I was utilising, I then came to the realisation that there wasn’t one single community for crafters.
Obviously my business has evolved over the years from making personalised goods to now selling the crafting items for others to personalise themselves, but all of that stemmed from simply just posting something I enjoyed doing and being open to sharing my journey with the internet.
When it came to the point where I had grown my business organically enough and needed to run ads to attract more crafters, this is where my previous experience came in handy.
I have always loved data, so having the knowledge and experience of knowing how to optimise my ads and see trends was the real advantage. Doing so allows me to target my audience more seamlessly. Now I’m at the point where I can mostly set and forget which is so great for me as a busy mum.
For people who don’t have these skills, do you think it is transferable to learn these skills as you go, or do you think some mini courses are required?
I think it’s a bit of both! When you start a business, concentrate on pumping out the content and sharing your journey to see who engages, how and when. From there you can take the learnings and have a crack at it with the knowledge you’ve gained from your organic content.
From there, you will quickly find out what you are comfortable doing or where you are feeling really hesitant in progressing and that’s where you can focus on learning and investing in a course.
Facebook have Meta Blueprint which is an online learning resource specifically created for small businesses and there’s lots of free courses! So I would encourage looking into that first to establish a baseline for yourself. But also social is meant to be just that – social! So make sure you are having fun and are enjoying the process too. If you REALLY hate it – then maybe deferring to a specialist could take you into a better business mindset and have you focusing on what you enjoy.
What was your final a-ha moment that made you step into creating your business?
It was seeing that there was a community of people who had the same interests as me but didn’t have one place to go and learn more.
When I unwrapped my first precision-cutting machine, I had to watch hours upon hours of YouTube videos to learn the basics. When I posted about my learnings and found my own way or a faster way, people really responded to that.
It all happened really organically for me and I’m lucky that my passion is very shareable.
How many employees do you currently have? Going from starting small to having employees, how was that transition?
Outside of myself, I only have one part-time staff member. She helps me with everything from customer service, community management, marketing, social media management to even crafting! Hiring her was a no brainer! She had been a part of my community for a long time and she really supported my growth and vision. She is also a very talented crafter herself so that made it easy to transition her from community member to staff.
Hiring within my community meant I had no doubts! I was really confident in her ability and knew she would do an amazing job.
I should also mention I outsourced to a 3PL (third-party logistics) to assist me with the fulfilment side of my business. This really helped reduce the stress and ensure orders were being sent off in a timely manner.
Did you have to get investors or did you begin small and work your way up to the full-scale business you have now?
You can probably already tell that Only the Sweet Stuff was and still is completely self-funded. I have made a lot of mistakes in business that have cost me, however it was a lesson and it has made me a better business owner. My advice for anyone else who is also self-funding their way is to listen to what your customers have to tell you as they will more often than not give you the exact feedback you need to grow and be profitable.
Regarding I haven’t had a chance to have a listen, but your titles are quite direct with you wanting to educate and help others make their own business. What gives you this passion to want to help other people break into the same industry that you are in yourself?
I believe many struggle with the confidence to take that first step. If my podcast can in anyway help someone feel more confident by answering a burning question they’ve had, then I’m happy!
Only The Sweet Stuff started because I openly shared my learnings, mistakes, tips and creations. The podcast was a way to continue sharing what I know but also to introduce guests who can add value where I can’t. I often find myself asking questions to my guests that I want to know as a crafter which is so engaging and hopefully helpful to my listeners.
I’m also a creative – can you tell? Any new creative way of sharing my journey, attracting like-minded crafters and hopefully inspiring them to start crafting or even a crafting business – I will do! The podcast is another creative outlet for me and I love it!
For any of you crafters out there that have a Cricut machine Debbie has some budget friendly ideas!
Here are some of my fave crafts that parents can follow along with that the kids will love:
I also love getting DMs with questions and ideas. I will always share my tips and if I can direct them to a great resource that wilfl help execute I of course will. They can also feel free to ask away on my pages as many other crafters will also want to help.
At SAHM I have been trying to break into the digital world for a few years and were fortunate enough to be in a position to buy the website when it came up for sale, but now the work starts! Every day I am crash coursing and learning about design, marketing, writing, business models/plans, contracts, the list goes on, but I’m having the time of my life. I’m currently trying to ‘overcome the overwhelm’, while parenting two little people (5 and 18 months) do you have any advice?
First up… Congratulations on this new adventure – it’s very exciting!
Most importantly – Be kind on yourself and give yourself the space to be creative and practice self-care – whatever that looks like for you!
I started crafting to distract myself from nausea while pregnant and found it to be very calming and relaxing but also gave me a sense of achievement once I had finished a project.
I wrote a blog post on mum life and crafting and it details how many in my community have utilised craft as a way to self-regulate and practice zen. I think this is because many crafts are therapeutic and it’s something you can do that is dedicated you-time while also feeling a sense of accomplishment and you can go without the mum/dad-guilt.
When it comes to business – asking people who you admire and aspire to be, lots of questions about their journey and lessons is a great way to learn and also humanise business.
Consume media on the topics you are wanting to learn about in whatever way you find most enjoyable. You mentioned you are learning about marketing and digital elements of running SAHM – this podcast episode may help.
You’re doing great though and as a long-time fan of the SAHM community and purpose, I can’t wait to see where you take SAHM.