It’s worrying when you start to run out of fingers, for how many businesses you have had. Here are the painful lessons I have learnt from running 9 small businesses:

I was around 11 or 12 when I started to get the buzz of running a business, I could never think of any ideas and always nagged my mum to think of something.

By the time I was 12, the Pokemon craze was kicking off and with my dad’s help we worked out that we could import the Pokemon cards from America, paying the shipping and import duty and have them in the UK before they were released, which I could then sell at school (tut tut).

I can’t remember if we made any money, what I do know is I wish I had kept them, that shiny Charizard would have been worth a few quid.

Once I caught that business bug, it never left.

It’s something to do with being in control of your own destiny and being able to earn money yourself, which know one can take away from you.

Since buying and selling the Pokemon cards, I have set up and ran many businesses:

  1. Local buy and sell magazine
  2. University magazine
  3. Student discount card
  4. Money saving blog
  5. Selling advertising on screens in coffee shops
  6. A virtual assistant business
  7. CRM training
  8. Facebook ads marketing agency
  9. Fitness business

They range from doing nothing to doing ok, nothing set the world alight. You could call the majority ‘failure’s’ even though I don’t look at it like that.

I was always desperate to make my millions, I would try and dream up a unique idea and then most just didn’t do great.

After #9 I decided I had enough and wanted stability, I got a job working for the Prince’s Trust, then trained to be an accountant and vowed never to run a business again,.

That turned out well!

It did bring stability, I bought a house, got married etc… But before you know it that business spark comes back.

I only set up Every Cloud Accounting on the basis that it would be different, here are some of the important lessons that I have applied:

Don’t reinvent the wheel – Run a business where there’s already a demand for the service – I am desperate to advertise on a screen in a coffee shop, said no one ever!

Not all businesses are created equally – When I ran the discount card, I sold it for £5, you need to sell a lot of cards to earn even a basic salary! 100 students or 1 accounting client, completely different!

Make sales, get customers and figure the rest out – I always used to have every duck in a row, business card, logo, website, PO box, check, check, check. This time it took 7 months to get a logo.

Set realistic expectations – I still have the piece of paper from 2012, where I set the goal of £10,000 sales within a month. Yes, it can happen, but I am probably not going to go from a few quid to £10,000 in a month.

Set boundaries – A really simple one, buying a separate work phone helped with this. The weekend comes and I can switch the phone off.

Finally, not to be too hard on yourself– This one is a working progress.


How many businesses have you run? Can you beat 10?

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