Lessons I learned in 2019 and what I’ve taken from them
By Laura Neuveglise, Founder of Seven Shades, Sustainable fashion brand
To kick off 2020, we’re going to feature Guest Blogs written by amazing #amotherbrands on the lessons they learned in 2019 and what they’ve taken from them.
In these blogs, super impressive early-stage entrepreneurs who are mamas, blending life and work and learning as they go, will share the lessons they’ve learned in 2019 and how they hope it will inform them in 2020.
First up, a blog from Laura Neuveglise, Founder of sustainable and empowering clothing brand, Seven Shades. Laura has been running Seven Shades for 6 months, around her family and a full-time job.
In this blog I’m going to share the top 5 lessons I have learned in 2019 and what I’ve taken from them. I made many, many errors (life lessons) during the first 6 months of my business in 2019.
They say that economic down turns and times of uncertainty (enter Brexit, stage left) are terrible times to start new businesses. Many people are unwilling to invest in or make unplanned purchases. They say that you should not start a business when in a state of uncertainty, yourself. In fact, I was told by a friend that before doing this, I should work on myself first, speak to someone and then pursue it. Sadly, I am a bit tenacious and headstrong (and not in a good way) so I ignored all the “good” advice and just did it anyway.
Lesson #1. Learning how to make it happen
The first lesson I learned was that I could set up my own online business. I defy anyone to challenge my belief that when you have created your own website – from registering the URL, putting that shit together with pages and products and links, then seeing the mother go live (particularly as a small business and “doing it all yourself”) – it is not THE BEST achievement ever. You deserve your own bank holiday and a magnum of champagne smashed all over yourself. Indeed, if you are creating a product, the anxiety and thrill of the arrival of said product via DPD is beyond belief. However, the immediate rush of love is forsaken with the following below…
Lesson #2. Learning to manage your expectations
The next lesson I learned was that I needed to manage my own expectations. So you pulled together a website and managed to get some stuff put on it. So what? Only your mates will be buying it, so make sure you sing from the rooftops about what you are up to. Shout it out loud to everyone: “I have a side-hustle, a new venture, please, dear god, support me!” To start with, your friends will be holding your hand all the way through the moments of self-doubt. Hopefully you’ll have a supportive partner who won’t ask daily how many orders you’ve had. Those comments will burn.
Lesson #3. Make sure you have honest friends
I learned that you can’t please everybody but you need to find your core values and stick with them. As a new business owner I was desperate for people to be honest with me. I am lucky enough to have some amazing friends who would tell me my stuff was not for them. And you know what, that is ok. You wouldn’t buy everything in a shop, so you can’t expect others to. If you have a product go sell it at local fairs, speak to the public and other small businesses and listen to the advice of others (you don’t have to follow it).
Lesson #4. Find your tribe
When I was trying to learn more about social media, I actually learned a lesson about the value of a like-minded community. I took an online social media course early on as I was new to Instagram. A lot of the content didn’t make much sense when I first started, butI kept going back to it. I learned however that the value of a like-minded community was greater than an online course. The most important and invaluable aspect of investing in this course was the other like-minded women who also took it. We formed a Facebook group and then a Whatsapp group. We’re all at different stages in our businesses but we all learn from and support each other. This is our tribe. We exist only to build each other up.
Lesson #5. Never give up
A key lesson I learned is that you need to keep positive. As an entrepreneur you will have the highest of highs and lowest of lows. I learned you have to find it within yourself – daily – to keep a positive mindset. You may benefit from days off. I did. While working on the second range, I felt I was fighting a creative enemy. Everything I produced looked shit. I did not want to sell shit. I left my sketchbook alone, and while out with my kids, I had a spark. This is what the notes facility on your phone is for. I wrote down all that was flowing, so it was ready to pick up and refine when I was ready to nurture it.
Working towards my 1 year anniversary
As I reflect on the lessons I learned in my first six months of business and I look forward to the next six months, I know that I will always need to keep up the momentum and flow of my business. If McDonalds and Coca Cola are forever changing and moving as business, then by all that is sanity, so will I. I will continue to make mistakes, I will have days when I question it all, but if I retain this tenacity and bloody-mindedness to make this work, I am going to give it everything.
With many thanks to Laura for sharing the lessons she learned in the first 6 months of Seven Shades. What an enormous amount she has achieved! If you’d like to know more about Seven Shades, please check out www.sevenshades.co.uk or follow Laura on Instagram here.
Did any of Laura’s lessons resonate with you?
What were the key lessons you learned in 2019?
Let me know in the comments