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Blue Sky Resumes is a small team of professional writers and job search experts. We offer one-of-a-kind resumes, smart career advice and fantastic customer service. This is our blog.


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Advice to a Friend on Starting Her Business


I was emailing back and forth with a friend the other night who is starting up a small business. She was struggling with writing copy for her website and wanted to know what I thought. Seeing her agonize over the process reminded me of something a very wise ex-colleague said to me when I was getting to ready to launch my business. I had gone to him for an opinion on our business plan.

He said:

There are two things you need to know:

1) Everything will take longer and cost more than you originally think.

2) You will never get it right the first time, so you might as well just get started and change it as you go along.

His advice was spot on. Everything did take longer and cost more, and the things I agonized over 6 years ago have all changed now anyway. We found better ideas, we changed our business model, we learned that our clients were not who we thought they would be – everything changed! And all the learning we’ve done for the past 6 years is going into the new website we’ll launch in January (which we have agonized over and which has cost more and taken longer than we originally thought!)

I told my friend this and I hope it helped. And that got me thinking – why not ask you guys. So that’s what I’m doing. What advice you would give her on this new adventure?

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Blue Sky Resumes

About the Author

Louise Fletcher

Louise co-founded Blue Sky in 2002 after a career as an HR executive. Her industry experience includes music, video games, fashion and advertising. She lived and worked in the US for many years, but moved back to her native UK in 2012, where she now lives in the Yorkshire countryside. In addition to her full-time role with Blue Sky, she's a professional artist, so you can imagine why she couldn't answer the 'what do you do with your free time' question! Contact Louise by email.

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5 comments on “Advice to a Friend on Starting Her Business”

  1. One of my mentors told me this and for me, it was the best advice ever….”Bad business is easy to find.”
    I have always remembered his words and I can’t tell you the number of times it has kept me out of “deals” that would not have been good for my practice. And Louise, it’s for good things that you make me smile.:) Happy, happy holidays!

  2. Sital says:

    1. Realise that your website will go through several reincarnations so…

    2. Focus on completion, not perfection

    3. Give visitors a reason to come back (great content on a blog, an articles page, a newsletter sign up etc)

    4. Personalise more, corporatise less.

    5. Go look at Robert Middelton’s excellent material on writing copy for websites and all sorts of other marketing materials for small businesses
    http://www.actionplan.com

  3. Louise says:

    @billie, Oh that’s so true! I used to never turn anyone down until I got into a partnership that just wasn’t good for my stress levels. Walking away from that was the best decision I could have made.

    Happy holidays to you too!

    @Sital, great, great advice. Especially the giving people a way to stay in touch and making the site more personal, less corporate. Both of those are mistakes I made when we set up our site originally.

  4. 1) Be you. Don’t try to copy your competitor. What makes you unique? Figure that out and then sell the hell out of that!

    2) Jump in…the water’s not too cold!

    3) You can’t please everyone. Even if you don’t have a niche yet, it will find you (like it or not). When I first started out, I was trying to please everyone and a niche found me. But then I realized I liked working with a different type of client better, so I drastically changed things. Don’t agonize over the details of the website right now because your niche might change. And if you’re a perfectionist, you will find yourself tweaking this 100 more times.

    4) Proofread it and then ask your friends to help you. The embarrassment of having someone write you an e-mail and point out an error on your website is awful (at least for me it was).

    5) Let the negative criticism from people roll off your back. If it comes from a competitor, they’re either jealous, ignorant, or bored.

    6) See #2.

    Good luck!

  5. Deena says:

    Hey, this networking thing really works! 😉 Thanks so much, Louise. Thanks for the advice everyone.

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