If you recently started a business or are thinking about starting a business? Then this blog post is for you! This blog post aims to help you figure out what to expect by looking at the skills every online business owner needs to learn.
I know from experience that it is very difficult to find reliable information about what you can expect as a new business owner. I have this blog, a brand and an art printable shop with a dropshipping integration. I don’t know everything about being a business owner. But I know quite alot about these topics.
So let me tell you which skills every business owner needs to learn!
I decided from the start that I wanted to learn how to do my own books. Mainly because it is very expansive to hire accountants and tax-specialists. I started reading books about bookkeeping and then decided which bookkeeping software I wanted to use. I am very happy that I know how to do my books today, but the road to getting there has been long and boring. Naturally, you can hire help, but it is a huge expense for a small business. I would recommend every business owner to learn bookkeeping.
Preparing a tax statement
Nothing feels as scary as preparing tax statements until you have done it for the first time. I decided to read up in a couple of “worst-case scenarios” to understand what would happen if I messed up. This was actually very helpful because I learned that, in my country Sweden, as long as you have your bookkeeping in place and do your tax statements in time. Then the worst thing that could happen is that you have to make changes and correct any error that might have occurred. I also recommend actually talking to your tax authority, they want to help you to do your taxes right.
VAT – Laws and regulations
Gosh… Sadly this skill is non-negotiable. If you plan on selling products or services. Even if it is via a market platform like Etsy or via a dropshipping company like Printful. You need to know what VAT-laws are applicable to your country. This is important not only to make sure your business is following the law but also because you might not be able to do your bookkeeping right. Its a painstaking process but once you learn about it, you will feel empowered and in control. After you have this skill you can easily make and sell anything you want.
How to drive traffic via Pinterest
After I had set up this blog and nu Etsy store the SelectedCraftsStore I started using Pinterest for my marketing. The reason I started with Pinterest and not Facebook or Instagram is because Pinterest algorithms are based on SEO. That means that the content I make in Pinterest will be relevant all year round, or evergreen as it is called.
Compared to Instagram and Facebook where your post will just be at the top of people’s newsfeed for an hour or two. Then all the hard work you put into crafting your content won’t give you any rewards. I would really recommend any small business owner to start a Pinterest account. A Pinterest Business account to be more specific, it is free and offers more insights than a personal account.
How to automate social media
All I can say is that my life would not be about anything else then social media if it weren’t for Tailwind and Buffer. Both are automated schedulers for social media. I had no idea that social media requires so much time, both in terms of content creation and in terms of maintenance. As a business owner with limited time, you realize quickly that social media is a nice to have, not need to have. If you, however, feel you want to spend time sometime on social media. Learning how to use automation tools is essential.
How to stay organized
I love using an old fashioned personal planner, but no matter what medium you like. The important thing is that you learn how to stay organized. If you are a newbie business owner, don’t worry, if you keep building your business you will learn this skill. Otherwise, it will become completely impossible for you to run your business. In the beginning, I would recommend just starting somewhere and eventually, routines, structure, and systems will grow from that. I still keep planning, reevaluating and improving my business constantly. So don’t feel discouraged in the beginning, you can do it!
How to create products
This is not such an easy feat if you have never done it before. I really struggled in the beginning. Luckily for me, my business grew from an initial desire to be able to sell my own art and designs. I started by figuring out what I really want to help people to do. In my case, it is: to help people live beautiful lives they love. That desire to help is not necessarily limited to only one type of product.
But from the start, I aimed for one very particular product, namely digitally downloadable art prints. I educated myself on how to make the prints, and then I just keep making prints until I got very good at it. Now I have branched out and also sell clip art, planners and printed version of my designs. All my products come from my quest to help others live beautiful lives.
How to price products
Choosing the right price for your products can be a very tricky thing for beginners. I decided to just start with a number that people would consider paying for my products. In the price, I included: my costs + value of my time + small profit. But remember that you won’t just price your products once and be done with it. Pricing is a living thing and changes a lot over time. I also recommend doing some research if there are any tools available that can help you compare your prices to similar products. For example, I have used a tool called PriceWoot that does exactly this for Etsy shops.
How to manage a blog and write blog posts
This skill might depend a little on the way you decided to structure your business. If you aren’t planning to have a blog then you can skip this part.
Building a blog takes a lot of time, even if you go for ready build design. This blog took more than a year to build and design. But it is important to not get stuck building and rebuilding your blog. At some point even if the blog isn’t finished, you have to start making content and writing posts. That is the only thing you should focus on in the beginning.
I decided early on my business journey that I wanted to have a blog. For several reasons, I wanted to be able to write about what I love and to help my followers with their struggles. Also because I wanted the blog to be at the heart of my business, I want to create a little SelectedCrafts eco-system with the blog in the center.
How to run a newsletter
It doesn’t matter if you are a small, online or creative – business. Every business owner needs a newsletter. In the beginning, you don’t even need to have anything to write, just collecting the email addresses are enough. I personally use Convertkit, for two reasons. For one it makes it super simple to manage the content you send to your list. Convertkit also makes it really easy to implement sign-up forms on your blog/website. Also if you don’t have a website, don’t worry. Convertkit can create one as your sign-up form. They provide a free version, you can test out so why not start right now!
How to keep feeling motivated and happy
This is also a skill I think every entrepreneur has to learn eventually. In the beginning everything is new, fun and exciting. Your business may be a mess but you are still so happy that you started. Then after a while, all that happiness and excitement go away. Now being a business owner becomes a part of your daily life and the initial happiness might slowly fade away. Then you will always be stuck with the mess we call our businesses.
That’s when you have to find days to stay motivated. This is easier said than done, there are many negative feelings that will diminish your confidence and your self-image. I set goals that I keep striving towards. But whatever you find that works for you, just keep doing that!
And don’t get me wrong, I love SelectedCrafts, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t face challenges. I am still growing and learning.
If you liked this blog post you should also check out this post about my favorite online business resources. Or if you are curious about other parts of my business check out the posts in the Business and Products category.
So what do you think? What skills would you say are essential? Make sure to let me know if I have missed something in the comments down below!
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