My First Year Of Business: Revy Web Design
Welcome back to part two of the series!
We’ve been lucky enough to chat with and learn from Laura, founder of Revy Web Design. Since she was young, Laura has been interested in the computer and tech world and has been creating WordPress sites for over ten years. In search of a mountain lifestyle, Laura moved from England to Canada and now owns and operates her business in Revelstoke. Revy Web Design is a community-driven collective of professional creatives who thrive on creating bespoke websites for businesses and individuals.
We asked Laura all the hard-hitting questions about starting and owning a business and the learning curves that come with it. Revy Web Design grew quickly in its first year, so Laura has plenty of advice on how to manage feeling overwhelmed and tools to help you stay on track.
Q: Were there times you felt overwhelmed as a new business owner?
A: Of course! Although I wasn’t expecting to. In the beginning, I found myself working ridiculous hours without any time off. This is an all too common story for business owners and went on for months. At some point, I found myself irrationally freaked out at the thought of even taking weekends off. At my most anxious, even going skiing for half a day filled me with dread. I felt like I couldn’t leave my clients in case they needed me, something crashed, or I missed an email from a prospective client.
Laura’s Tip: Hire an admin assistant! If your business is growing quickly, don’t try to keep up all by yourself. Hiring extra support is a smart way to restore your sanity and never miss an important email.
Q: What has helped you manage overwhelmed feelings?
A: I’ve learned that I need to work on maintaining good mental health every day. I do still get overwhelmed from time to time, but I’ve learned the importance of boundaries between work and personal life. I also take time off to stay active and healthy and make sure I have a support system around me.
Laura’s Tip: Being overwhelmed and stressed isn’t unnatural. There are plenty of ways to seek help whether this is online or through books. Here’s a list Laura recommends:
- Tony Schwartz – The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working
- Ethan Kross – Chatter
- Simon Sinek – Start with Why
- James Clear – Atomic Habits
Q: Did you create a business plan when you started Revy Web Design?
A: Ha, no! I completely skipped the business plan step and jumped straight to having a long-time strategy. Does that count?
Q: Do you feel like you should have created one?
A: No, I don’t. I had every intention to write one and it never happened. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate the value of having a roadmap before leaving the house! I just never sat down and committed to writing one and now it feels too late.
In my first year of business, I had no idea where I was going. However, in my second year, I started to naturally develop a vision of where the business was heading. Either way, I could have never dreamt I’d be where I am today.
Laura’s Tip: Hire a business coach. They can help you develop your company and provide you with a clear direction. After hiring a coach, Laura now tracks her key performance indicators (KPIs), and has monthly, quarterly, and annual goals. A business coach is something she recommends to anyone once they’re off the ground as it helps challenge your limiting beliefs.
Q: Were you financially literate (from a business perspective) when you started Revy Web Design?
A: No way! It’s an ongoing process to take responsibility for my business’ finances.
Laura’s Tip: Create a separate bank account for your business from day one. Use a bookkeeping program like Quickbooks as soon as you can. This helps you organize your invoices and financing right off the bat.
Q: How has your understanding of finances changed over time?
A: Now, checking my finances (on Quickbooks) is a daily occurrence. I suddenly think of the year in terms of financial quarters, which was an alien concept for me before starting the business, and I’m beginning to get better at budgeting. There’s always room for improvement, of course.
Laura’s Tip: Find yourself an accountant. Laura hired Christina at Sync Accounting which was a real game-changer when it came to incorporating Revy Web Design. Christina guided Laura through the process, put up with silly questions, and made everything easier. Laura also got tips on setting up her Quickbooks which saves time moving forward.
Q: Are there any sources you’d recommend to a new business owner?
A: Easy, StartUp Revelstoke! I discovered them through a Google Search and met with Carolyn Gibson to discuss my business idea. In less than an hour, she gave me a wealth of knowledge and direction as to what I needed to do to get off the ground. From getting a business license, writing a business plan (sorry, Carolyn!), how to network, insurance, who to speak to about bookkeeping etc. I greatly encourage any new business owners to reach out to Carolyn and attend the monthly Startup Revelstoke meetings.
Q: If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice during your first year of business, what would that be?
A: In-person networking is the most effective way to build confidence, generate leads, market your business, and grow. Meeting other people gives you practice explaining what you do and will reinforce your new identity as a small business owner. This helps you to get over imposter syndrome and show people the friendly face of a business. This means you’re already building a great reputation which counts for a lot in a small town!