Lessons I learned from running my business

Sofia Tourlakidou the owner of SoLovesVintage.com

Happy New Year vintage lovers. For those of you who don't know me (it's not compulsory!), I'm Sofia, the owner of this online vintage boutique. Today's blog post is all about the lessons I've learned from running my own business. The ups and downs and how not to let your business take over your whole life (or at least try!). Hopefully, some of
you will find this beneficial in case you're thinking of opening a business. Let's start from the beginning. I started the business in 2007. It seems a very long time ago but for me it's still as fresh as today's post. Of course, there is a whole journey that leads you to open a business (that's another blog post). At least for me. With studies in Psychology, Publishing & Printing and a huge passion for fashion and vintage clothes, I reached my final (who knows?) destination called, 'Business owner'. What a destination!

The owner of SoLovesVintage, Sofia Tourlakidou is wearing a vintage dress

Before I decided to open my own business, I had been working in Retail. I have worked in many big British retailers and I've spend hours and hours in fitting rooms, assist real women (with real body shapes/instead of celebrities) finding clothes that fit them perfectly. And honestly, I loved every minute of it. It gave me such a great satisfaction to be part of this amazing experience and make these women feel confident! When you work in a high street retailer you have the opportunity to come across women from different socio-economic backgrounds, different body shapes and in different stages of their lives. Some, are looking for a new outfit for a job interview, others feel a bit overwhelmed after the birth of their first child and they are eager for a new wardrobe. So, it's extremely challenging and rewarding.

Sofia Tourlakidou on advise about business

Without further ado here are the lessons I have learned:

1. Open a business in an industry that you already know. Or at least have some insight. Passion is absolutely the biggest motivator when opening a business. Without passion you won't persist when the sales are not up, or when something goes terribly wrong.

2. Do not assume that because you are a professionaleverybody else is too. Meet with graphic designers, developers, suppliers etc...and ask, ask, ask questions. No shame about that!

3. Do not prepay!!! I cannot over emphasize this. When someone delivers and you're happy, then pay. There are lots of people out there that will promise you the sun and the moon but won't deliver.

    4. Keep or save money for marketing/promotion. Without promotion no business can make it. Promotion costs. Customers are so used to seeing so many images/new businesses that they tend to forget easily.
      5. There will be bad, horrible days. On those days stop working. Meet a supportivefriend/familymember and just talk till you drop or till they drop!
        6. Get used to rejection. You're going to send lots of emaisl to experts on your field and most of them won't even reply to you. That's totally normal. Keep calling, emailing and hassling.
          7.  You're your business. So networking. Even when you're out meeting people mention your business. Men do that so effortlessly, women should start doing it too pronto.
            8.  If you have a partner you need to have a chat  about your plans. You totally need to be surrounded by encouraging people. Your time will be precious, so you cannot waste it with negative people around you.
              9.  There will be times when you feel totally overwhelmed! Take a breath and go to the gym. If money is tight, then start jogging. Free and very energetic.

                10.  If you work from home sometimes it will be lonely but also easier to schedule a meeting with a friend as you're your own boss. 

                These are the most important things I wish someone had advised me before I started the business. It will be challenging but totally satisfying and super rewarding

                If I could go back, I would still take the plug and do it!!!

                Let me know if you're thinking of opening a new business.

                ...to be continued...

                Sofia x


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