Three things I learned in my first year as a business owner

You may have heard me refer to Little Moments Big Memories as my passion project and while oftentimes you will hear people say “their passion project - turned - small business,” that’s not the case for me. I always knew my idea would become a business but the name “passion project” still resonates with me because it is truly something that brings me joy as a creative outlet, as something to call my own, as something that truly helps people. 

After more than a year of business, I look back and feel humbled by the number of lessons learned. Not only do these lessons ring true for my business but have impacted so many other aspects of my life for the better. While there is learning everyday, today I share with you my top three lessons I learned this past year as a small business owner. 


1. Nothing worth doing comes easy - trust your intuition

It’s as simple as that, it doesn’t. If everything was easy, everyone would do it and if everyone did it, it wouldn’t be as meaningful or special to you. So on the days that are tough, the days that feel never ending, the days where the printer is giving me grief, this is the mantra I cling to. It gives me peace and reassurance in the work I am doing and the challenges I am facing. 

Now may I add, there is a line. There is a point of pushing water uphill and learning when to pivot and change course, that’s where the real learning comes in. Being able to step back, look through at the challenge you are facing from a birds eye view and think critically. There is a happy medium between working through tough times and driving down a dead end road with no solution. Knowing where that happy medium lies takes time, experience and intuition.

So while nothing worth doing comes easy and hard work isn’t always a bad thing, learning to trust your intuition is key. 


2. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should - make decisions with your values

I have a computer, I have a printer, I have a binding machine, I have a paper cutter. With those tools, I could foreseeably make invitations, planners, activity binders and really almost any print product you can think of. But I don’t. 

Our brand is based around memories, so if our products don’t serve that purpose they don’t belong in our shop. For example, I very carefully created a wedding journal with a lot of intentionality so it was not a wedding planner for this very reason. I don’t want people to think Little Moments Big Memories and think ‘stationary’. Yes, we have paper products; however, that’s not what makes our business special and is not what our brand is built on. 

With that being said, that’s why I think it’s so important to think critically about your decisions, business and personal. You don’t always need to be the “Yes” person, but make decisions with your values at the forefront - just because you can doesn’t mean you should. 


3. Your time is worth something - work smarter not harder

We’ve all done this. Spend an extra 20 minutes to drive across town for the “cheap gas” and save 4 cents per litre. Yes you may have saved some money in that immediate moment, but in all reality you lost time in your day and probably spent those savings driving to that gas station in the first place. I am a thousand per cent guilty of this, but I also like to think I have learned from moments like these. 

I hate to say time is money, it feels very Wall Street. But for real your time is worth something. Work smarter not harder. If there is a way to simplify your business process, do it. Your future self will thank you later. 

When I was first working on my business processes, I envisioned printing off individual books as needed when orders came in. All the pages, every time. For a baby book, that would be 

28 pages back and front to print and cut … I would still be working on my first order if I did that. I decided to outsource the printing of the inside book pages in a bulk order so that I had plenty of stock. Yes, this method costs more money upfront but does it exponentially cut down production times and allow me to focus energy in other areas - also yes. (Bonus - I also get to support another small business in the process.)

Through this experience I have learned that ‘saving’ doesn’t always have to be about money, but about the time and energy you have to give to yourself and those around you.

In one of my ‘ah-ha’ moments, I emptied the jar of blooms on a blank sheet of paper and arranged each piece carefully across the page

Laura Goulding