Leaving my 9-5 to start my small business

2021 has been quite the year already for me. I have shared my everyday life on Instagram and many of you will know that in April I left my 9-5 job from working in fashion to pursue my life long dream of running a small business (even typing that I have to pinch myself!). I really enjoyed my previous job but I just had this urge to do something more, something where I had total creative freedom and something I've made from scratch. 

I started Rebecca Rickards Design as a hobby whilst living in London. Sunday afternoon's I would normally doodle on the iPad and maybe sell a handful of cards on Etsy, if that. Things changed in lockdown where suddenly I had more time, there was no more commuting and weekends suddenly became my creative time. I couldn't stop drawing Cornish scenes and positive themed greeting cards,  sales starting increasing and that really was the start of it all. 

I said to myself "the cards are only selling because it's lockdown and people can't see each other, it's just a fluke" but then after the world started opening up the sales carried on increasing and have done ever since. I got my calculator out and started thinking, could I live off my designs? Could this dream I've had for years actually be happening? I made a deal with myself, I thought If I can prove to myself for the next 6 months (whilst working in my 9-5) that I can live off my designs, then I'll do it. 

Six months went by, and I found myself handing in my notice in March for my 9-5 job. I had proved to myself, maybe I actually can do this?

Then suddenly it was day 1 of working at Rebecca Rickards Design and it felt completely right, what I should be doing. On my first day I was so excited I worked 14 hours because I just simply loved what I was doing and just so thrilled that this was actually happening! The weeks went by and I had actual time to design greeting cards I loved and started building a website and growing this tiny community on my instagram which was just amazing. What I did learn is where you live and what you do and see everyday massively impacts your creative work. I know this may sound cliche, but just an hours walk on the beach in the winter, I would be running home full of ideas from what I had seen, the seagulls, huge waves, lighthouses in the distance - I felt always so inspired and just loved drawing parts of Cornwall. 

We're August now and wow have I learnt a lot. I've learnt so much about margins, choosing binding thread for a new products, how to build a website, how to stock take quickly and effectively, how to use my time as efficiently as possible too.  

I've been on the start of the small business rollercoaster and would love to share my learnings in what has been only 4 months to anyone out there who is about to leave their 9-5 to set up their small business. 

Tips for anyone about to set up their dream small business:

  1. Learn to love excel. I am such a visual person the thought of excel makes me feel slightly nauseous. It's a great way to keep right on your finances and keep on track with your business. If you don't know how to use excel, ask for help (I asked my dad), You Tube it there is so much online to help you. 
  2. Get ready for some hard work. Yep, that includes working more hours than your 9-5 and probably most weekends, but you'll love it.
  3. Get ready for feeling the most creative you have ever been! Because I had time and no restrictions of what I could design I just loved it, I had to keep a notebook with me of ideas that I would suddenly get over a meal time or on the beach! 
  4. Your support network will be so important. I constantly was texting my sister "what do you think of this design" and asking my boyfriend "white or brown packaging?". As you will start off to work on your own your family and friends will feel very important to you. 
  5. Lastly, enjoy it. Enjoy every single minute of it! 

I'm sure in a years time I'll re-read this blog and hopefully have learnt and developed my skills so much more - but that's what I love about running a small business, I'm learning something completely new everyday! 

I hope this blog has been useful for you and if you had any questions about starting your own small business my emails are always open!


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