Starting a new business, especially for first timers, comes with a pretty significant learning curve. How do you manage time and stay motivated day in and day out on your own? How do you look professional and established, even though you’re just starting out? How do you stand out against the competition? There’s no shortage of lessons to be learned.

We work with small business owners every day who have been there, done that, and who have a great deal of wise advice to share. Here we collected some of the best tips we’ve heard from others out on their own, each taking the road less travelled and carving their own path to success.

When it comes to finding motivation, for some it’s all about acknowledging your plans publicly. “Make yourself accountable for your goals by sharing them with an audience,” says freelance writer Melanie Bosley. For freelancer Debbie Dey, “I had to stop shortchanging my talents. I had to believe in myself if I wanted to earn what I was worth.”  

Time management is a major focus for most small business owners, and getting it right from the beginning can give you a better chance at succeeding. Author Brooke Williams says, “Make small goals for yourself and build your career as you go. Decide on a certain amount of time to dedicate to your work everyday or choose a money goal.”

Reece Ben-Yaacov, a trainer for virtual assistants, believes the key is in managing your cash flow between the high to low periods. “You might be working crazy hours and earning a good income one month and then have almost no income the next.”

Networking is another key theme many small business owners believe is essential for starting and building a business. David from Beewits, a tool to help freelancers manage projects, says, “Once you’ve successfully completed a project, ask for recommendations to your client’s network. This allows you to quickly get access to many more potential clients with very little time and effort spend on your end.” Photographer and visual artist Alice Zilberberg offers the advice, “Don’t disappear after you’ve done a job for someone. You never know when someone from years ago might contact you again.”

Many new to business have questions about how to look as professional as possible on day one of the job. That’s part of the reason Invoice2go is such a powerful tool for people just starting out. The ability to create a professional, branded invoice in a matter of minutes can help anyone start out with the confidence that they can operate like any other professional business owner. Get to know the tools at your disposal that help you manage a small business. “I’ve used Trello to work with other freelancers and clients. It works well with both. Notifications stay within Trello unless unread – then an email is sent. This means that nothing is missed, “ says Claire, the website developer and designer behind A Bright Clear Web.

If you’re a small business owner with helpful advice to share with others just starting out, leave us a comment below. Small business owners around the world will thank you.

Invoice2go small business tips free lancers