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Lessons and Learnings from Starting a Business During Lockdown

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by Startacus Admin

starting a business during lockdown
Kate Healy, Founder of Virtually Together shares her lessons and learnings from starting a business during the uk national lockdown...

The pandemic has certainly created a demand for groups to connect online via video platforms. After all, you can’t let working from home stop you from having a work summer party, and you can’t let a regional lockdown stop you from having a fabulous birthday celebration! In this world of uncertainty, it seems our virtual social lives are here to stay, particularly with so many incredible virtual activities on offer to help make that occasion even more special.

My name is Kate and during the UK national lockdown, I set up a business called Virtually Together and what a whirlwind it has been! As the name alludes, we offer a hub of Kate Healyactivities and entertainment for virtual events and celebrations with the aim of bringing joy to people by socially connecting them when they otherwise can’t be physically together. Our activities range from virtual wine tasting, magic shows, comedians, murder mystery parties, craft classes, baking workshops and much more.

I’ve had so much fun setting up Virtually Together and it has given me focus in what would have otherwise been a very unsettling time. It has had its fair share of challenges though and I’m under no illusion that there will be many more lessons to be learned! In the meantime, I wanted to share my top three learnings in the hope that I can help others with their start-up journey.

Always be on the lookout for the next opportunity

I think the biggest lesson I have learnt during this journey is to be open minded to constantly innovate, flex strategies and to test and learn.

Even in the past four months, Virtually Together has gone from predominantly offering virtual activities for families and birthday celebrations, to organising virtual summer parties with 200+ people. We are now starting to organise Christmas parties! Our catalogue has gone from six activities to over 50. Always ask yourself – what is next? The moment you start to feel comfortable is the moment you need to keep innovating. For example, my next challenge is understanding how Virtually Together will fit in people’s lives once social distancing becomes less of a norm.

Try and automate as much of your business as possible

The more processes you can automate the better.

Your time is invaluable, and you need to make sure that the majority of your time is spent driving growth as opposed to facilitating the day-to-day running of the business. I have tried to use as many apps and business platforms as possible to make my life easier and help alleviate pressure. For example, I use Xero for my accounting which is an incredible way of capturing monies owed and due, expenses, sending auto-reminders, calculating VAT and seeing your cash flow position. Zapier has also been fantastic at connecting my website enquiries to my CRM database Hubspot and automatically inputting data to my project management apps when I receive enquiries. There is so much more I am discovering that you can automate, for example I’m currently exploring automating bookings with calendar apps such as acuity scheduling.

It’s all about the hustling!

Unfortunately setting up a business isn’t easy, otherwise everyone would do it! It takes a lot of hustling!

Tell absolutely everyone you know about what you’re doing, ask people for advice and leverage your networks. You never know what one single discussion might lead to. I’ve spent hours and hours sending emails to journalists and e-zines in the hope to be featured, as well as prospecting potential clients and of course shouting from the rooftop about Virtually Together at every available moment! The greater awareness there is of your business, the more likely you will gain more traction and business as a result.

The biggest advice I can give to anyone who has that urge to start their own business is to take the leap and jump. There is nothing stopping you other than yourself!

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Published on: 4th August 2020

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