I thought, as somebody who found themselves in a really horrible circumstance years ago, I could share my advice and experience on starting a business. I was made redundant and literally had no savings, nothing. I’d moved to a new area, and I thought, “Oh, I’m going to start a business!”
So, from somebody who has been running a business for ten years now, I’m doing alright, I’m quite good at what I do and I’m successful with my business. I thought it might help some people who are maybe teetering on the edge of starting their own business or maybe had never thought about it before and were thinking “Maybe this is something I could do.”
Do Something you Love
My first tip is if you are thinking about starting a business, you have to do something you love.
If you are currently working in IT for example, and it’s a job that you sort of fell into, you’ve always done it, but to you, it’s just a job to make ends meet. There’s probably no point in you running a business that’s going to be in IT.
It’s got to be something that you’re passionate about. On Sunday night, I was thinking about my business, and I couldn’t wait to get up on Monday morning to get to my computer to start doing work. You’ve got to have that passion for what you are doing.
It can be something completely different to what you’ve done before. If you’ve got a passion or a love for it, you’ve got skills, expertise and knowledge in that area, then that is going to be something that is really good for you to do.
There’s no point doing something where it’s like “Well it’s alright. I’ve got skills in that; I can do it.” You’ve got to live and breathe it. It’s got to make you tingle. You’ve just got to want to do it.
That’s top tip number one, do something you love.
Top tip number two is to make connections.
Everybody knows that word of mouth marketing is the best form of marketing. I’m a marketing consultant, but I am always going to say that word of mouth marketing is the best form of marketing. If you can make connections with people when you start your business this will help you gain clients or customers.
The first thing you should be doing is going out and networking, meeting people, getting your name out there and meeting like-minded business people. Find businesses that you can do some collaborative work with. Those connections can see you through really rough patches or enhance your business, and just make it so much easier to do what you love.
Find a really good solicitor, a really good accountant that you meet, that you get on well with and other people that might prove useful for your customers and clients in the future as well.
Making connections is one of the best things you can do and then other people will be a great advocate for you as well.
Ask for Help
Tip number three is to ask for help.
There is no shame when you run your business in asking for things or asking people for help.
Ask questions constantly. When you’ve made your connections, people are really willing and open to share their knowledge of how things work. If there is something that you are struggling with, whether it’s “How do I do my accounting?” or “How do I do some marketing?” Ask people. Ask other businesses what they’ve done.
The other thing with that is as well, is about delegating. If there is an area that is not your skillset, don’t do it. I’m no good at maths! I’m the first person to hold my hand up and go “I don’t do maths! Where’s the calculator?”
I know when it comes to my accounts, I’m not going to do that myself so, I pay an accountant to do it. It’s worth every penny because it’s done properly and leaves me time to do my marketing work.
So, you delegate, ask for help, ask other people their opinion. Those connections that you make, and those people that you meet are the people who can help you, but you must shout for help.
Finding a business mentor as well is a really good thing. When I was younger, actually before I started my business, I had a couple of mentors in marketing, and they were amazing. Now I do that for other people as well, which is really rewarding.
These are my top three tips. However, some other things to think about when running your own business. Running a business is really hard. People will expect you to work seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. People will email all times of the day. People call me at eight o’clock at night.
People do expect you to be on call and work all the time when you run your own business. It’s hard to say “No”, especially when you’re starting, it’s really difficult to say “No.” You want to say “Yes” to everything just to make some money, but you learn which people to say “yes” to and the people to say “No” to.
A big thing to consider if you run your own business is that no one is going to pay you if you’re sick. No one is going to pay you when you go on holiday. So you have to plan so you manage in those times as well.
I had a period of my life when I was in hospital for three months. Nobody paid me. Luckily, I had a business model, and I’ve been savvy in business to make sure I was covered for that ‘rainy day’ period. That is a negative of running your own business.
There is no doubt that it is a roller coaster. Some days you are like flying; you’re like, “I’m on fire!” Then like other days things like Coronavirus hit, and it’s a bit s**t. Or you lose a client, or somebody says something negative.
Generally, there are loads and loads of positives for running your own business. Namely, you can be flexible; you can work what hours you choose, you can fit your work around your life. I work to live, not live to work. Basically, I work so I can pay my bills, but spend lots of time with my family and be there for the kids. I take them to school in the morning, pick them up, go to school plays. I’m not going to be one of those people where the business takes over my life. So, being super flexible, that is a massive positive of running the business.
Also, being able to have a bit of time to have self-care as well. Although sometimes that doesn’t always work because you end up working on your business leads. But having that bit of time, just to think “I’m going to go for a walk” or “I’m going to go and meet some friends for a coffee today.”
You can do that when you run your own business. When you are restricted with a nine to five job, you can’t. So, that is a massive positive, having that flexibility is fabulous.
Don’t get me wrong, it is hard running your own business, but it is so rewarding. I can’t tell you the joy and the positivity and the love that I have for running my own business, seeing it grow, and taking it to the next step. It’s fantastic.
If you are thinking about starting your own business, go for it. Reach out to people, ask people what they think. What have you got to lose? If you’re in a situation where you are going to potentially lose your job, or you are going to be made redundant, take it from somebody who was redundant and had zero savings in the bank. You can do it, and you can make money and make it successful.
It’s quite poignant at the moment for anybody that’s teetering on the edge of starting a business. I hope that it may inspired somebody to think “Right. I’m going to do this. I’m going to look into this.”
It’s hard, but it’s worth it.
Here’s some inspiration for you. “Apparently more millionaires are made during a crisis than otherwise.”
Seize the day, do it and let me know how you get on because I love hearing a positive, good news story. You can read more of my blog tips for marketing your new business here.
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