We have been through a lot of ups and downs this past year. Some of us lost their jobs, some of us changed their jobs and some decided to start out on their own.
I’ve been there back in 2017. The first year (not month) was the toughest. I remember forking out money to set up my website and everything else before I had any income. And when I did have an income, it was only a trickle the first month. But when you successfully land your first client (and you will), I kid you not, it’s one of the best feelings in the world.
Mind you, it never gets easier. If you think that running your own business and being your own boss is a breeze, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise. Add being a parent to the mix whose child is at home due to COVID-19 restrictions, and there you have it.
But, I’m writing this to help you out, not to frighten the living daylights out of you. I’ve always been one to say it as it is; no beating about the bush. Bear with me.
So, now that you are ready to get started, I’d like to give you a helping hand. I didn’t have any guidance when I set foot on this path and always thought it would be nice to have had someone shed light on the road ahead.
OK, let’s cut to the chase. Where do you start?
1. Research, research!
Assuming you know what your products or services you’re going to offer are and that it is the right business venture for you, research first. Make sure there is a market for what you’re offering. Never assume people will buy your product just because YOU (or your family) like it.
- Who are you selling to? Who are your primary customers?
- What are their needs, frustrations?
- How does your product/service help them?
- Are there any products/services similar to yours?
- Who is your competition?
- How will you set yourself apart?
2. Plan it out.
A business without a plan? That’s a no-go. Don’t even think about going there. A business plan can be simple, nothing out of this world, but you need to have one. Specify your objective and map it out. What direction are you planning to take? This will change as your business grows.
Sample Business Plan to help you with writing your own: Samples by Hubspot.
Service providers, online businesses, brick & mortar businesses – you all need the same thing: funding. The expense may differ depending on the business type but it costs money to start any business.
First you need to determine how much startup funding you will need. I can assure you that you will have bills and invoices to settle way before your business takes flight.
- Will you self-fund?
- Will you look for investors?
- Will you be taking a small loan?
So make sure you put a lot of thought into this because you need this information before you launch. You can even seek (or perhaps it’s better if you do) professional guidance from trusted financial advisors.
- List the expenses
- Estimate how much these expenses will cost
- Draw a full financial picture
- Use this to calculate your initial fund
What kind of expenses? Equipment, office space, utilities, marketing, salaries, market research, website, communications etc.
- Refine your idea
- Conduct market research
- Check out the competition
- Write a Business Plan
- Draw a financial map
This is PART 1 of my guide. What will you expect in PART 2?
Becoming self-occupied or self-employed also mean: paying your own taxes, vat and social security contributions. But we’ll cover that in PART 2 😉
You will probably start small and you will have moments of failure. Learn from them. Don’t toss everything to the side as soon as one thing goes wrong. That’s life, it’s a learning process.