Wednesday, 20 June 2012

So you want to be Self-Employed? Hints & Tips #5

A very lovely friend of mine informed last week that she's closing down her online business which she began a few months back. Her reasons are all very valid and the decision has not been made lightly, but it did get me to thinking about some of the possible pitfalls to being self-employed and perhaps how to avoid them.
Pitfall 1. I will make money quickly
Any business, however small takes time to build up. Starting a business because you think it will make you a quick return is unfortunately not case (unless your name is Alan Sugar!)
Quite often businesses run at cost or even at a loss in their first few years of trading and that's why a long term view is important when it comes to business planning and strategy. Although you want your business venture to bring in a return you must be prepared if it doesn't or at least not straight away. Every business has 'dry spells' so don't be dis-heartened when it's your turn. (Fortunately for my lovely friend, her business wasn't her mainstay and she can come back to it when she is ready.)

Pitfall 2. Once I'm online I won't have to do very much
Erm, No. Once you're business is off the ground, whether a website or a shop, you will have an awful lot to do in order to get yourself known. Once a website goes 'live' it isn't automatically up there in the number one spot on Google! You have to submit your site, create a social media world where you can promote it and continue to input vast amounts of time, energy and effort into maintaining that marketing, branding and image. (Why do you think SEO companies get paid so much!?!) This can be great fun, and you meet some great people, but it also takes up time so don't be fooled. Creating your website is only the beginning.

Pitfall 3. I can be self-employed on a part time basis
Again, no. Obviously yes, you are your own boss and can therefore choose your 'working' hours but the reality is that maintaining and sustaining your own business requires a full time thought process even if you are only actively doing on a part-time basis. This is one area where you have to be careful because your own business will take up just as much of your time as you throw at it and more. You really do need to be very clear and very strict with yourself how and when you are going to 'work' or you may find yourself doing nothing else but! I have 3 children and a wonderful husband as well as my own business and if I wasn't incredibly strict with myself I could quite easily trade time away from them and my chosen responsibilities to them, for my work because I do love it! But, I love them more. I have a notebook where I simply write down business thoughts, plans, ideas and calendar events before they whistle straight out of my head again while I'm with my husband and children. I can't shut off entirely; I am my business, but I can constrain things to suit my lifestyle. I also am fortunate enough to rent office space one day a week which gives me a clear run at things without chores and errands getting in the way. It is possible to do the 'stuff' on a part time basis but don't go into self-employment thinking you will have an awful lot of time for anything else because the chances are, you won't.

Self-Employment can be great but it is not an easy option. Keep assessing your motives, your goals and your finances and you shouldn't go too far wrong. And you never know; maybe YOU are the next Alan Sugar?!


* If you have enjoyed this post you might also like to check out the Self-Employed hints and tips page here


Second Hand Rose said...

Thanks for these great tips, they've really helped! XxxX

Ange said...

Thanks Rose- it's good to know other people find them as helpful as I have along the way! x

Miss Simmonds Says said...

thank you so much for your help, I'd like to become self employed eventually

Maureen said...

When I set up my business I went on a course run by a local business set-up organisation. The presenter of the course said that when you start up a business you need the job in the pub. Jobs like bar work or cleaning are 'pick up and carry' jobs that bring in the essential cash while you - as you so rightly say - get your business into the black.

Ange said...

It's true Maureen- you do need to realise you may not make money straight away. I do like that phrase 'pick up and carry'!!

Ange said...

Miss Simmonds- If it's your dream, hold on to it; you just never know!!! xXx