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  • philhutchinson

Where to Start?!

6 suggestions for people thinking about setting up their own business:

Being relatively new to the world of self-employment and setting up my own business has generated a lot of interest from friends or colleagues. I often get asked what advice I would give someone who is considering doing the same and so I have created the following list of 6 suggestions to give people something to think about. The reality is that the list could be endless so if you have something you would like to add, drop it in the comments at the end of the article and together we’ll create a really useful resource for people who don’t know where to start!

1. What and why?

Figuring out what you’re going to do and why are key to positioning yourself from day one. Do the exercise where you write down what you want and what you need, they are two very different things and may influence your offering! Another useful question when faced with the why is “how do you want to feel?” If you’re going to be putting your heart and soul into this venture it needs to be something you love and gives real satisfaction!

2. Do your sums

What do you actually need to earn to cover your bills? A few lifestyle adjustments may be required for the first 6 months but plan for your need-to-haves and the nice-to-haves will come with time! Once you’ve listed your outgoings and costs you can formulate how much income you need to generate. This will help you set your daily rate but don’t forget to factor in things like insurance, accountancy, membership, bills, marketing or advertising, rates and other fees which you need to cover as initial or ongoing costs.

3. Create a business plan

Once you know what you need to aim for financially, start planning what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. Key questions include, what makes you unique, who is your target audience, who are your competitors, how will you market yourself, how much will you charge for your services, what resources will you need and how does this factor into your cash flow? A good 2-3 year plan will allow you to measure your success and inform your activity.

4. Build your network

It is not entirely true that "its who you know not what" because the “what” is clearly vital if you’re going to demonstrate some credibility. The “who” is admittedly important though as relationships create referrals so get out there and get chatting! The more people who know what you’re doing and why, the greater the opportunities you will be presented with!

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

You are going to need a lot of help and support especially in the early months and there is a lot of experience out there which you can tap into! Everyone has faced the same challenges and has a piece of advice; you’ve just got to kiss a lot of frogs in order to gather enough information to formulate your own opinion. The old adage applies, “if you don’t ask then you won’t get” so educate yourself and empower your colleagues by asking as many people as you can for help and advice, you don’t have to do whatever they suggest, you will decide what works best for you!

6. Pace yourself

It’s really tempting to throw yourself into it all and burn the candle at both ends, especially in the early months when income will be slow. Don’t forget though that if people buy off people, you need to be the best version of yourself in order to generate interest & engagement and you can’t do that if you’ve burned out! Plan some breaks in and prepare for the long haul, this is not a sprint so pace yourself and keep yourself well. It’s just as relevant to plan a coffee with a friend as it is to plan your work-related activity as the social connections are important to your wellbeing and overall success.

So, there you have it, lots to think about! Perhaps you can ask other people what their top tips are and hopefully there will be more suggestions in the comments to follow.

Be happy and all the best.


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