Everyone has dreams for their future. Some want to be a midwife, a bank manager, or a stay at home parent. Some people want to be their own boss. If you want to have a career in midwifery, for example, you go to university. Once you complete your course and start your career, you will have someone telling you exactly what you need to do, and when. There will be people to guide you throughout the entire process. If you plan to start your own business, that’s not normally the case. Unless you have a large amount of money to start you off, or you have family/friends in the same field, you’re on your own. As you may know, any tips on how to start your business are welcome when you’re confused and have no idea what you’re doing!
I became self employed and started my own business completely on my own. I don’t know anyone that has their own online shop, so I didn’t have anyone to ask silly questions and to guide me through the process.
Becoming self employed is a very quick and simple process, you can read my post about it here. Once you’ve registered with HMRC, you’re good to go. It’s best to do it straight away, but you do have up to 3 months after you start running to tell them.
I wish I had someone to walk me through step by step what to do, but I had to learn the hard way! So I’ve put together a rough outline of what you need to do if you want to start your own business. If I’ve missed anything, or you have your own tips, tell me in the comments!
Tips for starting your own business.
Find your niche –
What are you good at? What are you trained in? Do you have any experience? (I didn’t!)
Do you legally need anything to get started?
Find out if you need a licence, any insurance, permission from your local council to set up. Does your product need to follow a specific set of rules? Do you need to make sure there is fire safety information on your products and website? Do you need to have a food safety certificate?
Check out different funding options –
Grants, loans, borrowing from friends/family. Try and get yourself into as little debt as possible, unless you’re confident you’ll be earning enough money quickly to pay if off. Check out crowdfunding too, if your idea is viable, it could help a lot!
Think of a name for your brand –
Google is your best friend here, don’t go for a name that is already overused or very hard to remember, spell or pronounce. When you have one, design your logo and any recurring colours/patterns/themes for your site and social media.
TIP – before you decide on a name, check to see if there is a domain available and social media usernames!
Research, Research, research –
Research your field, customer base, competitor’s, what’s new in the field, what’s hot and what’s not!
Don’t try and get trading the day after you have the idea and rush everything, you don’t want to miss out on setting up anything important.
Check to see if you’re entitled to any tax credits –
This is very important if you are a single person or on a single income and you want to start your own business. You need to make sure you have some money coming in to be able to pay your bills!
Make sure you have enough money to support yourself through the first 4 months. Unless you have a second household income/savings that can support you.
Set up a website –
I would recommend from experience to look at A2 Hosting or TSHost for hosting, and either WordPress, Opencart, or Shopify
Get on every social media platform you can –
Pay for ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to help get your business out there even more! Try and build up relationships with accounts with a lot of followers, any interaction on their page will make you attractive to potential new followers/customers.
Set aside a decent budget for advertising-
You will need to do a lot! Business cards, flyers, posters, car stickers, paying for blog posts on high volume blogs, paying for promoted tweets, Facebook ads, Gumtree. Anywhere relevant that will take your ad, do it!
If you’re opening a shop, get yourself an affiliate marketing program. This is a perfect way to get more business as your affiliates are effectively marketing for you!
If you’re offering a service, consider finding social media influencers in your local area to help promote you. For example, if you’re a hair colourist, look for popular profiles on social media and see if they want a free/discounted hair appointment in exchange for promo!
The biggest tip I can give, is that it’s all about advertising. Unless you have a business that advertises itself, you need to do a lot of it! But don’t give up. As hard as it may seem in the beginning, you won’t regret it!
Check out my post on how to become self employed – http://mummysmission.com/business/setting-self-employed-uk