Setting up your own business is one of those dreams which many people have. Whether you wish to become a self-employed writer, create your own fashion line or sell a fantastic new invention, becoming your own boss gives you a fantastic quality of life.
You can choose when you work, where you work and who you work for – you call the shots.
I have been running my own writing business for the last year, and in that time I have learnt many things about becoming self-employed – many the hard way.
Here I have put together some of the key pieces I have learnt on my self-employed adventure. Hopefully some of these will come in handy if you decide to set up a business yourself.
1. Use Word of Mouth To Your Advantage
One of the most effective ways to get your business out there is to use word of mouth. Tell everyone you know about your ideas and what you’re planning to do. Make sure you tell your:
- Work colleagues
- The people in your local supermarket
- Your neighbors
You never know who may want to use your services or product. If you tell lots of people it is likely they will talk to their friends and family, and a domino effect will mean you are advertising your business – all for free.
2. Be Present on Social Media
Nowadays, nearly everyone uses social media in some way or another. I don’t know about you, but when I’m thinking about buying from a company or using someone’s services, I always check them out on Facebook or Twitter.
It reassures me seeing great reviews from other people and seeing that the company care enough to be posting regularly on their social media channels.
Make sure you have at the least Facebook and Twitter, as these are the social media channels with the most users.
Share updates about your company, create relevant blog posts and share news stories which relate to your business.
It will show potential customers that you are an authority in your sector, know what you’re talking about, and that you care enough to bother creating regular content.
For very visual businesses such as fashion, artwork and graphics etc., then getting Instagram would be a good idea. Target customers with relevant hashtags, and follow the type of people who you want in your customer base.
Take a look below at how YouTuber and Blogger Zoella uses Instagram below to advertise a new drink.
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3. Create a Decent Website
In the same way as above, having a professional and modern-looking website is essential. It is reassuring for people to be able to browse your website, check out your services and find out a bit more about you before making the commitment to buy.
And pretty much all of your competitors will have a website too. You can create your own through websites like Wix or WordPress, or you can ask a Web Designer to make one for you. The latter will be pretty pricey though.
Also, make sure you website works just as well on a smartphone or tablet, not just on a PC. I made this mistake and I think I missed a few sales because of it.
4. Keep Track of Your Finances
No matter how big or small, you need to get on top of your finances and keep track of everything you have spent/received.
You can do this in a simple spreadsheet or you can get an online accountancy service just as Quickbooks. Make sure you save all invoices you send or receive too, and keep them in a separate folder on your computer.
You need to know exactly how much money you have made for when you do your tax return annually.
5. Be Patient & Don’t Give Up
The first 6 months or so will be hard. You may not get as much business as you hoped you would, and you may struggle to make any sales at all.
You may even get some complaints or criticism, as you are still finding your feet and refining your product. Don’t take this to heart and let it effect you.
You can do it. Just make sure you are making your presence felt, you are putting the hours in and you are collecting any great testimonials from your clients.
Don’t be afraid to shout about your successes – use these testimonials on your website and social media.
And lastly, if you have a client/customer who doesn’t suit you, your style or the way you work, don’t be afraid to walk away. You are the boss, at the end of the day.
Take a look at these top tips about how to be a great writer!
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