Rushing to jobs, sorting out client queries, paying and submitting invoices… phew! Running your own business can be hectic, and these are just the things I do alongside the actual ‘work’ part.
In fact, sometimes it seems like there is so much more to being successfully self-employed than I first thought! Happily, you don’t have to go through the same shocks of realisation when going into business for yourself, because I’ve put together a guide that will prepare you, mainly highlighting some of things I wish I’d known before making the big step myself.
Read on to find out a little more…
You have to understand the business side of things as well as the work side
You may be the best hairdresser, website designer, interior decorator, or jewellery maker there ever was, but you are not going to succeed if you don’t understand how the business side of things works as well. For my line of work, I have to be super involved with Google Analytics, SEO rankings, Social Media Algorithms…. it can be pretty tedious.
In fact, you could be a genius in these or any other field, but if you don’t understand the nature of the market you are working in and how to leverage your skills in your business’s favour, it’s unlikely you will be able to make a viable living.
To that end, it is always worthwhile investing in as much learning concerning business theory and practice as possible.
One method of doing this is to study a course like an msc business management online programme and learning about topics like What is Contract Management. The advantage of this being that you can fit it in around the responsibilities of your growing business, and use the knowledge to inform your choices as you progress.
Look into registering yourself as self employed, and the ins and outs of being a sole trader or a limited company. Look at tax, expenses, and the receipts you’ll need to log. Even look at how best to log your incomings and outgoings – it’s lengthier than you think!
You need to get good at all sorts of tasks that aren’t necessarily related to your area of expertise.
Your business may well be focused around making and decorating cakes, consulting work, or providing makeup services for people’s big day, but that doesn’t mean you can get away with only be good at those things!
In fact, there are many other tasks you will need to get at least competent in as well, including creating a website, taking pictures of your product and business, SEO, PPC, social media and customer service to name but a few.
OK, so you don’t need to be a specialist in any of these, and there are usually people that you can outsource particular tasks to if you get really stuck. You’ll tend to find that while you’re getting busy working on future plans, goals, new ranges and the everyday day-to-day management, the technical and web stuff is best left to the professionals.
This goes for marketing and social media too. It’s these tasks – which are huge and take up lots of time – that are the ones most worthy of outsourcing. Look for a professional SEO agency as a starting point if you feel like you’re drowning in extra work…
You have to be organized and reliable.
Lastly, it may seem like basic common sense, but to succeed at being self-employed, you need to be as professional, organized and, reliable as possible.
You may not necessarily need to wear a suit if the environment you are working in doesn’t require it, but you do need to be as good as your word, keep promises to clients and suppliers and deliver work you agree to do on time and budget.
After all, if you are self-employed, there is really no one else to blame any mistakes on. Mistakes, of course, will cost you customers, so it’s crucial that you understand that being organised is an essential part of being successfully self-employed.