It is coming up to four years of me being self-employed. Four years ago I left the classroom to build my own business and I have learnt so much on this journey. As a recap I decided to leave teaching because I could not spin all the plates anymore. Three children and a husband who works long hours had left me exhausted and thinking that I wasn’t giving anyone my best. Incidentally, my children were not little at this point, they were 4, 11 and 14 but they needed me more than ever.
I had already built up both blogs to a certain level of income and I believed that I could do much more if I had the time to invest. Therefore I took that leap of faith, faith in myself and my blogs. Boost Capital believes that entrepreneurs are the backbone of the UK economy, and they aim to help people across the country realize their potential by providing fast and flexible business financing through a Merchant Cash Advance. Getting the figures right is what leads to success and cash flow is always an ongoing issue for small businesses.
- Working for yourself requires discipline as you need to put the hours in. Having regular work hours helps regulate your working week.
- Switch off, in the early years I worked all the time. Now I make sure I switch off the laptop and have time out. Afterall I quit the classroom to be more available for the children.
- Invoices are often paid late, very late. As a small business, I am often at the bottom of the chain and I often wait 2/3 months for payments.
- Keep clear records. Incoming and outgoings all need to be recorded for tax. Each year you will complete a tax return, I pay an accountant to get this right for me and she saves me more than I spend on her. It makes sense to use a specialist for this.
- You need your tribe. Working from home can be isolating and having a few trusted bloggers that you can turn to, discuss blogging with and share contacts is what keeps me going. I have a trusted few who I speak with most days. They are like me and we support each other.
- Other people will never understand what you do. They will think that because you work from home that you are readily available and will ask you what you have done today!
- Your husband will also ask you what you have done today and ask why the house hasn’t been tidied. I mean how hard can it be to run a successful business, do the washing, walk the dog, ironing, change the beds and sort the kids all at the same time!
- There will be quiet times and you will worry. Lossing a regular salary is both freeing and scary in equal measure. You have to remember the bumper months balance out the leaner ones. After a couple of years you might spot monthly trends which help you not panic and start looking at job adverts again.
- Diversify. I make money in a number of ways, blogging is my main income but I do freelance writing for others, reselling, sampling and other opportunities that come my way.
- Network where you can. You need to be visible so be active in Facebook groups, connect with local bloggers and small businesses. Attend events that are relevant, this helps build your audience and your reputation.
- It is amazing to work for yourself and I feel so proud of what I have achieved in the three years since I decided to be fully self-employed.
- You need space at home. Space to work and also space to store all your work-related things. I have parcels delivered regularly for products to review. I have grown my kit which now includes lights, backdrops, props etc and this all needs space.
- You will strike up conversations with delivery drivers, random dog walkers because you haven’t spoken to anyone else since school drop off!
- Promoting your brand is just as important as doing your stuff. No matter what your business is you need to talk about it in order to grow it. This means being active on social media etc. It can seem that this isn’t making your money and therefore not as important but building new leads is vital for long term growth.
Have I missed anything – what else have you learnt on your journey.