5 Tips For Going Self-Employed

- By Kim Trotter, Learning Manager at the Eastern Enterprise Hub

Starting a business can be a great move, with lots of exciting – and often challenging – personal and professional experiences along the way. Self-employment is certainly not for everyone, but for those who have a great business idea and have chosen to take the leap, it’s the ultimate freedom. Being able to call all the shots, to decide how you work, where you work and whom you work with are definite benefits, but it also means that if something goes wrong, you’re the person who’s responsible.

Have a read of my five top tips for successful self-employment:

  1. Manage your time: It’s important to establish boundaries for yourself right from the beginning. It will be tempting to check work emails or take calls late into the night, unless you give yourself a schedule… and stick to it! If you agree that you’re going to work from 9:00am-5:30pm, make sure that your phone is switched off and your laptop is closed down promptly at 5:30pm. Don’t be available 24/7, or your clients will contact you 24/7. Perhaps get a separate work phone to make this easier.
  2. Sort out your finances: Most people have no option but to use their own money to get their business off the ground, and will probably be living on a reduced salary until they are able to quit their day job. Before you take the leap, make sure you have enough money to do so, and that your finances are in order. Do you have a family member or friend who is willing to invest in your start-up business?
  3. Learn new skills: If you, as an entrepreneur, are not constantly learning new things and developing as an individual, how can you expect your business to stay up-to-date and relevant in your specific market? These are incredibly competitive times and so you need to make sure that you’re at the top of your game to give your business the best advantage in whatever field you are in.
  4. Spread the word: Networking is very important when starting a new business. Business contacts, local networking groups and simple word-of-mouth recommendations can be powerful, so don’t underestimate the importance of going out and speaking to people face-to-face. Social media is a great way to start marketing your business too – if you can’t afford a website at the beginning, you can set up a free Facebook business page to promote who you are and what your business offers.
  5. Be true to yourself! When you’re a small business, it can be tempting to sometimes act bigger than you are. Perhaps you’re at a networking event and you’re surrounded by corporate business people, and you feel like a one-man-show in comparison… that’s fine, you ARE a one-man-show! Remember, people buy from people, and so don’t worry that it is just you and the kitchen table, in time your business will grow and so will your business acumen.

I hope these tips have been useful – if you’d like to find out more about the programmes we run at the Eastern Enterprise Hub for start-up entrepreneurs, email me on kim.trotter@eehub.co.uk or call us on 01473 527100.