I wrote this a little while ago on my own blog and thought I would share with you now
People are always saying how lucky I am that I managed to turn my hobby into a business. I wont argue generally with that statement and I do have to pinch myself occasionally that I do indeed work for myself, doing something I love. But I always get the impression that people feel I have an easy life. To some extent then I will agree, as I truly believe the old saying,
"If you do a job you love, you never do a days work"
But I have also learnt a lot over the last year about what it takes to run your own business, so thought I would share some of it with you.......
When working out whether you can afford to take the plunge don't just look at the monthly costs. Think about those yearly costs like MOT's and insurance, take into account, birthday presents, christmas, petrol money to visit relatives etc...its amazing how much they add up.
Have a pot of money for emergencies, when you have no money everything will suddenly turn on you and break, in my case, the microwave blew up, the car windscreen got chipped and my clutch died.......
Everything costs more than you think, allow extra on everything.
I have worked out a weekly target. Its the minimum I have to make every week to just stay in business, its a great motivator.
Don't get sick or have family emergencies....you can't afford it.
Pay all your bills on time, companies appear far less forgiving if they think you are a business.
Expect not to make any money in the first year, anything you do make will go straight back into the business anyway.
Have more than one revenue stream. My teaching keeps me though the winter months and my selling through the summer when my students are on holiday.
Do your accounts weekly at minimum, if I can I try and do them daily, then you know where you stand all the time, and also no hassle looking for receipts etc at the end of the year
I would say have a good business plan and don't jump in until you know you are ready, but I can't really, as I didn't do that, but it is probably advisable. But if you are going to just do it, don't just dip your toe in to test the water. jump right in and commit totally. as Master yoda says
"Do, or do not. There is no 'try.'"
Within reason try to never say NO. I try my best to take every opportunity offered. If it doesn't work out I never do it again.
Trust your ideas, don't over think things, its a waste of time.
Your local paper is your new best friend...they can really bring in business. I have never paid for an advert but I e-mail our local reporter every opportunity I have. I have got some great spreads in the editorial.
Everyone you meet from now on is a prospective customer, never be caught short without a business card. I chat to people in the supermarket queue and give them my card.
Reply promptly to all enquiries. People love quick replies and appreciate not being kept waiting, even if they didn't get the answer they wanted.
Stay true to your vision, its easy to get sucked into, making or doing things you think will be money winners, they wont work as the lack of passion that you have, will show.
Never agree to any work unless you have a deposit that will at least cover your costs. Not even if you think you can sell it anyway. Its just not worth it
Your reputation is everything, don't give anyone an opportunity to bad mouth you.
If someone says they will come back later and buy something, never believe them. That way your wont be disappointed and wait around hoping.
The buck stops with you, you HAVE to make all the decisions, other people can only advise, but at the end of the day its your call. ( something I love, I always hated being told what to do, as I always knew I was right anyway :-)
Your business hours are every hour, you no longer have a personal life. You will bore your family and friends at every social occasion.You WILL turn into a work-acholic, if you don't, your not doing it right!
Have fun, there is no point in doing all this and putting so much in if you are not getting anything out.
Even after all I have said, put it all into perspective, it is after all, only a job.....................................