Wow it’s been a while! Sorry about that – this business malarky is taking up a lot of my time. But as I’m popping back in to speak to Danny Smith on his Drivetime show for Radio Verulam, I thought ‘maybe I should start blogging about what I’m doing’?
I saw a mum on Facebook the other day asking for advice on starting a business, so I thought that having worked for myself for the past 15years, I’d give some tips on starting your own business.
There are lots of different types of business. For some reason I feel that Espiritu Salon and Spa is more of a ‘Business’, whereas before I was just ‘working for myself’ as a ‘job’ or ‘career’, but it really doesn’t matter what kind of business you start up, the same rules apply.
I’ll probably do a series of blog posts (if you like them!), so that I can break it down into manageable chunks. But it’s a good time of year to be thinking about this sort of thing as September has a great ‘new start’ vibe.
Whatever this business is, it’s going to take your time, energy and resources, so you need a passion for it. Not a fickle passing fancy, but an interest that has been long standing. My dream to own a Spa where the hair, beauty and holistic therapies were all combined has been there for the whole 15 years.
How do you know if there is a TRUE passion for it? I’ve watched and listened to people over this last year and here are a few key hints:
- You’ve thought about it loads and talked to different people about it
- You’ve planned it – in your head, on paper, everywhere
- You’ve researched how to do it on the internet, read about it and maybe taken qualifications in it.
- You know your strengths and weaknesses (no one can do everything) and have a plan to cover the areas that aren’t your strong ones.
- You are willing to spend time, money and change your lifestyle for it – this is the big one, are you willing to stop watching the TV, stop seeing friends, and limit your budget because you are focussed on your business?
Passion is key, because it’s going to be harder than you think, and affect areas of life that you never expected, so it needs the passion to keep it going! Wow I sound a bit gloomy don’t I, but it’s not; it would only be gloomy if I didn’t have a passion for what I’m doing.
It’s got to make a profit, otherwise it is just an expensive hobby which will do your self-esteem no good; the question is how much?
When thinking about the business, think about how long before it could go into profit and how much profit you need.
- Maybe you are giving up a job for this, and although you can cut back on your lifestyle to a degree, there are bills to pay?
- Or maybe this is the beginning of something bigger that will grow when your kids are in school, so for the time being it just needs to pay for a few treats for the family?
- If there is a big investment, it really needs to be able to pay itself back, as well as pay you, so that is something to consider.
- Think about the sacrifices that you will have to make; it needs to make enough profit for it to be worth it.
One thing you can be sure of: It’s going to cost more than you thought, and take longer than you thought to go into profit.
But don’t get fooled into spending lots due to your newness to the industry.
Desperation isn’t good, so make sure that you have a buffer to keep you going.
And never fall for the ‘get rich quick’ schemes; nothing happens without hard work. I know a pile of people who did weekend courses and
You might be really passionate about something, and not mind how much profit you make. But at the end of the day, other people need to think that it will be interesting too, otherwise you will have no customers.
Is there a market for it? Do people really want it, or can you persuade them that they do?
What is your brand, ethos and USP? What is the point to your business versus all the others?
Make sure there is a market for it – Know your market/niche – don’t try to be everything for everyone. Decide on your brand – your ethos, niche, the point to you.
Learn this lesson (it took me years to believe it!): Decide on your ideal customer, identify your niche, stick to it and you will have MORE customers!
But at the same time, don’t focus/be to rigid on this being ‘the one’ business you ever run; things often change and one thing will lead to another. I’ve gone from being a reiki healer/master, to holistic therapist, to coach, to ‘Mummy Whisperer’, to blogger, to author, to owner of a Spa. It might sound a bit random, but there is sense in the journey.
Got a question about a business? Let me know – I know how tough it is and would love to help!
Started your own business? What tips would you add to choosing a business?
2 thoughts on “How to start your own business?”
Great to hear you back on the blog again, Lisa, we missed you. I have been in business for myself for, whoa, 30 years now. There have been a few times that I needed to decide what to do next as the Universe brought what I was doing to a close. My advice would be first and foremost, don’t be in too big of a hurry to quit your day job. Keep cash flow coming in somehow because being broke causes a lot of stress and makes it difficult to move forward. If you have to just make the leap, then be sure to make an educated leap and create a support network even if it is just one person. What kind of cost is there for overhead in the business you want to go into, that’s an important question to answer. If you aren’t sure of your passion and aren’t quite ready to take the leap, look around and find a place to volunteer in the area of your interest so you will build skills in that direction. Recently, when my husband and I’s flight school closed due to the economy, I needed to decide what to do next. I decided I wanted to be part of a solution for improving the quality of our food system, helping to make sustainable and organic foods more affordable and locally available. I was surprised to find out that there were very few jobs in agriculture in my area, but I did find a fledgling non-profit that was doing exactly what I had in mind. In order to re-invent myself for this new area, I needed to know what was going on in the city, county, in businesses and nationally with our food supply system. I decided to volunteer with the nonprofit and was recently promoted to Deputy Director of the organization. Following my passion where ever it leads me and using my skills, has been the right thing for do for me. One more thing, I think it best to count on using the skills you already possess and keep learning. So choose a business where you are using skills you already have and can grow with. For example, at the non-profit as a volunteer I was already skilled as a writer so I volunteered to write grants for them. Leverage what you already know. Good luck!
Wonderful advice, thanks so much Janis, and I’m really pleased you are doing so well – it proves that good people always come out on top in the end.