January felt like the longest month ever, February is draaaagggggiing, and those dreams of sitting on the beach living your ‘best life’ as an entrepreneur just won’t fade! But seriously how easy is it to start your own business whilst employed and is being an entrepreneur as amazing as Jeff Bezos (Amazon Founder) makes it look?
Recent research conducted by OnePoll and published on www.smallbusiness.co.uk states that “3.2 million more Brits are expected to become their own boss by 2018.” This suggests that not only you (who is currently reading this), but your colleagues as well, are most likely to have secret desires of becoming their own boss and creating a work-life balance that is so attractive.
Starting a Business Whilst Employed
Planning your future business whilst working a job, provides you the opportunity to earn money as you build your dreams. Is it tiring? Oh yes! But is it worth it? Only you can answer that 🙂
However, there are some practical startup steps that can make the process less stressful and less painful:
- Whilst at work, you have useful resources at your fingertips such as the Internet. We don’t advocate abusing your employer’s trust (let’s face it, it is a small world and leaving on bad terms is never good), but business research can be conducted during your lunch break. Freeing up some of that precious evening time we all cherish.
- Create a PROPER business plan! This should be obvious, but with fewer people going to the bank for a startup loan, the value of having a good plan has decreased. However a business plan should not be about validating your business to a bank, it should be about validating it to yourself. This allows you to assess the viability of your business (be TRUTHFUL). The consequences of going at it alone and the financial ramifications.
- Look up job descriptions. This will help you to consider what staffing needs you require and will be a task completed when you chose to advertise the role.
- Understand HMRC and any statutory forms that your business may need, for example; Income Tax, PAYE, VAT, Company registration etc. Whilst employed, you may not have had an opportunity to understand the legal aspects of running a business, and the costs and fines associated.
- Find a good accounting system. Even if your business can afford an accountant, understanding your business’ finances; how and what you can report is important. Most good accounting packages offer a free demo and have options you can add on as your business grows. Some even go as far as helping you to complete your legal requirements, like VAT and PAYE etc.
- Network and attend business shows. By meeting more like-minded people in your industry, you’ll develop a better understanding of the real-life pros and cons. You may also meet potential clients/buyers and become a known face who people refer future business to.
- Think about the name of your business. Does it reflect your business service and/or product? Can you buy the domain name? Does someone else own it? Whether you plan to be self-employed or a public company having a unique name from the start, will help you with name retention and prevent a potential legal battle.
- Consult with a design and print studio like SM1 Print Studio, who offer amazing packages as well as practical tips and advice on marketing. Thinking about your company brand identity, as well as your printing and marketing materials from the beginning will ensure that you have a professional presence when you start… and it will be one less thing to think about!
- SAVE AS MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE. You can do this by doing things like saving your annual leave and cutting down your personal spending. Savings will be a blessing when that monthly pay check doesn’t arrive.
Following these steps should help to save you time and money in the future, as well as help you to have a business that is successful from the beginning.
Will Being An Entrepreneur Give Me Everything I Want?
The short answer is IT DEPENDS!
The truth is that starting your own business is not easy. It may seem like Jeff Bezos just woke up one morning and became the billionaire founder of Amazon, but the fact is he had several smaller attempts at wanting to start a business, choosing to work and making huge sacrifices before becoming the man he is today. As well as financial issues, parental advice not to quit his day job, he also had to consider changing his business name after starting up, as Amazon was originally called Cadabra Inc which didn’t sound correct on the telephone.
Once Amazon became established, making decisions on expansions, offers to be purchased and constantly battling the competition (Steve Jobs was not happy when Amazon launched Kindle and Apple launched Books) became a part of his daily thoughts. Teamed with a family you can imagine how much energy it takes to be motivated and stick to your goals.
Many people think that being an Entrepreneur will give them an amazing work-life balance, but before that arrives you have to prepare yourself for sleepless nights, unsocialable hours of work, continuous professional and personal development and losing people along the way.
We found a great TED Talk by Mark Leruste which talks more about the realities of being an Entrepreneur, which is definitely worth a watch.
BUT… don’t get disheartened. Think about the steps above and most importantly DO YOUR RESEARCH AND DON’T BE AFRAID OF FAILURE!