Something I’m asked about quite is often is my experience of setting up a business. I’m no expert by any stretch, but it’s something that I guess is rather intruiging and from a blogger community point of view in particular, it may well be something you are considering. Whether it’s branching out and adding a string to your blogging bow, or quite simply looking at the business side of blogging.
What’s Your Skillset?
As you may, or may not know, I set up my own marketing company in Aberdeen at the tail end of last year. I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to go down this route. I studied marketing and took a particular interest in consumer behaviour at university, before going on to work in marketing in both retail and business to business environments for 12 years. So it was pretty clear to me what field I was going to operate in and it was an area I enjoyed and felt comfortable in.
So, look at your skillset… What experience do you have? What do you enjoy doing? It’s not just about doing what you’ve always done, like me. You will probably find comfort in that life experience you’ve racked up… Something that accounts for so much when you are taking that leap. If you are struggling to recognise what you are good at, ask a trusted friend.
The Financial Side
Start up costs vary depending on what you are looking to do. I barely had any start up costs. I made my own website. My very talented graphic designer friend took care of the logo and brand itentity (still owe him a very large favour!)… Besides a computer, everything else I needed was in my head. I got lucky on the start up costs side!
If your costs are extreme, you can look to crowdfund, obtain a start up grant, loan or perhaps reach out to family or friends.
You will also want to decide on whether you want to be a sole trader or a limited company. This is where you will want to seek out some financial advice and do some sums. It very much depends on personal circumstances, allowances, risk and assets. I was advised to go limited based on my goals and objectives.
VAT is another consideration. The required threshold is £85,000, but if you are under this you may still want to be VAT registered for financial or professional reasons.
Insurance is another consideration that is often forgotten about. Even from a blogging point of view you will want to cost up a policy to cover you. It’s one of those costs that you could do without at the start, but you’ll be glad you have… should you ever need it.
Staying on Track
We all have hopes and dreams, right. It would be great to be the next Richard Branson or Alan Sugar… but the hardest thing is to keep yourself on the ground and stay focussed to what your goals are and not get sidetracked by comparison syndrome.
A business mentor is a really good idea to make sure you hit your goals within set limits and kindly remind you that you are where you wanted to be, if that is the case. Especially if you find it hard to recognise your own achievements.
When it does all look like it’s working, keep a financial buffer. Business flucuates, whether it’s cyclical or not. Make sure you can cope if you lose your best client, that big project doesn’t take off, you fall ill or it’s just a quiet quarter. Tempting as it is to start ticking all those big ticket items off your business wish list, it’s no use if you can’t last the course.
Whatever you decide to do, do it with conviction and take the world by storm!