Being self-employed is hard work and the hours are long, but it is the flexibility of hours that appeals to so many Mums and drives them to become self-employed.
I have been self-employed for almost 20 years and for 15 years ran a small business. There has been a lot to learn, sometimes things work out well and there’re other times where I would have done things differently if I were given the chance again. Above all I have always done my best to turn around every situation to become a positive rather than a negative.
Most businesses need to develop and grow to maintain success. New ideas need to be considered carefully, it is important to be clear on the direction the business is going.
Opportunities are always there – ensure that you remain open-minded to be able to see them. Remember that a lead that may seem small can become a much bigger opportunity given time and turn out to be constant, reliable work. Consider that it may be better to have a number of smaller contracts rather than few larger contracts. If one of your larger contracts finds a better deal elsewhere this will have a significant impact on your income.
Don’t let an initial ‘no’ put you off. For example Jane, running a cupcake business from home, was asked for a quote for cakes for a child’s ‘fairy themed’ birthday party. The mother decided that she would be able to do the cakes herself. A week later Jane sent a simple email to the Mother letting her know that she had seen some new ‘fairy’ cake products available and thought she might like to know. The Mother sent an email back to thank her and she would like to book her after all if she were still available. Jane also received two more enquiries from other mothers at the party. Success from just five minutes work!
Work with other business owners that may be able to promote and recommend your business, you will also be able to recommend their business. Introduce yourself and offer incentives. Jane running the cupcake business also works with Mary, another Mum working from home as a chocolatier. Their businesses perfectly compliment each other.
When your business is doing well don’t be afraid to look for help. Outsource some of your work, or employ someone during your busiest times making this clear this is on an ad-hoc basis. Don’t become so over worked that you compromise your standards. Maybe you have already gone beyond this stage and you are ready to expand further.
Further expansion will always involve a risk, but look carefully at the options available. Is it possible for example, to use a virtual office rather than actually opening an office and having staff to man it? Virtual offices are a service. These “offices” do not have a physical presence of desks and chairs but have a prestigious address for your business with mail forwarding and telephone service. A telephone number with your calls answered by a receptionist or automatically forwarded is also included in this service. No one needs to know that you don’t actually have an office, particularly when you can hire a meeting room or a desk whenever you need one.
You can choose to work from home – or from anywhere – and have the support and infrastructure of a major corporation, but without the cost.
There are a number of packages available and virtual offices can be found in Manchester and many other bigger cities in the UK from Edinburgh and Glasgow down to London.
Maintain a consistent high standard of work, continually review your business needs to enable your business to grow and be successful…