Many would-be entrepreneurs miss out on the opportunity to get started through a self-sabotaging belief that they don’t have enough money, resources or skills. However, many new ventures need a lot less than you might think to get off the ground and with a little planning, your launch into self-employment may be just around the corner. Find out how with these tips on how to get started.
After you’ve made the decision to start your own business, gathering the resources you need to get started is often the next milestone. It can feel overwhelming at the start to figure out how you’re going to go about it. Here are a few ideas which will help you begin.
1. Make a list of the essentials
The main resources for any business broadly fall into these categories:
Under each of those headings, list out what your business will need to get up and running. Then go back through the list and really question how essential it is at this stage or whether it’s a ‘nice to have’ that you can focus on further down the line. For instance, it may be critical that you have a website for your online shop or the art supplies to create commissions, but can you work from home until you can afford a studio space? The designer Julie Dodsworth started her business from the kitchen on her canal boat and now her designs are sold around the world.
2. Create a simple launch budget
Using your list, put an estimate of what each essential element will cost so you have an overall picture of the money you will need to invest. This will also help you figure out the sequence of when things need to happen.
If you don’t have a lot of funds to invest, consider also doing a personal survival budget to see what extra money you can free up. There are many great templates out there, like this one from The Princes Trust. List out all of your essential outgoings each month (e.g. mortgage, utility bills, food bills, petrol). Again, prioritise which of these is truly essential and which can be sacrificed so you can pursue your dream (be really honest with yourself, especially when it comes to things like shopping and entertainment!)
3. Brainstorm affordable ways to get what you need
- Research what low cost options are available and ask other small business owners (for example, Wix.com offers great value website packages and Moo.com do affordable business cards in low quantities)
- If you can’t afford the best equipment at this stage, consider borrowing or hiring until you’re in a position to buy what you want
- Ask people for any support you need in exchange for your product or service
- Research the free tools or local courses available to help you upskill
- If you’re buying stock, always consider low quantities to start with until you’re confident you can sell them all or until you already have firm orders
4. Start small and build it slowly
If you don’t have the funds to buy everything you need straight away, another strategy might be to re-invest from your sales revenue as you go along. If you’re able to take a longer term view on your business growth, this strategy will help you build things up without the immediate need for a big injection of cash or giving up other sources of income.
In the final article in the Finding Work That You Love series, I’ll be focussing on how to overcome fear as you journey into self-employment.
Jo Gendle, Videographer
Jo Gendle is a talented wedding videographer who set up Jo Gendle Films back in 2013 (www.jogendlefilms.com). She left her successful career as a chef to reconnect with her passion for film-making. Although Jo was already a skilled film maker, she didn’t have all the equipment or business knowledge she needed at that stage and didn’t want to get into debt by investing into it all straight away.
Through our coaching sessions, Jo planned out the resources she needed to launch her wedding film business and made a clear list of priorities (camera, business cards and editing equipment). She then researched into the costs and made herself a business launch budget which she felt comfortable with, alongside her own personal budget.
As a result of this work, Jo made a conscious decision to start small and to build her business from each wedding shoot, rather than to take out any loans. It meant that she could then buy the equipment she needed to attract more clients and offer them an even higher quality experience.
Coaching gave me the confidence to get my business launched and to take a longer term perspective on how to grow it.