Taking the Plunge to Starting Your Own Business
Humour me for a minute…
It’s 8am on a Monday morning…Billy is screaming because he doesn’t want to eat his porridge because he DOESN’T LIKE IT. This is despite having had the same breakfast everyday for 3 weeks.
You’re knee deep in laundry because Polly decided it was a brilliant idea to pour a bottle of milk over all of her teddies. Because they were thirsty.
The phone won’t stop ringing. The boiler died over the weekend, and now all the contractors are calling you back at once.
You’re half an hour late for work. You know there’s a traffic jam on your normal route.
All in between the schools runs, cooking dinner, mopping up bathwater and dealing with the nightly bedtime dramas. By the time you’ve safely deposited the kids in bed, you’ve barely got a second to think about YOU. And then it’s time for you too, to collapse into bed exhausted.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, running a business from home proved a better option for many parents. It can help you to enjoy a healthy work life balance. Often you can choose your own hours and have more flexibility to spend time with your kids.
Running your own business isn’t always easy though. It can be a long haul of long nights, hard work, and a lot of stress. It can be really hard to do it with no business support, so it’s beneficial to try and surround yourself with positive people. People who encourage you, support you, and are motivational.
Although it’s really tempting to jump in feet first, there are a few things you need to consider before diving in.
Make sure you can afford it
For at least the first year of business – if not more – don’t expect to make any money. Make sure your family situation and your household can cope with this.
Check that you’ll be available when you need to be
Depending on the niche of your business, you may be unavailable to meet with or call clients during working hours if your children are at home. Will that work for them? Or do you need to be around during working hours? Don’t forget shipping logistics if you are handling products.
There is a lot more to business than meets the eye. You have to ensure you’re registered, insured and comply with any safety requirements that are necessary in your niche. Are you okay with putting all of that in place?
Prepare for the grind
Building a business is hard work – you have to invest time and money into growing your customer base. It won’t be a quick get rich thing, it will take years to build a loyal customer base and just tick over. New business owners often put in very long hours for little financial reward.
It can be lonely
If you enjoy working in an office environment or anywhere with interaction with others, working predominately from home can come as a shock. If you’re an introvert you may enjoy the solidarity of solo working. If you prefer more face-to-face contact, there are networking events and support groups to help.
You have to be a jack of all trades
Sure, you want to start your business because you have a skill or a passion for something. But business isn’t just about the stuff you’re good at. You have to be everything – salesperson, marketer, web designer, graphic designer, admin assistant, accountant. The alternative is to outsource. This can be a great way of buying in skills, but many start-ups don’t have the cash flow at the beginning of their journey.
Use your time wisely
Time management is one of the bigger obstacles small business owners have to deal with. It can be difficult to strike the ideal work/life balance, especially in the business’s early days. There are many ways you can achieve an ideal work/life balance. Allow yourself space to consider the options and see which works best for your lifestyle and your circumstances, then apply them.
It’s hard to switch off
We’ve all learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic that working from home is a challenge in itself, because you can no longer leave work at work. This is even more the case when it’s your own business, as you’re likely to have a lot of emotional investment in it. This is much easier to do if you have a designated home office space that you can close the door on each day. If you are working from the sofa or the kitchen table, the boundaries become more blurred. Can you handle seeing stacks of paperwork or unshipped orders as you’re trying to relax in the evening?
Working from home and owning your own business can be incredibly rewarding. It can also be exhausting and comes with lots of aspects to consider. Make sure you think it through carefully before making any big decisions.
We asked Ana at Virtual Bird to write this article. Ana is a virtual assistant and business consultant helping small business boost their business. Virtual Bird has helped many businesses to get on track. For more business tips, check out Ana’s blog https://virtualbird.co.uk/blog/ You can also book a free discovery call with Ana to see if working from home is right for you https://virtualbird.co.uk/work-with-me/discovery-call/