Perhaps you have dreamed of being your own boss? Perhaps you just feel it’s right for you? Good on you! There are many and varied advantages to making your own way in this world.
Small scale entrepreneurialism is massively rewarding – you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the move years ago.
To make a successful go of it is much easier than you think. You’ll need a blend of the right skills and attitudes. In this article I’ll share with you my Top 10 top self employment tips.
1. Work out what makes you happy, what gives you a buzz, your passion. This could be some of the elements of your current job, it could be the bit of your current job that you have a talent for. It could also be something totally different. Whatever you pursue, you have to love it (or at least really like it!)
2. Work out your edge. Your particular talent, niche or twist. Try not to get bogged down thinking that your edge has to be “I do it really cheaply” (here lies ruin!) or “I’ll think of something totally innovative and special” (here lies time wasting & risk!). Instead make your edge be about you. People will use your product, shop, bistro or service because of your special qualities and talents. It’s the way you do it.
3. Put on a show. You’re well advised to add a bit of sparkle or razzamatazz to whatever you are doing. A presentational attention grabber. Whilst it is important to maintain a quality image (no homemade business cards!) you also need to stand out from the big dull competition. Be controversial, unusual, outrageous, funny, remarkable and/or entertaining.
4. Draw up a pessimistic business plan. Assume the worst about everything – what could go wrong? Take it all into account and cut your spending and overhead cloth accordingly. Get feedback from other folk – what do they think are the drawbacks (be aware that your friends will probably want to be polite and tell you it’s all fine and dandy – press them to spot the potential costs and risks).
5. Cheap isn’t cheerful. As outlined in tip number 2 your edge is not going to be “cheapo”. A one person brand should carry a premium price because of your exclusivity. You are flexible, friendly and fun, you have the human touch, quality runs throughout your business, you give that little bit extra but you are not “cheap”.
6. Don’t recreate your old working environment. Make your new venture stimulatingly different to your old one – make it about you right now, not the old tired you. It always surprises me when I see newly created self-employed folk running their business just like their old job – their old job that they spent years grumbling about and plotting to escape. In other words if you didn’t like your old dull office don’t rent one or build one in your back bedroom just like it. Don’t like early mornings? Start later!
7. Start believing that everyone could be a customer. Or at least that they’ll know someone who could be – because it’s true. Be ready for them, have a 20 second pitch explaining your business on the tip of your tongue, print up some (quality) business cards and always carry them along with a notepad and biro. Make the safety net of your business plan pessimistic yet start every day expecting success. Tell everyone about your venture, ooze friendly relaxed confidence and assume they’ll want to buy something!
8. Ask people to buy something. Selling is a numbers game; for success you’ll firstly, need to expand your contact base (the number of people who know you or know of you). This means networking: “putting yourself about a bit”, online, in the real world, local press, radio, contributing, listening and being available. Secondly you need to expand the number of people who have tried or at least sampled your wares – it can help to have some special introductory offers, a free report/trial, a “teaser” or “taster”. And thirdly you’ll want to expand your actual customer base. To boost the chances of someone trying or buying your offering: Ask them to try or buy it! Every time you meet a new prospect ask them to buy something. At the end of each meeting ask yourself “Did I ask them to buy something?”
9. All buying decisions are emotional first (and logical a distant second). Whatever you are selling (and we are all selling something at work) your customers only buy it because it feels OK to do so. Sell the magic, confidence, hope, dreams, romance, sparkle, sizzle, contentment, sunlit stress-free future, trust, cleverness, image, exclusivity and prestige of their choice. And of course have your logical terms and conditions handy too.
10. Care. You don’t “do” customer care, you either care or you don’t. And if you don’t truly care about your customers; their hopes and dreams, their troubles and woes or their wants and needs you are in the wrong job. Listen to them, get to know them, work together with them – build a relationship. Leave the big competitor corporations for dead with your personal caring emphasis.
Best of luck!