Starting a business

Is this the year you finally decide to take the leap and become a Small Biz Whizz? (SBW)

January 2016 has arrived, so I decided to look back on the first 6 months of starting a business as a healthy lifestyle copywriter. It’s been an incredible ride so far, although I can’t call it a rollercoaster, as that’s been well and truly nabbed by those pesky X Factor contestants!

Leaving a full-time job that paid the bills every month, but left me creatively dead inside, was the riskiest thing I’ve ever done. However, it’s also been the best decision I’ve ever made. If you’re thinking about starting a business this year, I’m going to share regular blog posts about what I’ve learned so far, as well as sharing my top tips.

Money, money, money!

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So I know what you’re thinking, starting up your own business is a dream you’ve put on hold because you haven’t got enough money saved. Yep, me too! I’d pinned all of my hopes onto the mass redundancies being made at Tesco head office, as everyone was invited to apply and although it wasn’t guaranteed, there was an underlying message that if you said you wanted to leave, it was likely that you would with a nice payoff.

I worked out that I’d be due just over £8k, which was a great cushion to see me through my first 6 months. It turns out however, that I was such a ‘valued’ employee, they didn’t want to let me go, despite everyone else around me being accepted. Once I’d got over the immense disappointment (and there’s still a slight hint of bitterness if you get me on a really bad day), the upside is that I wrote an article about the whole experience and was published on the fabulous Talented Ladies Club. Result!

Oh well, time for Plan B!

I’d made the decision to leave either way, despite having a teeny tiny amount of savings and large credit card bills, thanks to a dream birthday/holiday combo in California a few months earlier. I really missed loving my job and felt the only way to reignite that passion was to do something on my own. Now, fantasising about job satisfaction isn’t all fluffy clouds and unicorns, so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how I’ve survived financially so far.

Having savings is ideal, but there are always other avenues

Starting a business needs at least a shoestring budget, and most of us have that. I was lucky in that I picked up one client immediately, so had a little bit of regular money coming in. However, it was a third of what I needed to pay the bills (and live) each month, so that was supplemented by my small savings pot for the next two months. After that ran out, a mix of credit cards, loan from the bank of mum and dad and new client payments got me through the next four months.

I’ve now got a couple of regular clients, so it’s a relief to know there’s some regular payments coming in each month, although it’s not enough to cover more than just paying the regular bills. I haven’t reached the same salary as I left yet, but I’m 2/3 of the way there, and that feels like a pretty good achievement halfway through the year.

Starting a business – are you feeling brave enough yet?

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Worrying about money when starting a business can consume you 24/7 (been there, done that). So let’s just acknowledge that you’ll let it happen from time to time and move on. We don’t want to waste valuable time on brooding, when we could be out finding new clients! Being depressed and desperate is not a good look, and won’t attract anyone to you. Here’s what I did to get out of my slump:

              • Share your worries with others – I’ve already tried the route of internalising it all to the point of being on the edge of tears every time someone asks ‘How’s it going?” (and you’ll get that ALL the time from well-meaning people!) I ended up confiding in a couple of people who are in a similar situation, and they brought me back from the brink with practical suggestions I was too fuzzy to think of myself
              • Embrace anything that could be a potential opportunity – talk to everyone, network, get referrals from your business friends, attend industry events. Hiding in your home office isn’t going to solve anything, so be visible in person, on email, social media, and be available for everything coming your way.
              • Slap on a smile and talk with a positive attitude – it might sound a bit contrived, but I’ve seen others who got so down about their business struggles, that they literally started to repel potential clients. People became so used to hearing their negativity that they lost faith in their expertise. You’ll have had some good stuff happen along the way, so just keep relaying those stories to people who ask and who knows where it might lead?

If you’ve got any money tips for newbies starting a business, I’d love to hear them!

Don’t forget, if you’re a healthy lifestyle brand that needs a copywriter to help you write wonderful words for your website, blog and articles like this, email me!