Setting up your own business sounds like this crazy daunting thing, and at times it can be a bit scary and overwhelming but there are ways of making your life significantly easier.
It’s really all about making the most of all the awesome resources you can find online to help you get organised and feel like you’re on the right track in establishing what your business is, who your customers are and how to manage your finances.
The hard part is sifting through all the overpriced courses and templates that are *way* too basic or *way* too specific for what you need. So I’ve done part of the job for you, by listing all the resources I’ve been using to get my business going.
They work well for me, but they might not necessarily be exactly what you need – but at the very least they are a starting point!
Having a business plan in place is pretty important to get you heading in the right direction when there are lots of things to consider about how you’re going to operate.
From your brand values and who you are going to choose as your target customer, right through to what your income goals will be and how you will scale your business moving forward, a business plan will help you strategise in a way that gives you focus in everything you do.
Having a business plan was a bit scary for me at first, and I initially had this dull as hell Word document that said what I thought it had to say, and then I moved on to a more creative version with *this format* that I wrote a two-part series on.
I still stand by that format and think it will work for those that want something more top level, but I was recently introduced to Jen Carrington by Holly (abranchofholly) and her business plan for creatives has been so helpful as a deep dive exercise into what I want the business to be.
Bookkeeping may not be particularly ~fun~ but it is so important to keep on top of it. I used to take it for granted a bit, until I started reading Julia’s blog more regularly. Easy as VAT is such a brilliant source of handy blog posts that make finances seem more interesting and less terrifying.
Julia tackles topics such as self-assessment, pensions, and setting income goals for your business. She explains everything in a simple, straight-forward way which is exactly what I need when it comes to money matters!
Another resource well worth checking out for all things self-assessment is HMRC’s video’s over on Youtube.
As a self-employed business owner, the feeling of loneliness is all too real. Whether you just feel a bit of cabin fever from time to time, or you get overwhelmed and feel like no one around you really gets what it means to work for yourself, it’s so important to find a community to ask questions or chat with like-minded people.
My favourite Facebook group for this is Freelance Heroes. You can post any questions you have about something and you’ll get lots of great advice from fellow freelancers.
I had a situation recently where I was struggling to write a diplomatic email to a company that I felt weren’t the right fit for me, and within minutes I had a flurry of responses with guidance that allowed me to craft an email that I felt really happy with. It also helped with the anxiety I was experiencing to know that others had been in similar circumstances in the past, too. I hate letting people down but I was reassured that I was, in fact, making a smart decision by being upfront about not being the right fit.
Other community resources:
- Find a local networking group using First Friday Network
- Look at your local college or University website to see if they offer any business support or courses
- Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to find out what support they offer business owners
- Search the web for “business support in [your local area]” – you never know what you might find!
- Also, search the web for business support in your particular niche – there’s a surprising amount of information online that you don’t even have to pay for!
As a freelancer, I like to keep an eye on blogs for folks like me in order to get news and advice. Sometimes I might be hunting out something specific, other times I just want something to read with a cuppa that is also going to help me in my day-to-day.
Here are a few of the blogs I regularly read:
- Freelancer News – great for general freelancer information, advice and news
- Buffer – Buffer is not only my favourite social media scheduling tool but one of my favourite resources for staying up to date on all things social media
- Problogger – Problogger is blogging specific (no surprises there), but they often share productivity tips and the like which can really be handy sometimes!
Now it’s time for you to go forth and get happy with your business! It is a constant work in progress, but it is well worth it. By using these resources above, you can get many of the basics in place and stay educated on what will work best for you as your business grows inevitable legs!
Do you have any favourite resources for running your business? Let me know in the comments!