If you’re considering staring out in freelancing, working for yourself or working from home, these 10 golden rules are a great place to start.
- Base the business on what you enjoy. When your hobby/passion/skill becomes your full time job, it never really feels like work
- Write a plan. Prepare a basic business plan to set out your vision, market and how you propose to reach out and sell to that market. Include financials and review the plan every six months or so
- Find dedicated space. Create space in the house that is your workspace. When in that space you’re in business mode and you can walk away at the end of the working day. Invest in a good desk and chair as you will be spending quite a bit of time at and in them!
- Create a professional front door. When customers come calling, be sure they’re met with a professional welcome. This applies to the way your answer calls, to your website, company stationery and even the places in which you choose to meet with clients
- Make the most of social media. Tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin have been warmly embraced by the home business community. They are free to sue and act as business development channel and a virtual water cooler for the moments when you miss the banter of an out-of-home office.
- Become an expert: Set yourself up as an expert in your field by blogging/tweeting about the subject, writing a report, publishing a book or hosting an event. Being an expert gives credibility and with that, comes customers.
- Never stop learning: Part of becoming an expert is continually picking up intelligence from those around you. Keep an eye on what others in your industry are doing, read about successful entrepreneurs and tune in to trend-spotters so you can prepare for new market opportunities.
- Do what you do best and outsource the rest. To grow the business, focus on the core product of the company and subcontract non-core tasks to other experts and professionals. Tasks like admin, accounting and PR
- Get out of the House! Attend networking events, work form the local café, sign up to a personal development course. It’s good to get out of the home office but be sure you can still be contacted and respond via your mobile/laptop/webmail etc. This is your road warrior kit!
- Follow the golden triangle. To keep the business in balance, spend roughly a third of your time on three things: customer care, business development and admin. That way you’ll have a smooth running business with happy customers and new income streams on the way!
Emma Jones is founder of small business support network, Enterprise Nation which has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses, continues to be the most active UK small business community and a leading campaigning voice for small business.
Emma is also the author of Spare Room Start UP- How to start a business from home, ‘Working 5 to 9‘, ‘The StartUp Kit‘ and ‘Go Global‘