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Who wants to be an entrepreneur? Start here... (and those who are, help here please!?)

(410 Posts)
WilfSell Tue 21-Aug-12 17:15:35

OK, I was inspired by the 'earn 1k a month working from home' thread, which turned into an inspiring if terrifying 'don't sell yourself short' thread. And wondered if, those of us who might like to work for ourselves but don't currently, could get started here? I aim to keep my job, and perhaps try to move to part-time at some point. I have some business ideas, some good, some over-ambitious, mostly attempts to roll-out my current skills into a private consultancy, not necessarily linked to my existing job (university research/teaching).

I know it is an incredibly tricky time to think about this, and I'm sure it is not easy or comfortable to make a living... But some people manage it, so why shouldn't more of us?

WilfSell Tue 21-Aug-12 17:34:47

OK, I've discovered (I've been away from MN a LONG time..) that there is a MN 'Academy' - who knew? And that is runs courses for women interested in start-ups: start business course...

There must also be free help and support for thinking about these things. I know my university offers help to staff and students thinking of spin-outs from research and other business ideas; presumably the local chamber of commerce does stuff (or is that for more established businesses?) and various other organisations?

I'm still more interested in hearing from people who've set up a consultancy from scratch though. Presumably contacts and reputation are the most important starting point, as well as demand for your services?!

And also interested in hearing from people who have decided to make and sell things; or just sell them... especially when you didn't start out doing this. What gave you the confidence to get started?

DolomitesDonkey Tue 21-Aug-12 18:25:13

My local chamber of commerce does tons of stuff for new businesses - most of it's free, but some is paid - but very cheap. I can also claim mileage for driving to these courses or to the chamber of commerce itself.

I am setting up a consultancy - my biggest mistake I think was thinking "build it and they will come" - well um, they didn't. But I'm turning that rapidly around right now (see my thread "Marketing for dummies"). It's being re-built and they are now coming.

I'm doing a lot of networking on linkedin - building my brand and exposing my expertise. I'm answering "how to" questions online (always linking back to my site of course!) and I'm doing a 1hr free webinar next month. It's partially to get people interested and partly so I can test my concepts - any feedback will be great!

I was really "scared" that colleagues & former classmates would "laugh" at my ideas and ambitions - but I must say not one snide word has been made - to my ears at least! wink I thought I had some personality attributes which would help my consultancy so I set up an anonymous survey and asked my friends to list my 3 greatest attributes. I mostly got the answers I expected - and one quote which has totally blown me away. I keep going back and re-reading it blush - this person clearly has a lot of faith in me!

I am working full-time right now - as the breadwinner I'm not in a position to give it all up and sit and wait for clients. Thankfully consultancy start-up costs are minimal! I hope to service some clients evenings & weekends - or a few hours during the day, or I'll take time off work. I'm able to use a special "parenting leave" agreement and go part-time without losing benefits, so that will probably be an option in the future - I'm very cautious about fucking up and having no cash coming in!

I've made my 1 month, 3 month, 1 year, 3 year and 5 year plans so I know what I'm working towards and why I'm doing this.

Oh and I went to the cash & carry at lunchtime and pampers were dirt cheap - that's got to be worth filling a form in for! grin

nankypeevy Tue 21-Aug-12 20:17:37

I've read the £1k thread with interest! And, I'm as I'm not sure why people name change on MN, and as I've nothing to hide (well, apart from a pile of laundry that's failing to put itself away) then I'm not going to bother.

I'm returning to work after 9 years of breeding and bogie wiping. Staying off was a deliberate choice - we've done a lot of budgeting and lived on one salary so that our children would be shouted at nurtured by a parent. Not fashionable, but it suited us just fine. I've done enough private and voluntary work to keep my pofessional registration going, but that's all.

I'm a physio - I've got a post-grad in sports medicine but my last job was in the community. So, that was mostly elder care and people who were housebound.

Happily, there's been lots of research in the last ten years into the effects of exercise on older people. Turns out, it's awfully good for them - in fact, those over 75 have a BETTER response to strength and fitness training than elite athletes. Wow. They gain functional benefits faster, so they fall less, their memory improves, their incidence of disease drops faster...it's going to cause a revolution in geriatric medicine. And, happily, it marries together my experience with elite athletes (I've worked with assorted national teams at assorted international events, not the Olympics, but I did look after Commonwealth and pro teams) and my love of and experience with geriatrics.

Anyhoo, I need a job that will accommodate school hours and be flexible for school terms. Most elderly people really don't want to be seen before 10 am -school run sorted, perfect.

My plan is to build up a client base to generate some income. Write up my research based exercise sessions for the elderly fit, the elderly frail, the confused, the chairbound and the bedbound. Make links with nursing homes and run the exercise groups for free for six months - in return I'll get to measure the residents' balance and strength etc. I will use the stats to write a paper proving that my combination of research based exercises improve the physical and mental health of the participants.

The ratified exercises can then be packaged up as courses to sell to residential homes. The cheapest way for them to deliver exercise is with their own staff, so I'll train their staff.

And, if it works - franchise it.

So, short term goals - stop procrastinating and get the website up.
Med term goals - generate a reputation as The Expert on physio for older people living in the community.
Long term goals - have staff running it for me and franchisees building a pension for me.
Really long term goals - DH comes to work for me and jacks in his job at which he excels, but is confined to an office and he misses being outside.

I'm aware that I've just effectively published what my business plan is - but, I'm taking a leaf out of Xena's book. The chances of anyone matching my qualifications, experience, talents, brains, common sense and sense of humour and so being able to nick my idea is slim...whereas, someone might read it and think "got to get this woman to come and see my place!" are maybe higher.

...or, is that a foolish idea? Working for the NHS does not teach you much about business...

Now - Dolomites: can you explain to me what on earth linkedin is? I've had invitations from people I know personally to join, and it's seemed to me to look like another time suck. Is it like facebook for work?

Right, am away to write up some of my fandabbydoo website. It's a corker - way better than the competitions...or, it will be if I can get the blasted thing up and running...

DolomitesDonkey Tue 21-Aug-12 20:21:17

Yep, it's Facebook where you don't swear or like borderline dodgy comments.

WilfSell Tue 21-Aug-12 20:30:47

Great posts. Thank you for sharing your experience/plans.

I am not at that stage yet... But I am chewing over ideas. I don't know whether it is wise to share every detail, but I guess people often say 'someone will always do what you do, you have to just do it better!'

I need to go to my employer's business development unit first I think, and see what opportunities there are to develop consultancy within my job. Sure, they will take a cut but on the other side, they also offer (my!) IP and lots of infrastructure/reputation. I'm also thinking about applying for a secondment out there in the real world (universities are not real grin) to see if I can hack it!

But I am pretty entrepreneurial full stop - I do all the social media marketing for our department, I like to start new projects in and out of work and see them through (I just started a self-funding community choir!). Just need to find the thing I can bill for in one of the poorest areas of the country.. ho hum.

IrishSea Tue 21-Aug-12 20:46:05

Another one here inspired by the £1000 a day website and would love to join in.

I had already decided to go down the self employed route - hence being on this part of the site, but the timing of that thread was perfect and very inspirational.

I also work full time and am the main bread winner although my DH is finally beginning to catch up. My business plan is actually related to what my self employed DH does. He makes high end bespoke concrete things. I believe there is a niche for a low brow concrete version of what he makes, but he won't 'lower' himself to to it!

My trouble is that other than being married to a concrete specialist I have no experience - I work in a totally different field (investment management). So I plan to start slowly (via the internet and through some outlets) and aim to hand in my notice on 1 August 2013 (the day after bonuses are paid).

It's v early days, but exciting!

PS I think of LinkedIn as Facebook for grown-ups smile

porridgelover Tue 21-Aug-12 21:57:12

Wilfsell, thanks for starting this thread. I too posted on that other thread and having being thinking hard about it since. I found Xenias posts challenging and energising.

nanky...I hope you dont mind my saying but I got butterflies reading your post. I am an OT with lots of Paeds postgrad training and experience. I also have a SN child which I think gives me a unique perspective on the challenges for parents, and how therapy works in with family life. I have been thinking and thinking about making a serious go of having my own business instead of dabbling in private practice.

I know enough about geriatric care from my early career rotations to know that what you envisage is absolutely true and vital...and I would have thought that the much-flagged aging population profile would work into your plans. I could envisage you being contracted into private care settings, care-of-the-elderly groups, active retirement etc etc

As you say, the health services (I have worked in several countries) does not set one up with business acumen. So I'd love to know where to go for that. I have a serious case of bleeding-heart and find it very difficult to charge properly.

Any advice gratefully received.

nankypeevy Tue 21-Aug-12 22:36:06

porrige - it is exciting, isn't it?

I saw a bit of how business works when I worked in a private company after doing a stint playing with the handsome boys in NZ's healthcare system.

The company was owned by a businessman with no care background at all - he had a daughter-in-law who was a physio and she suggested occupational health was a growth area.

He set up a company that provided in-house physio services, manual handling training and ergonomics advice.

I learned a great deal - not least that it's not That Hard to sell a service to someone who needs to provide the service to their workforce because of legislation. He used to take me along to some pitching, I'd try to look knowlegable and he'd do the spiel. He didn't have a clue about the actual service, but he was a great salesman.

I also eventually realised that he was making a good living on the back of my hard work...

Bleeding heart is tricky. If it helps you feel better - I'm supposed to charge £60/hour for a domi visit under the CSP guidelines. That's never going to happen - it feels too much like ripping off old ladies...my patient list is currently all sports stuff generated through word of mouth - I'm supposed to charge £35 a treatment in a clinic, I'm actually muttering "is 20 quid ok?" in an apologetic tone, because I know they know that's what I charged the original person who referred them to me. Mates Rates - should never have started it.

Then I get cross with myself and think what a plumber would charge me for a call out. So, am I not as skilled as a plumber? are my services not as useful? Why am I not charging for them then?

It's a cultural thing - healthcare is free here, so it is Very Difficult to justify charging people for something that you believe should be free.

However...they CAN opt for the NHS. They just won't get me there. And, I'm shit hot, and I am worth it (oooh, look at me shaking my hair around right on cue) because I am WAY better than the other private options available to them.

The reality is, I'll charge a middle ground for my services. Long term, I need to employ people who are qualified to deliver exercise classes (not necessarily physios) and pay them well, but charge them out for more.

There's no real money to be made from hands on treatments. People who are drawn to healthcare are not, in the main, naturally cut throat. Having said that, you could easily make double your NHS salary for less hours and less hassle, and more control...and, that's a very attractive option to me given that I left the NHS before Agenda for Change destroyed everyone's soul...

You know what would be really useful? Teaching undergrads what it is like to be on the other side of the fence, from someone who also understands the service. A surgeon friend of mine landed up on ITU for weeks and having lots of rehab. She did a bit of lecturing to medical students - brilliant. Have you read "the diving bell and the butterfly" by Jean Claude Bauby (?sp) He had locked in syndrome and wrote a tiny book about his experiences by blinking. It's a work of genius, the way he describes the people delivering his care is really insightful. Though, I'm afraid he wasn't much enamoured by the OT and just seemed to fancy his PT.

Anyway - there is a definite need for people like you to teach our students. Invaluable. If you've got post-grad, have you got enough to lecture? Or write a book?

What's the thing that families need, that's not being supplied? SN creche? A directory with all the services they'd benefit from, but not be able to find? Can you deliver that?

Is there something needing re-designed and you know what needs to be done (I'm thinking specifically about car transfers for SN kids that are too big to lift. A friend of mine has a hoist fitted in the house - but it's really tricky getting her 9 year old daughter into the car, even with a swivel car seat) Charging people for OT services is never going to make £1k a day...but, getting a patent for a product that works and solves a problem for eg. the NHS or a charity working with dependent kids? That's where you can make money.

Right. Who wants to be ma pal oan linkedin?

DolomitesDonkey Wed 22-Aug-12 06:10:29

WillSelf Be careful not to fall in to the trap mentioned on the "1000 quid" thread of wanting everything "perfect" before you start. My ideas have been continuously evolving and I've learned so much - just even seemingly innocuous things like if you use Adwords (and your chamber of commerce will likely give you a free voucher) - then don't let people in India/Gambia/Egypt click on your ads - they are not going to use your service and yet you pay for them clicking your bloody link! So much to learn!

And can I say, you are an expert. You're a university lecturer right? Exactly who do you think is 'better' than you? It clicked with me the other day that I've spent 12 years + doing what I do in international environments for household names - of course I'm qualified! Next week as part of my day job I'm giving a presentation at the global HQ of a household name who is my current client. And getting paid considerably less than 1000 quid for it... sad So yes, I am and you are perfectly capable of this.

Is anyone up for a private fb group to link up there/twitter/linkedin etc? If yes, please PM me your details and I'll set up a group.

Fwiw (I'm no health care professional) I see enormous amounts of money in healthcare and I will probably target it myself at some point in the future. You only need to see what people will pay for a doula/private midwife/etc. I live overseas and private companies like the ones you suggest are contracted by the health insurance providers and seem to do very well. From a personal pov I'd much rather the head of such an organisation actually comes from a medical background!

Xenia Wed 22-Aug-12 07:46:07

I agree. Things will never be perfect and you just have to get on and do it.

Just one point for those still employees read your employment contract really really carefully.

1. Check what it stops you doing whilst you are still employed.

2. Look at what it prevents you from doing after you cease employment.

3. Be careful about taking any confidential information or intellectual property from the employer when you leave too.

DolomitesDonkey Wed 22-Aug-12 08:36:01

Good point! I spoke to my manager and legal before doing this - had there been objections I might've set it up in my husband's name...

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 08:37:05

<marks place>

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 09:55:39

Am ready to be inspired.

I am trying to set up a business as Social Media Consultant. I have been 'working' in this area for a couple of years now, but on a unpaid hobby basis, and I do think that there is a market for it in my area. I am in Scotland, so there is not quite the same competition as in London area for example.

I have written a book and am holding one of the MN Academy courses next month. One thing I would say is that if you are doing a course look carefully into it. I decided to offer a course here because a friend went to a free one from the Chamber of Commerce and said it was pretty useless.

So, yes - investigate if there are free courses in your area, but also consider if shelling out some money will get you a better course.

I chatted to a friend recently and he was telling me that he signed up with Yell and that they running his website. Turns out it is a v basic website, that he is paying a lot of money for and it is not even personal to his business - no photos of his work, just generic pics. He was also saying that he really needs someone to run the website, eg putting pics on there, but also answering emails because he doesn't have time to do this.

My idea is to offer a service where I set up and run a website - charging the same as Yell but offering personal services such as the answering of email enquiries, telephone enquiries, posting of photos, little articles about what the company is working on etc. He is v interested and thinks that a few of his colleagues would be too.

Combined with the occasional course, I think that this could be quite profitable. I am not aiming to make millions, but to be able to help to support the family. And it is something that I enjoy doing.

DolomitesDonkey Wed 22-Aug-12 10:00:08

I think you've got a good point there MsLindor - I wouldn't trust the chamber of commerce to be cutting edge with social media/SEO - however, they're bang on the money with the tax ones and the one I went to had 2 representatives from the chambers' and two from the tax office - so we had real experts there to grill.

How did you get to do the mn academy course? I did take a quick gander at the academy site but didn't see any button to press entitled "I'm an expert, let me speak!".

Xenia Wed 22-Aug-12 10:05:28

Perhaps you should aim to earn millions. May be that is the problem too many women have, low expectations and aiming low. Anyway good luck with it. It is certainly a growing market. We met someone abroad whose adult son was brilliant at maths, set up a web optimisation and in a year had 30 staff working for him (this was in Canada).

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 10:12:40

Dolomites
I had been thinking about offering courses, so when I saw the Academy was being founded, I emailed and asked them if they were interested, with a brief resume of what I have done so far. One thing I was impressed by when I was starting all of this was
This will be my first course, and tbh I would earn a lot more doing it myself but it is good exposure.

this video of Steve Jobs. It really helped me to find the confidence to just ask.

Xenia
You never know - DH is always telling me to aim high. I am hoping that the book will be successful. The publishers are looking to sell it to foreign markets, so that would help.

DolomitesDonkey Wed 22-Aug-12 10:32:13

I would need to consider if my service is actually appropriate for mn at large - certainly the working mums, but not the SAHM's.

I have a good & thick question for anyone who might know - yesterday I went to the cash & carry (makro) for the first time. There were two prices on the shelves, one without VAT and one with. I mentally totted up using the price with. When I got out and checked my receipt every single item on the list was LESS than had been on the shelf. WTF?

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 10:39:37

They are not just looking for courses that would suit mums, so worth thinking about. You can always drop Patrick and email and ask.

WilfSell Wed 22-Aug-12 12:02:55

MmeL, I thought you were in Switzerland?! I've been away too long!

Yeah, good point about the contract. Mine is VERY clear that making use of what is effectively the university's IP without them taking a cut is Not Allowed, which is why I'm thinking of a spin out with them first, to test the idea. And unless officially part-time, I'm not really allowed to take on additional employment without their permission. There are also all sorts of rules about using software, resources etc intended for educational use that may not be used for commercial use so I need to be careful about the boundaries.

Yes, I am an expert, but I don't yet know the value of my expertise outside of academic settings. I think this, combined with some of my softskills (training/teaching, management, marketing etc) makes it a reasonable proposition though.

Empusa Wed 22-Aug-12 12:06:38

I like this thread!

After health problems that mean I've
a) been off wok a long time
and
b) can't return to my previous type of job

I'm hoping to start my own business. It sounds terrifying but I figure it'll be more rewarding and will be good for DS

WilfSell Wed 22-Aug-12 12:08:12

I'm on annual leave right now: if only my children would entertain themselves I could do a bit of planning! grin

Xenia Wed 22-Aug-12 12:19:03

It might be worth our putting here a link to women earning £1000 a day thread on this thread too as there was some quite interesting material on it.
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/freelancers/1538634-How-might-I-earn-1000-a-month-working-from-home

On this question:
"have a good & thick question for anyone who might know - yesterday I went to the cash & carry (makro) for the first time. There were two prices on the shelves, one without VAT and one with. I mentally totted up using the price with. When I got out and checked my receipt every single item on the list was LESS than had been on the shelf. WTF?"

If the item is an item VAT is charged on (it is on adult's but not children's clothes, on some food but not (hence heated pasty issue in the press)) then in theory if paper costs £10 plus VAT (£2 VAt - 20%%) so paper including VAT as you might see it in WH SMith will be £12. The only reason they leave it off at makro is that if you are registered for VAT which means you must charge it to your customers (it is not charged on all services I think - some medical ones are exempt) you can claim it back.

So if I send a bill to a customer for £288 (which is an hour of my time) that includes VAT of £48. If they are in business that costs them £240 and they can claim back the £288. If they were not in business it would be an extra cost to them with no chance to claim it back. In fact it was in the press this week that perhaps we should not charge VAT on intermediate transactions as it has led to so much VTA fraud. You might get 6 consultants down a line of supply each charging VAT an then claiming it back - think of all that wasted time in the economy . Would be better if only the ultimate customer had to be charged and pay it although even that is painful (thinking of the almost £1k VAT I have to pay on our new gas boilers). Better get back to work....

There is a generla law that if you do not say if a price includes VAT or not it is deemed to include it (so always best to tell people if your price is plus VAT and it is sensible for people to take some advice on when it is worth registering for VAT (you can claim it back but have to charge it to customers - so if your competitors are not registered you will be 20% more expensive than they are) and when you have to in law - there are turnover thresholds and if you supply something that is exempt.

Empusa Wed 22-Aug-12 12:22:56

Oh god.. give me some fairly complex computer coding and I'm happy as anything, but reading all that about VAT fried my brain! confused

Xenia Wed 22-Aug-12 13:03:14

It certainly wasn't very well written by me. The basic points are easy:-

1. If you earn over £77k and we are trying to get women earning £1k a day which is about £250k a year, then for most services and sales of goods you register for VAT. This is not difficult and costs nothing and means you can claim back all the VAT you spend on things you buy for your business like paper, phone bills etc So basically you get money out of it.

2. You also then have to charge your customers VAT which is not a problem if they are other businesses as they claim it back too and can make you look more professional. If you don't charge VAT they all know you don't earn much is under £77k.

So do not be put off in registering. You can register under £77k too if you want to as then you can claim back the VAT you are paying when you buy things.

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 13:45:22

Right, so it is already August and there is no way that I am going to make £77k in this year - except wait. VAT year is April to April, right?

Still unlikely.

Ok, so what happens if I get to March and then notice that I have indeed managed to earn over that sum? If I then register, I cannot go back and charge the customers that I have done work for in Dec VAT. So that comes out of my pocket. Is that right?

So I have to be very careful with my earnings. Or register now and include VAT, which I most likely won't need.

Tee2072 Wed 22-Aug-12 14:03:16

As MmeL knows, I already run a company that basically does she she is trying to do. I do it very part time as I have a young son but I am gearing up to market and ramp up as he is starting school very soon.

My main advice is:

1 Realize that you'll work harder than ever when you work for yourself
2 You will need childcare if you have a pre-school child
3 Don't trust anyone who calls themselves an expert on Social Media who doesn't have a Twitter account that is very very active. (Yes, I know someone like this. One of my clients nearly hired them until I pointed this fact out!)

LeChatRouge Wed 22-Aug-12 14:03:39

This is all very interesting and inspiring. I will try and come back and post later.

dontcallmehon Wed 22-Aug-12 14:39:51

Very interesting. I am a self employed tutor, hoping to set up a tutoring centre which specialises in English at first, though I will look to offer other subjects. I want to build it up so that eventually I have several centres operating in different areas. I also offer online services, like personalised study programmes for students who live abroad and again, this is something I want to expand on.

Although I know my stuff when it comes to tutoring, I feel hopelessly out of my depth when it comes to business, so this year I'm planning to work on my resources for the centre, devise a detailed business plan, do some market research and send myself on some courses. It is a long term plan, as I don't want to foolishly rush in without really knowing what I'm doing! Any advice/tips on here will be gratefully appreciated.

wannaBe Wed 22-Aug-12 14:54:27

ooh have just happened upon this thread.

After being a sahm for nine years and with there being limited opportunities for work anywhere it would seem, I am in the process of setting up my own business as a life coach.

I have done the training, just doing the hours now to gain my diploma, and in the meantime I have also done a group coaching course which I am going to use to start running workshops/seminars relating to confidence. And I am taking on individual clients too.

In terms of marketing/putting myself out there, I have a

blog

an

audioboo account

and a twitter account @fidescoaching (fides is latin for confidence) if anyone would like to follow/read/listen....

What are these mn courses of which people speak.

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 15:16:07

Wannabe
This is the course that I will be holding next month. It is geared towards small businesses, and for women returning to work after maternity leave.

Basically, MN have an Academy where they host freelance trainers teaching anything from car maintenance to pizza making.

Advantage for me - exposure, link to the brand of MN, they do the ticketing etc

DolomitesDonkey Wed 22-Aug-12 15:22:24

For ticketing - go to http://www.eventbrite.co.uk smile

DolomitesDonkey Wed 22-Aug-12 15:22:51
DolomitesDonkey Wed 22-Aug-12 15:24:38

Eventbrite is an absolutely fab service - makes your event searchable by location and the ticketing even handles VAT for you (if you choose to do so) - you can add discount codes, e.g., MUMSNET10 and they handle cc payments for you.

WilfSell Wed 22-Aug-12 15:25:07

OK, as thread starter, can I impose a rule suggestion, that you're allowed to advertise yourself ONLY ONCE, in return for sharing your expertise and only as long as MNHQ ignores it before deleting you for breaking their talk guidelines? grin

kicks self for not already having up and running website for free networking/advertising

wannaBe Wed 22-Aug-12 15:31:59

eventbright is a good resource - they have an app too.
MmeL how did you get to run the course - who did you have to contact and where or did you just fill in a suggestion on the acadomy page? And did you create your own pricing etc? (sorry haven't clicked your link yet so haven't seen what prices you are charging if any).

BIWI Wed 22-Aug-12 15:40:47

I started out on the freelance/self-employed route almost 15 years ago now. When I'm home from holiday I'll post something longer about my experiences, but for now (can't bear the iPad keyboard!) these are the two best pieces of advice I was given when I started:

1). Always charge for your services properly We have a tendency to undervalue ourselves - see all the posts above! - if you don't believe you're worth it, then your clients won't either. Work out your rate - per day or hour or unit, or whatever, and then add on another £100 or 10% or something. If you can, find out what your competition is charging and match or sell yourself for more. I have learnt that clients value things much more if they pay more for it!

2) You will be the worst boss you have ever had. When you plan your business you also need to think very carefully about the practicalities of when you are going to work, how available you are going to make yourself. In the current world of social media and the internet, you will be amazed at how much clients expect to be able to contact you 'out of hours'. You may think that this is ok and that you should be available to them 24 hours a day, but this soon becomes tiresome and will really intrude on your personal and family life. And once a client thinks you can be available at any time, they will expect that for ever more. I had a client who was too busy during the day to take or return calls, so she used to ring me on my mobile at 8pm in the evening, because this suited her - in the end, I allocated a different ringtone for her, so I could ignore it when she rang. Thankfully she got the message after that!

Equally if you are on Facebook/Twitter, keep your personal separate from your business.

Plan in carefully for time off. And make sure you pay yourself a proper salary - if your business won't sustain a decent amount of money for you, then you need to question your business plan. In the first few weeks/months as you are building it up, you may not make that much, but you need to plan for your business to pay you well when it's becoming more established.

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 15:45:33

Good advice, BIWI.

Yes, Wilf (sorry, I ignored your comment earlier - am back in UK now). We should be mindful of not breaking any MN rules.

If anyone would like to add me on LinkedIn, PM me. I have sadly neglected setting an account up till now, as I didn't really need it before.

DolomitesDonkey Wed 22-Aug-12 15:55:02

Right, I'm in the process of setting up a fb group so we can discuss/promote/etc. without stepping on anyone's toes - e.g., we can get each other's details and then big each other up on Twitter. wink

It seems that to set up a group we need to be fb friends - oh that tiresome tool. Anyway, if you'd like in - please PM me and we'll figure it out. I've added IrishSea, so if you'd rather go through her please do.

wannaBe Wed 22-Aug-12 15:57:23

dd I think I've pm'd you but can't be 100% sure (oh technology...)

MediumOrchid Wed 22-Aug-12 15:59:25

I am about to go on maternity leave from a full time job, and am hoping to use all the free time I will have (ha ha) to try a get a jewellery making business going. I have been doing this for about a year now, working with my retired mother, and we have a little studio in her house. When we sell to people we know, like people at work or church, we sell loads, but when we have sold at craft fairs we haven't been that successful, sometimes only just covering the costs of the stall.

I have made a website but so far no-one has bought from it - however I know that this is just because we haven't done any marketing for it! I have a facebook page and twitter account, but just haven't got around to using them or telling friends about them.

It's really hard to find the time to pursue the business when working full time in another job (and even harder to find the energy to when pregnant). My dream is to really build the business up while I'm on maternity leave so that I either don't have to go back or can afford to go back part time. I think it's probably unrealistic, but others seem to have managed to do it! This thread and the other one have been really inspiring though, I will keep reading for inspiration and encouragement!

nickelcognito Wed 22-Aug-12 16:06:19

God, talk about being your own worst boss!

You will refuse to give yourself holidays, except the days between christmas and new year.
your busiest times will be when your kids are on school holiday, so you won't be able to take them anywhere because you're working.
you'll end up paying yourself a pittance (if at all in the first couple of years) because you need all the money for your business.

If you have premises open to the public, you'll find that your whole life revolves around them, and you'll find it incredibly hard to accept when you should be open.
although, currently, I open at 10, and I'm tempted to start earlier because the new people next door have stupid fake plastic trees that they are putting outside their shop right where my A-board sign is supposed to go.
that means I can't put my sign anywhere visible, and their stupid fake plastic trees aren't even advertising their shop! they're just fake plastic trees!!
(bloody bins are in the way of the view of the pavement as you look down towards my shop)

nickelcognito Wed 22-Aug-12 16:06:47

i also made a website that no one ever looks at or buys from.
apart from sometimes when I beg them to wink

wannaBe Wed 22-Aug-12 16:07:09

My sister had a jewellery making business and she had the same experiences re craft fairs and eventually she just stopped doing them.

Ime often people go to those kinds of events just for a day out rather than with the actual idea of spending money iyswim. Have you tried doing home parties? My sister did one and was very successful - try to get a friend to host one for you maybe?

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 16:12:24

I agree, Wannabe with the craft fairs - my brother did one and it was pretty useless.

The women I know who have done well in selling jewellery have set up simple websites, and use etsy or similar to sell. Really good photos are a must, imo.

I will go and check out the FB group.

Am happy to give help/ideas about Twitter etc

I have done loads of stuff this year that has not earned me a penny, but is bringing great contacts. I was in Kenya blogging earlier this year, with the Gates Foundation and will be working for the TEDx team in Glasgow later in the year. All voluntary, but good contacts and interesting stuff.

Empusa Wed 22-Aug-12 16:13:08

That's interesting about craft fairs, was thinking of doing one with a friend. Maybe I'll rethink that.

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 16:15:01

Empusa
it might be that some are better than others, I am not sure.

Thanks, Wilf, for starting this thread. You have inspired me to get a website set up that I will use as an example when I go around touting for business.

nickelcognito Wed 22-Aug-12 16:15:20

yes, that's true - my sister makes stuff (sewing) and they're really good, but she's found that craft fairs just aren't worth the while.
You think about everything that you have to make just to have enough to fill a stall, and then you pay for the stall itself.
you're lucky to break even on the stuff you sell, never mind the stuff that's left behind afterwards.

(as a completely fictional example)
you make 50 items with a retail value of £10 each.
it costs you (in materials alone, not including labour) around £5 to make each one.
the craft stall costs £10 for the day
it costs you £10 at least to get the stuff there, even close by and in your own car. (factoring in car costs)
you're there for 5 hours and you might sell 10 things.
that's £50 you've taken.
but! you've spent out (5 x 50 + 10 + 10 = ) £270.
so you've made a loss of £220.

Even if you do another craft fair next week, and don't make anything for it, you've still got to apy out the £10+£10 for being there, and you might sell another 10 things.
so now you're
£220 + £10 +£10 = £240 down before you've sold anything.
sell 10 things = £50.
so now you're at a £190 loss.

there's not a lot you can buy at craft fairs that are fewer than £10, and those that are probably aren't worth selling, iyswim.

wannaBe Wed 22-Aug-12 16:20:00

agree free exposure is a good thing.

My blog and audio won't bring me money, but i know that especially my audio has had an impact, and that if I'm going to run workshops/seminars etc and even to talk to individual clients the way I talk will be something that people will bear in midn and which might ultimately draw me to them. Indeed I have been approached by someone who has purely picked up on my tweets/audio posts who now wants me to run some seminars for the college he works for.

I need to get a website but my knowledge of web development is limited at best.

nickelcognito Wed 22-Aug-12 16:30:17

free exposure is so hard to judge though.

i have articles constantly in my local paper and it's not brought anyone extra in (that i can tell).
all i get is "funny" comments from people i know about being "in the paper again"

paid for exposure:
i've got my website, which is googlable
thomson directory listing
yellow pages book and website listing
occasional adverts
2 loyalty schemes (soon to be 3)

free stuff:
facebook page
twitter
blogspot (for this week eleanor loves...)
newspaper stuff
i've just registered on Pinterest too.
youtube account (only one vid so far)

and i list on ebay sometimes and also that site that is killing independents (the irony)
i also have an account with a wholesaler that does www.hive.co.uk, for indies, where we get a commission (very small though) for any online sales through them.

wannaBe Wed 22-Aug-12 16:35:33

I think it really depends what kind of business it is you're running as to whether the free exposure has any impact or not.

so e.g. if you're running a business that provides a physical product, it's a lot harder because you want people to buy that physical product - you can't really provide free samples of it to people iyswim.

But in my line of business the product I provide is more of a here and now product i.e. people may want or need coaching, they may not actually realise they want it, or they may realise it but not know where to go. Or they may just need some inspiration in which case they may read my tweets or read my blog and then gain something from that. And because it's only a snapshot, if they want more they will come back to me.

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 16:36:24

Nickel
What brings most trade? Traditional media or new (social) media?

Wannabe
You don't need to be a web designer to create a website.

Part of my business concept is that I have seen that Yell are going around signing up tradesmen to their 'concept' which is basically a generic website with very little personal info - the friend of mine hadn't even looked at it, and we discovered that they had totally false info on it (totally his fault for not looking, but I think that Yell are focussing on those who are not tech savvy, but keep getting told, 'Oh, you have to have a website these days!'. So they sign up to Yell, never look at it, rarely check their emails and then wonder that it doesn't bring any business!

nickelcognito Wed 22-Aug-12 16:41:39

Mme - i'm not sure.
i get the most comments from social media, but i don't think it translates into sales.

nickelcognito Wed 22-Aug-12 16:43:52

oh, no, you don't need to be a website designer!

my website is from webeden, and it's rather cheap.
you get loads of templates to choose from, and once you've got a template, you can completely redesign it from there - it's simple like desktop publishing.

mine looks absolutely nothing like the template i chose!

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 16:44:09

I think that your case is a tricky one, because your followers on social media are not all local.

nickelcognito Wed 22-Aug-12 16:46:21

yes, that's a huge disadvantage.

i have to keep flagging up that i do mail order.
but then, because i'm not selling something niche, why would they choose me over everyone else?
it's very good for flagging events, though.
and i'm getting more local followers now, through the people who "like" me already and share my events on their own profiles.
it's slow, though.

Ok this & the other thread have really inspired me.

I've been self-employed for years, background of nursing but trained as a Clinical aromatherapist around the kids to give me some PT work. Did that partly from home partly from a clinic but it didn't pay in the end as the hours I wanted to work/could work due to Exes shiftwork & not having childcare made it unviable. Did various pyramind selling things that worked for a while but everyone got on the bandwagon. Started a daycare nursery-big success but FT really but next to home(barn conversion) so after 10 years with a tricky divorce sold that.

Now at the next phase of my life with lots of ideas, can I join the FB group please?

MediumOrchid Wed 22-Aug-12 16:52:08

Craft fairs - I see some people at them being very sucessful, and others hardly selling anything all day. I think it's hard because when people visit a craft fair they might be intending to buy one thing, from one of the stalls there, so there's a low chance it's going to be from your one. I don't think they are necessarily a waste of time to do - you get to meet other people in a similar field, and get ideas. The trick is not to spend more than you've earned buying other people's products! Also choose the fairs you do discerningly - what sort of people are going to be interested in your products? Will they be at that fair?

Parties - hmm, maybe - I'm not very outgoing though and I get the feeling you need to be to do that sort of thing.

Yes, good photos are a must, and a bit of a problem for us as our jewellery is glass which is very hard to photograph!

I'd be interested a facebook group if one is set up. smile

Another thing I've considered doing is web design as I made my website myself, using free shopping cart software, but personalising it so it's not identical to lots of others. Perhaps small businesses might be interested in having an individual person set up a website for them, rather than a generic one from a big company?

onesandwichshort Wed 22-Aug-12 16:53:21

Can I join too? I'm starting properly in September, licensing vintage designs to manufacturers, and possibly also selling limited edition prints myself as well. I've got one manufacturer on board already, and just need to tidy up some copyright issues before I go out and sell properly.

I doubt it's going to make a fortune but it will be interesting (I have never done anything like this before) and might even pay enough money to justify my doing it.

MrJudgeyPants Wed 22-Aug-12 16:56:03

Wilfsell I'm in a bit of a hurry so haven't gone through all the previous posts - I apologise if I repeat what has gone before.

The best of luck to you. Starting your own business can be the most exhilarating thrill (it can also be a lot of hard work, but let’s concentrate on the positives!!!). I should know, I've had businesses I've started that failed completely, whilst the business I run now (A very specialised engineering consultancy) has had boom times and lean times. On balance though, I wouldn't want it any other way.

My advice would be to firstly, know what you are selling and who you are selling to, secondly, have a decent accountant - they will save you a fortune, thirdly, only borrow money when there is no alternative and finally, get in touch with the local business groups. It's a tough time to start a business but I've always found that the smaller businesses are the more innovative ones. They tend to be faster to react to trends and can often carve a niche ahead of the bigger players. In that context, now is the time to start because big businesses are more risk averse in the current climate so are even slower to react.

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 17:02:06

I use wordpress for my websites. As Nickel says, you can make them very individual.

Jewellery sellers - it might be worth finding a professional photographer to take photos of your items. Or v talented amateur

I only have one rule that I would like added to this thread, Wilf.

Never ever EVER refer to me as a Mumpreneuer <barf>

NellyJob Wed 22-Aug-12 17:37:11

(marks place)

NellyJob Wed 22-Aug-12 17:38:06

is there a FB group?

Empusa Wed 22-Aug-12 17:42:10

Would it be really cheeky to point out I do a bit of web design..? wink

NellyJob Wed 22-Aug-12 17:47:14

really empusa? and do you register with search engines and stuff?
I already have a website that I made myself but these crap ads keep popping up on it now, besides I need to register a different domain name.
would you be able to help?

wannaBe Wed 22-Aug-12 17:53:25

my problem with web design is that it is very visual. As I am VI this is something which i struggle with. I could probably design a basic website but to make it visually appealing is something which I would need help with. Added to that many of the web design tools aren't overly accessible with a screenreader. I struggle with wordpress for my blog as it is.

Empusa Wed 22-Aug-12 17:54:57

You can register with search engines, but it is actually easier and more effective to just get the link out there. The more links back to your site the better, and the more popular the site linking to you the better.

So getting a link from MN would be more effective than a link from mummyswebsitechattyplace.com IYSWIM?

I could definitely help if you send me a message smile

Tee2072 Wed 22-Aug-12 17:58:35

Well, if Empusa can do an advert. grin

I'm also a Graphic Artist. Anyone need a logo? Some letterhead? Business cards?

A web site that incorporates your whole brand and uses Social Media?

wannaBe Wed 22-Aug-12 18:00:04

oh I need a logo!

Empusa Wed 22-Aug-12 18:00:33

Ooh Tee I didn't realise! Can I be nosey and see some of your work? Love seeing other designers work!

Tee2072 Wed 22-Aug-12 18:13:12

I'm actually in the middle of a huge site redesign so I haven't bothered to update my gallery, but I'll PM you my URL.

Empusa Wed 22-Aug-12 18:15:02

Star smile Doing a full redesign myself, it's obviously the season for it!

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 18:26:56

Could we do a bit of a deal here? Those with experience in one area could help those with experience in another area.

I do basic website design using Wordpress - I can make it look pretty but haven't gone into SEO etc. My personal blog seems to be ok, as I get a lot of google hits, presumably cause I've been linked from MN and from Gates Foundation blogs and the Guardian website.

Twitter and Social Media is my speciality so would gladly help anyone looking for help in that area.

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 18:27:43

I am needing to do some work on my blog but have no time for it. Have learned loads since setting it up.

Empusa Wed 22-Aug-12 18:28:34

Sounds good to me smile As long as people don't mind being featured in my portfolio?

Tee2072 Wed 22-Aug-12 18:32:44

MMeL I am trying to build my entire business around 'I have site but no time to keep it up to date'!

Everyone has a website. When was the last time you: -

- Checked all your links
- Made sure it's 100% grammar and language perfect
- Added new content?

That's what I do...

WilfSell Wed 22-Aug-12 18:34:06

Oooh, it's like MN business networking...

I don't even have a proper idea yet grin just thrashing around. I know it makes sense to move in the field you are most qualified/trained in, but I'm really interested to hear from people who have moved into a completely different field, even if it was a great risk!

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 18:36:58

Tee
It would take me weeks to check all the links. I did check the ones that are on my pages, cause they are the ones that are clicked most.

Empusa
Well, that would be the idea. I need a couple of 'clients' on my website that I can use as examples, so would be willing to do some work for someone if I can use that as a reference.

NellyJob Wed 22-Aug-12 18:37:15

100% grammar and language is so important.
I was looking a jewellery website the other day and it looked quite swish, but had glaring grammar mistakes plastered across the homepage, which let it down in a big way.
Funnily enough I have a proofreading business, so do send me a message if you need a proofreader.grin
empusa I will send you a PM this evening.

nankypeevy Wed 22-Aug-12 18:49:48

I'm always really impressed by people that can do websites and social media stuff.

I paid a dad at the school gate to write mine - and he's done a good job (well, I think so, but I'd be grateful for feedback...

www.keepmobilephysiotherapy.co.uk )

There's my brass neck, ladies, right there!

Because he was doing it cheap as a favour, I said "oh no, don't worry about the meta tags, I'll do that" he showed me how, I forgot, got in a mess and can't figure it out...

so my website doesn't come up on google. At all. And, he showed me how to make a word like "treatment" light up so that it links with a click to the page where I witter on about treatments. Can I do that? Eh, nope.

And, I can't see how to delete pages that I decided were surplus to requirements.

And, it just me weep with frustration! I am a dinosaur, hear me rooooooaaaaarrrrr.

Blogging, actual writing - that's not a problem to me. Twittering and facebook - I've used those for some stand up comedy I do, so that's vaguely familiar.

But - getting that stupid bloody badge with that stupid bloody bird on it to sit on my webpage? Scuppered.

I know a girl who was an amateur photographer. Really talented, no formal training, but, seriously good at portraits. Through facebook, twitter, linkedin, netmums (ssshhh) and a bunch of other online social stuff she has built herself up a business. She's making really good money, and doing really well - all from facebook. Clever.

I need to learn that - small businesses need the free advertising and the word of mouth. But, it Just Bores Me To Tears.

I want to spend my time doing my actual job. i'm bloody good at my actual job, and I like it. My problem is going to be being disciplined enough to knuckle down and keep my books up to date, keep the social guff going and not land up procrastinating on mumsnet...

LargeLatte Wed 22-Aug-12 18:56:51

IMO this will be a lot easier in a FB group, but i can't create one until I've got at least one friend I can add to it - then I can put up a link to the group and you can request to join.

So if you're interested, PM me your FB name and I'll friend request you to get the ball rolling.

After that we don't all need to be friends on FB - can be in the group without seeing everyone elses personal stuff.

LargeLatte Wed 22-Aug-12 19:00:53

Just realized that was my first comment on this thread so you might be wondering who the hell I am.

I've been reading this and the £1k a month thread with interest. Am already self employed, work online but just scraping by.

Would be really interested in having a FB group of other MN entrepreneurs where we can share skills, experiences and motivation.

onesandwichshort Wed 22-Aug-12 19:06:38

Wilf - I'm starting out in a completely different area, but have only just begun so I can't really reassure you that much.

Having said that, it's a niche area that I've been blogging about for a couple of years now so I've established a presence and some expertise (of some kind) before starting to use it to sell things. The blog came first - as a way of just keeping my brain ticking over, no grand plan - then the business opportunity kind of arose from that.

One thing I would say about social media etc is that it's not just about sales. I built up a Twitter network around the niche my blog is in (a very specific vintage collectable), and that has been a huge help in setting up the business, I've been able to do informal market research, get contacts for manufacturers, have lawyers recommended, and all through just knowing people in the same kind of area for a while and chatting to them. Not sure I would have known where to begin without it, to be honest.

onesandwichshort Wed 22-Aug-12 19:08:34

Latte - there is one already, PM DolomitesDonkey for details.

WilfSell Wed 22-Aug-12 19:09:33

nanky, just took a shufty at your website. It looks OK and a good framework but I have a few suggestions:

You could get it thoroughly proofread as there are few glitches on there (no apostrophe for FAQs, extra spaces, coupla things on your blog 'physiotherapy's...' etc)

I think you have too much white space in places and images are not snapping into place well (but could be my Android driven browser...) - g on your blog, but also I think your logos on the right are possibly taking up too much 'prime' space - surely your logo and content are more important and you can put accreditation and links in a footer at the bottom?

I am not personally keen on the colours of your logo, though logo itself is fine. Brown looks a bit dated and apologetic, and does not chime with the lovely, brightly coloured photography...

And I think you should definitely add content to you blog. It suddenly struck me that I could knock off a scholarly active ageing piece or three for you in about 10 minutes - perhaps copywriting should be my niche?! So much competition from you lot though grin

WilfSell Wed 22-Aug-12 19:15:11

PS to those of you unsure about blogging/websites/SEO, it isn't actually that difficult to learn yourself at a basic level - I set up a blog for work and did quite a lot when I started to drive traffic to it, and it seems to have had an impact in terms of visibility (and possibly also economics!)

There's lots of resources, eg within Blogger and Google Analytics and with a bit of time and application it can be done. And using Wordpress or Blogger to set up a site is also fairly straightforward if you're reasonably IT literate. Not that I want to take work away from all these new web businesses though...

recall Wed 22-Aug-12 19:16:32

Another idea I have, but not for me, more for the accountant/bookeepers. offering people a service to manage their personal finances. I personally am crap at this, and tend to bury my head in the sand. I would pay someone to come and initially sort them out, and then to manage them. The money I would save on fines and charges would easily pay for such a service.

WilfSell Wed 22-Aug-12 19:23:09

PS again nanky, the links back to 'Home' from your other pages are not working - the link seems to be some random IP number. Not sure if this is just me. You could also make your own logo clickable to take that back to your homepage?

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 19:23:45

Nanky
Your website is good, but I agree with Wilf that the logo colours could do with being a bit brighter and friendly. And the white space.

Does your email work yet? If not, take out the 'this doesn't work yet, please use this.. ' as it looks unprofessional.

I realise that this is a tricky one - but I like to see personal pics on a website ie. taken while you are working. Not sure if you have a couple of clients who would be willing to do a wee photo shoot with you - perhaps in return for a free session?

You have a couple of sections with no content, so fill those - the walking aids and the part of a team.

I like your blog section, with the chatty Scottish tone.

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 19:29:08

Recall
Me too. When I get this up and running, I will definitely be looking for an accountant.

Nanky said something earlier:

'I want to spend my time doing my actual job. i'm bloody good at my actual job, and I like it. My problem is going to be being disciplined enough to knuckle down and keep my books up to date, keep the social guff going and not land up procrastinating on mumsnet...'

I cannot help with the MN bit, or the accountancy, but the rest is what I want to do.

I was speaking to my friend, who does cornice renovations about this. He is fantastic at his job, truly wonderful but he hates the idea of firing up his PC in the evening and doing a blog or website. He doesn't even take photos of the work that he does (and he does incredible work, he is an artist).

He had a call recently from an architect who said, 'Did you get the email I sent you?'. My friend hadn't had his pc on for 2 weeks.

I suggested that he does what he loves to do, and I do what I love to do for him and then we are both happy.

Tee2072 Wed 22-Aug-12 19:32:46

MmeL it would be time well spent, even if you just checked a few a day. Nothing more frustrating than out of date links on a site, IMHO. It's nearly annoying as bad spelling/grammar!

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 19:46:45

Will do, Tee. Good idea.

I know many of my older links don't work cause I had an issue <massive understatement> with my blog (for which I believe I still owe you Swiss choc cause you fixed it).

Actually, thinking about it - my actual professional website is not the blog, but the other one. I will check it out.

DolomitesDonkey Wed 22-Aug-12 19:52:34

nanky I love the picture of the old lady on the ball - if it made me smile I'd hope it would do the same to other old ladies!

Tee2072 Wed 22-Aug-12 19:52:47

Well, I didn't want to say anything, MmeL... grin

colleysmill Wed 22-Aug-12 20:14:06

Hello I wonder if I may delurk and join this thread?

I am starting up a private practice with 2 of my friends along similar lines tonarky and we have meet properly today for the first time to begin to thrash out the details of what we want to offer and how it is going to work.

We have:

- a website address (currently not published although we have worked on the content)
- a logo (after great discussion)
- a mission statement (to be clear what we are offering to clearly distinguish from what we currently do in our day jobs)
- business cards on order
- registered for online directory with professional group
- a working email
- a working phone number
- designed our paperwork
- agreed prices (the most reality hitting bit!)

It is new territory for all us - I never envisaged myself in private practice and I have been a little reluctant tbh. However I have to face the truth - increasingly we are seeing clients engaging with private practitioners and with the future looking uncertain it seems a sensible option to begin now.

colleysmill Wed 22-Aug-12 20:15:10

sorry that should be nanky not narky!

Xenia Wed 22-Aug-12 20:21:34

Also look at paypeopleperhour site - I get some work from there and you can ask suppliers to bid to provide services to you too like website and logo design, accountancy etc. Free to use. Commission to the site when you are paid by your customer.

(What is the issue on the copyright on the vintage designs? Has the author been dead 70 years?)

BrianAndHisBalls Wed 22-Aug-12 20:23:17

Hello, delurking too smile

I have a 'normal' job as a Bid Manager so can't use those skills currently to be self employed as would contravene my regular employment contract.

I also sew on the side and use Etsy to sell. It's a strange one really, some weeks I sell quite a lot then I can have months with no sales. My hope was to get accepted by NOTHS but that hasn't happened yet. That's the only way I can see myself earning enough to give up my day job, and even then it would be at a much reduced 'salary'.

I haven't tried craft fairs yet really, did one and made a profit but I haven't done any others. I'd also like to sell to shops and have been offered several sale or return deals but really I would prefer wholesale.

I often advise others on using Etsy and perhaps could sell my services doing this actually on Etsy? Might look into it.

I also do proofreading as a small part of my job, not that you can tell from my posts on here grin so perhaps I could offer proofreading services to small businesses?

Find it difficult to find time really to concentrate on everything- manic job, 2 dc, 5 cats, 2 dogs, 3 rabbits, sewing, social media for the etsy etc

If you can put websites on this thread mine is:

www.etsy.com/shop/mollymoodesign

https://www.facebook.com/mollymoodesign

BrianAndHisBalls Wed 22-Aug-12 20:24:44

Xenia - I tried Peopleperhour but got outbid by people willing to work for 3p an hour! shock

Xenia Wed 22-Aug-12 20:25:02

I would also encourage women to think about work which pays £1k a day rather than selling cupcakes and embroidery and traditional (which means low paid) women's stuff relating to hearth and home only if they want to make a lot of money.

DolomitesDonkey Wed 22-Aug-12 20:28:40

colleysmill Until you're ready to drop cash for a surgery phone or business mobile contract - you can use a service such as this www.tollfreeforwarding.com/ to get a "real" phone number and get it forwarded to your mobile.

You can use www.hp.com/sbso/productivity/office/index.html? media centre stationery templates to get you started.

Don't wait for perfection before starting!

BrianAndHisBalls Wed 22-Aug-12 20:28:41

Forgot to say, I've been featured in several national magazines but I don't think it translated to sales.

colleysmill Wed 22-Aug-12 20:37:30

dolomites we cheated blush my dad had a spare handset and pay as you go sim that he donated to us. He topped it up for us for free session of physio

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 21:34:12

DD
Oh, that is clever. Another avenue open to me is working in UK but doing business for German companies (translation or SM) so that would be ideal.

Tee2072 Wed 22-Aug-12 21:37:48

I've heard horrible things about PPH. I won't use them.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Wed 22-Aug-12 21:51:26

I've been lurking on this thread since it started, as I'd love to start working for myself. I've just posted on the 'How do I make £1000 a month' thread saying the same. I currently work part time in marketing/advertising which I fell into after my degree in a useless subject and I really need to increase my income (skint lone parent), however I feel like I don't have any actual skills or talents that I can utilise. I'm no web designer, physio or lawyer, I hate parties so things like Avon would be no-go, and I don't have skills in crafts or making things - so what the hell do I do??!!! Just feel like I'm at a standstill and I see myself in ten years' time still in the same job, which fills me with dread.

If I worked from home alongside my current job, I'd also worry about how it would affect the WTC and the bit of HB that I currently receive. As I'd have no idea how much I would earn working from home, I wouldn't know what to tell the council/Tax credits people so they know what (if anything) to pay me for HB and WTC. I wouldn't want to have my benefits taken off me if I over-estimate my earnings, then not make any money from the home business, iyswim, as I'd end up in a big old financial mess.

So my obstacles to earning additional income are 1/ no idea what to do or where to start (bit of a biggie, that one grin), and 2/ how it will affect my benefits. Any advice gratefully received <hopeful>.

Empusa Wed 22-Aug-12 22:58:01

PPH is pain in the arse. I don't know about other areas, but the web design/graphic design sections are stuffed full of people wanting something for nothing, and far too many idiots willing to do something for nothing. Makes it very hard to find paying work on there. Quoted some people a low(ish) rate and been told they were looking for something cheaper - usually they want an all-singing all-dancing website, plus SEO, plus social media, plus logo design for about £50 (£100 if they are feeling generous) hmm

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 23:34:01

Blimey. Looked at that PPH website, and there are people looking for someone to increase blog visitors and do FB and Twitter for them - for £6 an hour.

2 fb posts a day, and 2 tweets a day - which shows how much they understand about Twitter.

Over 10 people have applied.

There are a couple of more interesting posts on there, but some really ridiculous ones too.

Empusa Wed 22-Aug-12 23:38:35

"Over 10 people have applied. "

It's crazy isn't it?! I guess there were always people willing to undercut others and work for barely anything, but it does seem to be more concentrated on sites like PPH.

I suspect there's an element of hobbyist applying for these jobs for pocket money, so they can afford it. It just takes away from people who do it for a living though.

DH used to be a pro photographer (he's fucking amazing!) but grew disillusioned with it due to people expecting it for nothing. Some of the biggest magazines/companies refuse to pay photographers as they know hobbyists will do it for free just to get their names in print.

MmeLindor Wed 22-Aug-12 23:45:18

Saying that, there was one interesting job - with lots of applications. I had a look through the applicants and there were one or two who were actually suitable - if you want someone to do your Twitter/FB feed, then they have to be a native English speaker, or extremely fluent and many applicants were not.

Plenty of them advertised themselves at under £10 an hour. The one I would have chosen, with plenty of experience and a great profile was £45 an hour.

Tee2072 Thu 23-Aug-12 07:43:40

That's the real problem with PPH. The ridiculous low bids that undermine those of us who actually have some skill that we deserve to be paid well for.

CondoleezzaRiceKrispies Thu 23-Aug-12 07:50:33

Another pilgrim from the £1K a day thread here!

Yes, I'm another one who feels rather trapped, having worked for 20 years in the same industry, with a decent level of success but low income. We think we may have to move sad because both myself and DP are in the same position, very niche skills in highly competitive industries with few opportunities where we live.

I totally understand the idea of aiming high (a la Xenia's threads) and dismissing crafts, dog walking, child minding etc, but, apart from lecturing I'm struggling to think of anything I can do that pays over £20 an hour.

Love "don't wait for perfection before starting", Dolomites!

SoftKittyWarmKitty Thu 23-Aug-12 08:10:45

Condoleeza I mentioned my similarity to your situation on the '£1000 per month' thread and I think we might be career twins! I have about 15 years' experience in what I do and am good at my job but low income. What X
Xenia said on the other thread about women not blowing their own trumpet makes vast amounts of sense to me - I tend to go to work, get my head down and do a good job - and no-one notices. Over the past 10-15 years I've seen people with less experience and less talent but bigger mouths get on and move past me, even though a lot of these people were nowhere near as good at their job as I am. It's very frustrating and even bringing it up during appraisals hasn't helped.

The time for change has come but I honestly think I'll need to have my own business to do it, as paid employment is going nowhere for me tbh. However like Condoleeza I can't think of anything that would pay me anywhere near £1000 a day, as I have no specific skills or talents to utilise and can't afford to retrain (oh, the irony).

CondoleezzaRiceKrispies Thu 23-Aug-12 08:19:50

Perhaps we could start a highly exclusive club (with astronomical membership fees, of course) for career failures? grin

For me there isn't the option of promotion in the field I'm currently in, as my job is almost exclusively done by freelancers.

The thing that Xenia says that most chimes with me is choosing a career early on for its earning potential. I'm not hugely materialistic, I'd like a bigger house (ours is minute) and a car that works, and to worry less about my future, so I'm not saying I have to earn 100K or I'd be disappointed, but I do sometimes feel cheated that I pursued a career in something I cared about and the rewards are so small. That was the world's longest sentence!

DolomitesDonkey Thu 23-Aug-12 08:33:17

softkitty One of the hardest business lessons I've had to learn within the last year when I kicked off about lack of recognition, because like you I was doing a good job and keeping my head down - is that it's not actually about what you are doing, it's about the perception of what people think you're doing. Whilst we all know someone who's all mouth and no trousers, those of us who keep our heads down are ignored - and EASILY so. Why would our managers give us coaching or financial recognition? We don't cause a fuss, we come in, nobody really knows what we do and we go home. My argument was "seriously? I do my fucking job - the reason I don't go bragging every 10 minutes is because I'm only doing what I'm expected to do, in my world it goes without saying that I've done what I've been asked to do" - which apparently is not good enough. So polish your trumpet m'dear! And, when your website is up and running and you've got clients - publish your compliments, if applicable, phone a newspaper or send them a press release!

condoleezza I live in rather a rural area but will be (as one string to my bow) workshops in major european cities and towns. It's no skin off my nose if I have to catch a flight/train or drive for a few hours if I can take home 1000 after tax thankyouverymuch!

softkitty Everyone has talents, they just perhaps don't know how to leverage them - and if we are to use your own words - people who are getting ahead have less talent than you! So:- 1) what do you do now? 2) what are your actual strengths? 3) What did you do at university? (I think you said before you went, sorry if I've confused you with someone else).

Xenia Thu 23-Aug-12 10:15:57

Yes, the £1000 a day women on MN tend to have skills which are paid at that level usually because they were trained in that at university, early 20s. Thinking aloud randomly -

worked with a lady dentist(30s) who owns 4 or 5 practices so I think she keeps the profits and the employed dentists work for her;

women who own a chain of pharmacies having qualified as pharmacist;

female (and male of course) IT consultants who provide those services at £1k a day

look at any list of Government consultants/oursourced work - particularly quite a few clever friends of my daughters after university went to places like Deloittes, McKinsey as consultant - you only et in there usually if you are sort As all the way, Oxbridge ideally first, plus stellar personality and wonderful people skills and a load of luck and that is the same for most jobs which are highly paid but not all - I know someone who ended up there having worked up in one industry (pubs) and then (as v clever) ended up a McK consultant and then on to £1m a year in next work.

Some ex public sector managers who leave the NHS and contract back their high level management services at X rate

Obviously if you work for yourself as a top surgeon, doctor in your own private clinic, IVF were your clinic has some of the highest baby success rates in the UK you deservedly earn a lot as you have skills no one else has.

Richest woman in China is in waste disposal

Perhaps PPH is an opitmism thing for me then. I don't bid if the indicated rate per hour is very low. I do if not and if I get 1 in 5 bids accepted I think that's tremendous as it takes 60 seconds to write them and I have had good work from there. Definitely worth a try. Someone just without prompting gave me the nicest wuote ever about how I am the best XYZ they ever used and I just put that on my website 2 minutes ago

Right work, need to earn today's crust.

nickelcognito Thu 23-Aug-12 10:34:34

jsut catching up from yesterday.

wannaBe - i didn't design my logo.

I used a signwriter for my shop sign and he designed my logo too.
(i just agreed to it - he showed me a few options and i chose the best one)
it was about £500 (inc vat) for the logo design and the sign (including it being put up, so if you didn't nee a sign, then it wouldn't cost you that much!), and i was given a file with the logo on.

One thing I should have done was ask what the basic font was - he did use a font and then fiddled around with it, and after about 3 years, I finally found the font, and use the unfiddled font for titles and signage around the shop and on the website.
I'm able to upload the logo onto the website, and I've used a simplified version for bags and pens.

The best thing about my website's host/designer, is that it has metadata for google. so i don't have to register separately.
it also has a .webeden.co.uk web address included in the package (free), but you get a "voucher" every 2 (?) years (it might be every year) for a domain name, and you can have anything you like, without a .webeden.co.uk tag.
IF you have someone working for you, it's best to try to get them to "update" your website wink

DolomitesDonkey Thu 23-Aug-12 10:45:03

Facebook Group info:

Obviously I don't have time to be checking mails all the time, so I've made wannabe, MmeLindor and LargeLatte admins too. So if you see them online drop them a line and they can get you in the group. smile

nickelcognito Thu 23-Aug-12 11:17:54

cool.
smile

My shop facebook page writes to twitter - that's a very useful tool.

nankypeevy Thu 23-Aug-12 11:26:19

thanks for the feedback on the website - it's posted as per Dolomite's advice...not perfect, but, I needed it up so I can start getting work!

I'm going to offer a skill swap with an old patient of mine - he runs an IT business and thinks I have magic hands. Bless him, most of my current work is by word of mouth - and most of that has some sort of a link from this man.

(Colleymill - we all need a patient like him - his main problem is that he can't be bothered following my sound advice, he'd rather just pay me to fix him when he's torn a muscle from middle aged marathon running, for which he does no stretching whatsoever. He basically keeps my children in shoes, but my conscience is clear as I nag him and he knows perfectly well what he SHOULD be doing to prevent injuries!)

Anyhoo, I'm going to email and offer free physio in return for help tweaking my website. Which I've made worse by trying to add on a twitter button last night...three hours I spent setting up linkedin, twitter and FB for the website. Screwed it up every blardy time. Pah.

I agree about the brown logo, Wilf and Mme - it's lifted from the vistaprint business cards I ordered in a hurry months ago. I really like the house with the hands - and thought I'd stick with brown because, well, I'm not sure about the copyright and I wouldn't know how to change it...but, my IT friend will know how to tweak it so it's my logo.

The photos are bought from photostock. Some corkers - I love them. I spent £15, and there is no problem with copyright, I was very happy with that. I am aiming to get the site all beiges and blues, so will change the photos as I find altenatives.

And, Wilf - I've got plans afoot for personal photos. I'm aiming to buy a lensbaby lens for my camera - it sort of blurs edges but has a sweet spot. So, I'm hoping to get shots of my patients, but focussed away from their faces. Job done, it'll cost £150 or so, but I think it's a good investment. Confidentiality is a problem, I really don't want anyone being recognisable from my site - the blog would be ok, but not the main site. Especially as, given the age of the people I'm hoping to work with - it could be very awkward if my Keep Mobile Pin Up Gal passed away and then her family saw her face online....

Colley - We Should Tawk. I'll PM you.

I've been and spoken to a couple of places this morning about my launch event. Thanks to this thread, I was confident enough to try and blag a discount on hiring the hotel on the back of it being a local community thing and a charity fundraiser...he's going to have a chat with the sales people and see what he can do...SQUEE!

SoftKittyWarmKitty Thu 23-Aug-12 17:48:45

it's not actually about what you are doing, it's about the perception of what people think you're doing. Whilst we all know someone who's all mouth and no trousers, those of us who keep our heads down are ignored - and EASILY so. Why would our managers give us coaching or financial recognition? We don't cause a fuss, we come in, nobody really knows what we do and we go home.

Dolomites you have just summed up my entire working career! It sounds so depressing when it's written down though. My closest colleague is exactly the same as me too, but for both of us it's got to the point where I think management are so used to us doing a good job in our current role, that they won't promote us because we are almost part of the furniture doing what we do, if that makes sense.

To answer your questions, I did a next to useless Media Studies degree and I work part time in marketing/advertising. I've worked in this area in a few different companies more or less since I graduated (nearly 15 years). Although I have a lot of experience, I don't have a lot of senior experience, as I've not been promoted very often (see above para). I mainly do client management, which is almost like an admin role, so I'm very organised, have good attention to detail, great time management skills and am good at building/maintaining client relationships. I've been toying with looking into offering decluttering/household organisation services but when I think about it too hard, I kind of think 'I can't do that, I'd be crap/people would think I was rubbish and wouldn't pay me/I would fail'. So I'm clearly guilty of many of the things mentioned previously, in particular that of thinking I'm not worthy of earning more and also that I need to have the perfect set up before taking the plunge (that's the perfectionist in me coming out). If I ever get anything off the ground it will be a sodding miracle hmm.

I'd like to join the FB group if I may, so will PM one of the contacts mentioned above.

Xenia Thu 23-Aug-12 18:18:39

I have banged on to women about this issue for over 20 years. It is a sex issue as men tend to be much better at saying they are good and demanding higher pay, although not all women are bad at this either. I have never had any problem saying I am the best at what I do in the UK.

Perhaps women need hypnotism - you are very good; you are the best potential declutterer in the UK, repeat 50 times... etc

Confidence really helps in many jobs. You want someone who says they can do the work, not someone who says - well I'm not very good but I'll have a go and is £6 an hour okay?

Some of it is just personality. Since she was 2 one of my children has been shouting about herself. She was a very noisy baby, cried a lot too, hardly slept. She has never changed. In fact they asked her to be a bit more quiet at work. When I first started my first job I was so scared I hardly spoke (I did manage to get over that phase but certainly my original personality was not great at making people think I was good or even if I were there). Sometimes it's inherent. A teacher in a lovely line which was probably true said one of my sons may well be very good but he had been so silent in class all year it was as if he had been doing a correspondence course - it still makes me laugh to think about it but it is a point for workers. Does your boss know what you are doing? Does your boss' boss? How have you blown your own trumpet today? If you are in business then do that too.

I put some very good feedback on my website today. I tweet just about work stuff - dullest in the land, not photos of Xenia emerging naked from her bath, but it does help and I try to know more about my area than anyone int he UK and be the fastest to get the latest news of changes out so I emailed a customer today with something which i did not think woudl be too relevant to them but he said it really was helpful and he would make sure it was put before a committee.

Empusa Thu 23-Aug-12 18:22:20

"When I first started my first job I was so scared I hardly spoke (I did manage to get over that phase but certainly my original personality was not great at making people think I was good or even if I were there)"

How did you overcome this?

I find it so bloody difficult to be positive about myself, I'm always more aware of what I could do better, so find it hard to sell myself.

Xenia Thu 23-Aug-12 18:32:13

We are 29 years on from now then so I've had plenty of time to sort it out. I think first it was lack of experience in a work place and having moved to London. Secondly it was a question of getting better at what I was learning to do. Most people need experience to get confidence.

If I compare how one of my children is now compared with when they first graduated in terms of confidence in interviews etc I can see a lot of it is just practice and you get better.

I think I always had internal self confidence and that was justified by events - best A levels in the school, virtrually top at university so if I ever looked objectively at myself I could see I wasp retty much okay but I was very shy when I was younger. I now give about 50 7 hour talks a year all over the world (which is a small part of what I do) and that does require a certain confidence and certainly stamina.

I also think work to your strengths. I hate socialising for work things. That will have lost me a heap of money. I don't so customer entertainment. I'd have to be dragged to a works drinks thing. I don't watch sport. I don't drink alcohol. I am not clubbable. I despise the Masons, London clubs (I turned down membership at just about the best one). I dont' play golf. I would need to be paid a fortune to endure a women's have your nails done corporate entertaining in a beauty parlour in London evening even. If I did I would gather more business but I can't stand it. I like being at home so I've drawn attention to myself in other ways.

DolomitesDonkey Thu 23-Aug-12 18:40:24

Are you kidding? 100 years of feminism and it brings us shellac nails with the girls as something to aspire to? Where's my lapdance from a hot dumb muscled 20 year old?

Empusa Thu 23-Aug-12 18:45:19

Xenia Good to know, there's obviously hope for me yet smile

SoftKittyWarmKitty Thu 23-Aug-12 18:50:39

I hate socialising for work things. That will have lost me a heap of money. I don't so customer entertainment. I'd have to be dragged to a works drinks thing. I don't watch sport. I don't drink alcohol. I am not clubbable. I despise the Masons, London clubs (I turned down membership at just about the best one). I dont' play golf. I would need to be paid a fortune to endure a women's have your nails done corporate entertaining in a beauty parlour in London evening even. If I did I would gather more business but I can't stand it. I like being at home so I've drawn attention to myself in other ways.

I am exactly the same! Good to know there's still hope of making a success without too much schmoozing.

MmeLindor Thu 23-Aug-12 19:12:21

I quite like the socialising part - could certainly do that.

I have got a temp job next week - nothing to do with the business I want to build but a week's work for an interesting company. I applied today, and within about an hour I had a starting date for Monday. They were looking for a German speaker to start pretty much immediately, and coming up empty in this part of the country.

There are huge advantages to working and living out of the major cities.

nankypeevy Thu 23-Aug-12 19:51:24

Dolomites - Your poor boy lapdancer's grandma has taken his passport taken away, confiscated his "What happens in Vegas..." tee-shirt and grounded him until he can get married to a sensible English Rose type.

Xenia Thu 23-Aug-12 20:10:51

It certainly does work for lots of women and there are women's networks, clubs you can join. Lots of people get work from connections - I certainly do although it not likely to be a business networking thing. I turn down every conference thing as I'm quite busy (unlessw I'm paid) but perhaps as the children get less demanding I might do more. I could certianly be out 5 nights a week in London on work things and I suppose if I ever get lonely I could do that but I doubt I will. I am still waiting to live alone and never have in my life. Perhaps I''ll be 80 before I get the chance.

dontcallmehon Thu 23-Aug-12 21:28:11

Very interesting discussion. My issue is that I am already self employed, but I make a secondary income, rather than the substantial income I would like. I do struggle with confidence and this has struck a cord with me. I think I hold myself back.

I need to know how to take my small business to the next level. I also need money behind me, which I don't have yet, so I'm struggling with how it's all going to come together.

I would also like to join the Facebook group, I think it would be really helpful.

MmeLindor Thu 23-Aug-12 21:31:34

PM me your FB name and I will add you to the group, Dontcallmehun

I was speaking to a woman recently who was talking about ways for women to get funding for start ups / scale ups of businesses. Particularly in tech field there are many companies who are looking to invest. I am meeting with her next week so will try and have a chat with her about this.

dontcallmehon Thu 23-Aug-12 21:33:04

I'm planning on creating an education based blog, with resource recommendations, sample resources I have created, model essays and articles about the latest initiatives and developments in teaching/tutoring. Will work on it once dcs are back at school. I want to build a reputation, before I take the leap.

Can anyone suggest anything else I should include? It will be aimed at students/ parents and my specialist subject is English.

porridgelover Thu 23-Aug-12 23:26:08

I have been lurking and cogitating on this thread. And it struck me this evening (like a whack in the head actually)that the biggest stumbling block to getting going is the fear of not _'being good enough'._ I feel I could attract clients handily enough- I did before. BUT getting reports out was/is a problem as I spend inordinate amounts of time making sure they are perfect. Ditto treatments- have to be sure that I know exactly what I'm doing even with new patients. I have literally shaken with nerves going to see a new client.
The other problem I have is not being an organised bunny...I will come in and treat your kid and do a good job BUT the paperwork, billing, filing phffft.

Any links/books/TED/whatever resources aimed at the female brain to get over these, the fear more than the organisation? I am good at coaching myself through problems.

Dontcallmehon...could you add a section with specific resources or links for the kids who have specific learning issues e.g. Dyspraxic hand writers, dyslexic spellers etc?

fairyfriend Thu 23-Aug-12 23:34:18

Can I join please? I was also inspired by the other thread and have decided to get off my bum and start some of the projects that have been lurking in the back of my mind. One is to do with buying and selling on ebay, another is a resource based website I want to set up. Not sure how much money the website will make in itself, but I'm hoping it will cement my reputation as an expert in this area and lead to other work. I also want to write, but again, I'm not sure what format I want this to take.

My biggest problem is that within my current job (education) I'm a bit of a 'jack of all trades, master of none' in that I've worked in various roles but I'm painfully aware that there is always someone better than me. This does make me self conscious about branching out as an 'expert' in any of the areas I've worked in.

MmeLindor Thu 23-Aug-12 23:37:25

Porridgelover
You are not in Scotland by any chance? I am involved in the TEDxGlasgowWomen this year. The speakers have not been announced yet, but since it is all about women, there might be something along those lines.

WilfSell Thu 23-Aug-12 23:37:42

I LOVE socialising, gladhanding and talking to complete strangers...! Perhaps you big earners could outsource your schmoozing to me for 1k a day? grin

MmeLindor Thu 23-Aug-12 23:40:09

Fairy
I have been a bit like that this past year. I thought about journalism but realised it is v hard to get into and v difficult to make money. I spoke to a few freelance journalists earlier this year and was quite shocked at the low rates. I have now settled on the thing that I like doing best, and am going to concentrate on that.

porridgelover Fri 24-Aug-12 00:00:25

MmeL I regret I am not near Glasgow at all though that sounds very interesting. Presume it will be streamed?

Fairy, It seems to me that the message the successful entrepreneurs here say is that you don't have to be an expert. You just have to be good enough, and if you meet a problem that's beyond your capability, you outsource to an expert who's too scared to freelance.
Think I answered my own question there smile

MmeLindor Fri 24-Aug-12 00:05:35

Porridge
It will be available online, yes. There are other events around the country at the same time - in London for example.

porridgelover Fri 24-Aug-12 00:16:14

Thanks MmeL. While browsing your link I found this. I'll look properly over the weekend.

Any other ideas on how to face the fear and talk back to it?

DolomitesDonkey Fri 24-Aug-12 06:02:25

nanky That made me laugh thank you! smile

PorridgeLover But you are good "enough". Presumably other people have thought you're good enough to sign a permanent contract with you to pay you tens of thousands a year plus NI + employment taxes etc? smile Would your idea really need an enormous amount of start-up cash?

I've seen a few women's networking groups out there but tbh they do seem to be geared towards the cupcake brigade - or, actually there was one I saw based in London (but part of an international consortium) and it seemed to contain the "already there's" like Xenia. Where's the middle ground?

porridge As far as "paperwork" goes, I hope I've translated this correctly - from 2013 there is an EU directive that all invoices must be stored electronically (or available to customers electronically). As it stands you are already allowed to store everything electronically (for 7 years) so you don't need shoeboxes full of unsorted paperwork. There's a myriad of software solutions on the market for as little as a tenner a month if you're not sending out too many invoices. Of course the software does all the work for you - all you need to do is tap in your customer's details & services provided! There's probably also a way to tie that in to your CRM tooling and all you do is type 1001 (your daily rate wink).

On the note of electronic back-up. Do not, not, not under any circumstances rely solely on the back-up of your laptop! Think about investing in an external hard drive and keeping the information there. Yes, you could use a "cloud" service, but beware i) they could "disappear" overnight, ii) many of them claim to "own" your data and iii) they've already been exposed to hacking issues (well, durrrr) and I'm not sure if it's ethically right to be leaving confidential data out there if you're in the legal/medical fields. Right now I'm using dropbox (which is free) - they don't claim to own your data, it does sync with your PC - so even if you're somewhere without an internet connection, you've still got your data. But, I do not keep any client information there.

DolomitesDonkey Fri 24-Aug-12 06:36:41

Wouuld anyone fancy going to this? www.greatbritishbusinessshow.co.uk/index.asp Safety in numbers type thing - and you know at least one person will talk to you over a coffee.

Xenia Fri 24-Aug-12 07:44:04

I would say to porridge do the admin every day. For me keying in one business purchase of paper or printer ink does not take long. Thinking about and dreading doing 3 months takes ages and makes most people feel rotten so I have that rule virtually every day I spend a few minutes doing the admin. I always send invoices very very quickly and force myself to see it as my most important task (without that we starve). Or you could hire a mother at £10 an hour to do that stuff for you - the one skill shortage there never is is willing women (or men) who want to do a bit of part time secretarial work as just about anyone organised can do it.

There are loads of business networking groups for women of all kinds. In fact it's a business itself which some women make quite a lot of money at. I just choose not to part of it but that just shows there are plenty of ways to skin a cat (market in other ways etc).

As for being good enough a journalist once interviewed me and a number of other successful women in a sequence. She said the one thing she'd found we all had in common was no guilt and being able to stop a task whether work or child related and say that wa good enough, stop thinking about it nad move on to the next. Perfectionists as opposed to "satisficers" tend to do better. There is some research on satisficers (awful word). I think at the start of any work role of course you need to be thorough and check and check - I see that with my 3 graduate children and how important it can be. However you have to get a balance and if you spend 10x longer on things than other people that is rarely going to be right nor make money.

newadventures Fri 24-Aug-12 07:57:02

Hi ladies, I have recently been made redundant and used it as an opportunity to get into freelancing/consulting.

I echo the comments about believing you're WORTH IT. I have just started out and am already charging more than I thought I'd be able to.

Just heard ds wake but wanted to say i am a marketing and brands consultant and here if anyone wants a bit of advice.

Will check in later!

dontstopbelieving Fri 24-Aug-12 08:21:36

Morning, have just seen this thread. If I could go back a couple of years before I started the business I wish I knew...
1. Your cash flow is the most important thing- 'turnover is vanity, profit sanity and cash flow a reality!'
2. Use account software - I use xero and is £20 a month. It does everything from invoicing, VAT returns, all the reports you could ever need and links to your bank accounts.
3. Don't be too hard on yourself when you make bad decisions or make a mistake. Just take it on the chin, learn from it and move on.
4. Book holidays or they will never happen
5. Don't let your emails come through to your phone. That email that comes through at 11pm from a customer cannot be addressed then and you will only waste energy worrying about it until the morning. Just because they are contacting you then it doesn't mean you need to reply!!!
6. For every pound you spend you will need to earn a extra pound - will that fancy desk tidy really make a difference winning your next job?!

Good luck ladies. It is the hardest thing I have ever done but with all the lows there are the highs as well.

CajaDeLaMemoria Fri 24-Aug-12 10:58:11

Hi everyone,

I'm delurking to join this thread, if no-one minds?

I suppose I've already been freelance for the past five years, but I'm currently trying to step up business and earn more from it. I'm definitely still at that "need more confidence" stage!

Good luck everyone smile

CoffeeMummy Fri 24-Aug-12 11:07:06

Catching up with these discussions - very interesting. I'm currently doing freelance journalism/social media/copywriting and slowly, slowly getting things off the ground so a bit of a support network would be good.

I do the freelance work PT alongside a new job - when I began freelancing in earnest about 2 or 3 years ago I would have liked it to be my only source of work/income but it soon became apparent this wouldn't be enough, so I've been looking for work and now found what seems to be a great PT option and I'm hoping to keep freelancing too - some days it feels like, adding them up, I've got a full time job - or even more than that!

Issues of concern for me - not so much confidence, I think I'm becoming more and more aware of my skills (doing a gazillion job applications will do that for you) but perhaps organisation, finance -the nuts and bolts of being self-employed and VAT registered etc. and I also think I may be under-pricing myself for some work, but I guess I 'feel bad' for asking for more from the small businesses I deal with, who I often know very well.

I would echo the advice about not waiting for everything to be perfect - that's just procrastination - once you get stuck in it's much more exciting and new ideas and developments will unfold as soon as you start getting 'out there', networking, finding a voice. Ironically, I have more freelance work than ever now that I'm starting a job but I'm determined to keep up with it - it's something I enjoy a lot and just a different aspect to my work life, I suppose.

DolomitesDonkey Fri 24-Aug-12 11:17:22

Self-esteem + not feeling worth it.

I've just had a great chat with a woman I shall probably go in to partnership with - we complement each other - she's the networker, I'm the analyst.

Anyway, I mentioned that one of the reasons I hate networking is that I'm not 100% comfortable with my looks and feel that I will be judged on the circumference of my arse as opposed to my brain. I followed up with "can you just imagine 2 men having this conversation and one of them saying "I'm just not handsome enough to do meet & greet?" - us women are MENTAL! wink

nankypeevy Fri 24-Aug-12 11:31:40

That's funny, Dolomites - that's exactly where I am at!

I'm slowly losing weight (again), and the thing that's making me feel uncomfortable about working for myself is how I'll look in lycra...

However, I've been looking at figures this morning - and, though doing a big launch would be ahmahaizing, it's going to cost too much money.

It's going to cost about £600. For that I'll have a max of 150 people - but, in reality, maybe 100. My practice will build on word of mouth, people recommend their great hairdresser/chiropodist/threader and physio - so, can I justify £6 a head on people who may not actually use my service?

I've realised it makes meore sense to just DO the clinical stuff - generate enough money to pay back my loan, enough statistics to write up my research and THEN, once I've got a reputation, THEN do a fancy schmancy thing to get the press involved in.

Which, will also give me time to get thinner...huzzah! I know, I know, I know

nickelcognito Fri 24-Aug-12 14:08:49

Sometimes I feel like jacking the whole thing in.

some bastard has stolen one of the Gruffalo's Child feast sets (worth £15) from the display.

God knows when that happened! I didn't see any suspicious behaviour, so it must have been an expert.

FUCKING HATE THAT!!! angry

watersign76 Fri 24-Aug-12 15:24:29

Great thread. Really interesting insights.

nankypeevy sorry you aren't doing a launch, but I think your new suggested order of things sounds just as good. I would have to say as well, as time goes by if you are pushy enough there will be opps to appear at the events of others. Where you have none of the hassle of organsing and you can still reach an audience.

Plus once you get going other opps will come your way. The sport massage person (I mentioned on the other thread) I saw has just moved into a really well situated room above a yoga studio following his connections etc.

Re putting yourself out there. I saw a tweet when I first started (marketing freelancer) about a Council organised event for International Women's Day, and I volunteered myself to talk and they agreed. The audience was mainly lots of older women, many whom were unemployed - so not really my target audience - in a Church Hall. However, it helped build my experience. And a local competitor came up to me and introduced herself and made a point of saying that she was a "Chartered Marketeer" (highest level of the Chartered Institute of Marketing membership). Childishly that made the event for me, because however 'decorated' she was, I was the one addressing the audience. I think it is just confirmed that you can, to some extent, make your own luck/opps.

Good luck to everybody on this thread.
WS

WilfSell Fri 24-Aug-12 16:53:47

I've just had another idea for you physios. Physio parties! You know you go to someone's house, someone pours the wine. You pay the host a cut to get 4-6 people together,or however many you can manage. You get your massage table out, show people a few neck and core strength exercises, a bit of acupuncture here and there...?

I'd totally book that to give me, my bad back and my middle aged friends a quick once over and it would surely lead to repeat business...

WilfSell Fri 24-Aug-12 16:55:09

I have, um, realised my talents are in drinking socialising networking and having a short attention span being an ideas person...

grin

NiceBiscuits Fri 24-Aug-12 17:29:48

There's some great advice on this thread. Can I join in please?

I've been a self employed graphic designer for a few years and compared to being employed, it's great.

If anyone's got any graphic design questions please ask, I love talking about work.

The thing I'm trying to get better at is networking online. In-the-flesh networking is a bit tricky with family commitments, as it always seems to take place after work, away from home.

And so I am going to try and join the FB group from this thread...

nankypeevy Fri 24-Aug-12 18:18:30

Oooh, Wilf - could be something in that...

I've been on a thread about stress incontinence (which made talk round up, do I get a badge?)

I am not sure about prodding about with drunk women's necks - but, a pelvic floor party? That would totally work. And, the attendees would all know each other and could self support (ahem) afterwards...

You know how you were looking for a change of direction? Could "the only way is up" party biz be it?

Am away to ask what they think...

WilfSell Fri 24-Aug-12 18:20:55

Hahaha, Pelvic Floor Parties, with Wine, is TOTALLY Mumsnet. Go for it! I'l host one but a bit far away praps...?

WilfSell Fri 24-Aug-12 18:23:46

Oh. Um. Yeah... That'll be 50 quid please nanky... wink

Joking. But seriously, how do I make money selling IDEAS? Any ideas? grin

It is what I'm good at.

nankypeevy Fri 24-Aug-12 18:32:19

Fifty quid?

That's a looong way off 1k, you are not getting into the spirit of this!

Will try to have an idea about your ideas.

WilfSell Fri 24-Aug-12 18:36:40

Ah but it only took me 30 seconds to think it. That means I only need to work for 10 minutes a day...

onesandwichshort Fri 24-Aug-12 19:23:23

Nicebiscuits - what sort of design? But I can heartily recommend virtual networking via Twitter and blog. I've 'met' all sorts of nice people that way, and as a bonus side effect get to ask them useful work questions too. All while sat at my desk at home and theoretically attending to the hoousehold.
Oh and I got two projects (small books) from being on Twitter too.

Wilf - make up television programmes. I will write them up in tv bullshit style. We will stit back and watch the format fees roll in.

And if anyone knows a nice radio production house, I'd like to meet them please...

DolomitesDonkey Fri 24-Aug-12 19:28:53

Perhaps Xenia was on to something, if women will pay $$$ to be patronised about their weight, $$$$ to go under the knife, why on earth wouldn't they pay $$$ at the promise of being "honeymoon fresh" once again? 50 quid? Pfff... how much does a vaginal tightening cost?

Xenia Fri 24-Aug-12 20:13:10

I suggested Harley St weight loss clinic above or on the other thread and also helping infertile couples have IVF bu surrogate abroad eg in India. What you need is to own your clinic and have people working for you rather than being the person on the minimum wage doing the work.

If you have particular skills then it is worth looking at how women on mumsnet earn £1k a day and why some do and others hardly even make the minimum wage and what accounts for the different. There is nothing very special about me. I am sure you could compare me to others mumsnetters who make very little. What led one person to earn more than others?

NiceBiscuits Fri 24-Aug-12 20:35:18

onesandwich
– identity, publication and website design.

Great you got a couple of books from Twitter. Are books your thing?

Thinking about the £1000k per day challenge, I'd need to work for clients who've got that kind of budget. A pharmaceutical company, for example, doing their print/web ads and other marketing.

Hmmm.

MmeLindor Fri 24-Aug-12 22:28:13

I would go to a physio party - but perhaps not the pelvic floor one ;)

Xenia Fri 24-Aug-12 22:36:23

£1000 a day is not that rare a consultancy rate for many women actually which just show how useless many parents and schools are in helping teenage girls pick better paid jobs.

I am going to bed but here is a task for some of you.
Go to www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk/

Cameron (one of the few promises kept) has made all Government contracts over £10k be published. It is a goldmine of information but few people seem to be looking at it.

Search on the right side - what is being bought by Government in a sector you are interested in eg accountancy services or whatever and see what you can find just to see who is paying what although the state sector given cut backs is probably not a massive gravey train at present. On the other hand they supposedly favour small businesses particularly female owned ones - mind you see £1k a day thread - I have 100% failure rate at bidding for state work.

PeriPathetic Fri 24-Aug-12 23:08:56

Hello smile I'm joining in this one too.

I've been self-employed for nigh on 18 years. The first 8 years were fabulous fun - right place, right time, really good skills and was earning upwards of £1K per week in IT.

I burned out, but kept pushing myself as I had a specific and fabulous contract, then I met DH & fell pg. I became a grateful SAHM then started up a publishing business when DD was 2. Just as that was taking off we moved overseas and I had to sell up sad . (Realise I'm totally outing myself here, but never mind.) I am limited by visa restrictions on the work I can do - it has to be in the home, really, which suits me fine.

I then did some freelance writing and had another little business going on too - earned next to nothing but kept me occupied. Then we moved again - still overseas. Had to close the little business and gave up the writing a year ago to concentrate on studying and other things.

Currently I'm struggling very much with a graphic design course, which is MUCH harder than I expected and an almost vertical learning curve. I WILL complete it, but in the meantime I'm taking a short break to create an online consultancy business.

At least, I think that's what it will be - the idea is semi-formed and I'm not sure how to move ahead with it.

It was going to be a book, but I think online to start with is a better idea. I can use my IT skills and writing skills to create the site; my limited design skills are being used to attempt to create some artwork for the site header (hence taking a break from it to come on here!). Nothing has been written yet so the site isn't live.

If anyone can help, please; I need advice on how to market the site via social networking and how to move forward into paid consultancy work - bearing in mind it will mostly, if not all, be done online. Oh, and how to get money from the website/blog while I'm back studying!

DolomitesDonkey Sat 25-Aug-12 05:02:39

hi peripathetic PM me and join our fb group. I have a background in IT so have found all "that sort of thing" - for me the marketing has been my vertical curve. But I'm getting there - we have several marketers in our group and one "twitter expert" whom I believe is going to do a free webinar for us to get us started with social media.

If you're still in the EU you can apply for the contracts Xenia mentioned. Local governments, councils, etc., also publish their own contracts and are worth registering with. Also check out the Irish sites. All these contracts are "fair game" until they start being registered over at TEDS (european commission site) as that's when the big price barrier occurs and it seems awfully hard to break in to that. Like Xenia, I have a 100% failure rate with my pitches/tenders, but it doesn't hurt to submit - especially as most of them are e-tendering which doesn't cost you a penny.

Some people are making money from "niche marketing" websites which is a very passive income once you're up and running - however, Google et al take a very dim view of such sites and it's not unknown for your site to be blacklisted - and once Google have you on the blacklist game over really isn't it!?

PeriPathetic Sat 25-Aug-12 08:50:53

Have PMed you.

The site won't be a marketing site, it's an article-based advice site but I'm sure there are companies who should advertise on it wink

PeriPathetic Sat 25-Aug-12 10:13:36

Dolomites - have I just had a FB friend request from you? A.S. ?

Xenia Sat 25-Aug-12 10:20:00

PS, I might have failed at the rare attempts I made to get Government work but in a sense that does not matter as a lot of other things succeed. As I think I said on this thread or the £1k a day one if enough of what you try works then failures don't matter and I listed my many failures.

Most successful people have a lot of failures but it does not bother them - they optimistically bounce back and carry on. I am not sure I will make £1k today because I need to do some other things but it certainly has an impact on how you see your time where if you take a day off you lose £1k.

DolomitesDonkey Sat 25-Aug-12 12:34:30

Peri Yes, that's me. smile I haven't figured out yet how to add people to the group without being connected as "friends" - but I think you can de-friend me afterwards without leaving the group iyswim.

I think optimism has a lot to do with it - in the sense you have to be able to say "bugger, that didn't work so next time I'll try x and y and I must really get around to doing z". No falling at the first hurdle around these parts!

I think perhaps I've been under-estimating what I might achieve - I'd been hoping to top 1000 euros a day, but why not aim for 1000 sterling?

PeriPathetic Sat 25-Aug-12 12:57:36

OK! Gotcha - just wanted to check 'cos I've had some odd friend requests recently.

I'm a born optimist, but struggling a bit today after accidentally defrosting the freezer, killing a v expensive cardi and battling web design & hosting.

I've had a break, done a spot of gardening and am back on the case (as far as DH & DD will allow without interruptions).

nankypeevy Sat 25-Aug-12 14:44:57

Mme Lindor not even if there was fizz and, ehm, lindors?

I'm a wee bit startled at the response to the pelvic floor thing. A few PMs from the thread, and a chance chat at the school gate - about 6 people interested in the idea of a private, frank and fresh chat and advice session.

My stand up stuff is about life with a young family - one of the props is a giant fanjo bag. It's not very Naice, but it is funny. Might be a handy visual aid for pelvic floor stuff...

...mmm, mulling. Might do a trial locally and see how it goes.

BIWI Sat 25-Aug-12 14:49:41

We have a very odd attitude to failure in the UK - it is actually a great way to learn about how to do things. Try and re-frame failure as a great lesson, and use it as a way to step up to success.

NiceBiscuits Sat 25-Aug-12 15:01:31

"I learnt so much from my failures, I can't wait to make some more" - can't remember who said that but it stuck in my mind.

BIWI Sat 25-Aug-12 15:06:25

Edison:

Overcoming Failure: Thomas Edison Quotes
I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.

BIWI Sat 25-Aug-12 15:07:36

And more Edison:

Funny: Thomas Edison Quotes
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.

Overcoming Failure: Thomas Edison Quotes
Many of life's failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

Perseverance, Persistence: Thomas Edison Quotes
Nearly every man who develops an idea works at it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then gets discouraged. That's not the place to become discouraged.

Funny: Thomas Edison Quotes
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Overcoming Failure: Thomas Edison Quotes
Show me a thoroughly satisfied man, and I will show you a failure.

WilfSell Sat 25-Aug-12 17:20:35

Honestly nanky, I do think it is a winner. I'm gonna post my thoughts on it on FB actually so all the lurkers don't nick it!

GW297 Sat 25-Aug-12 19:08:44

I have been watching this topic with interest. I am in the early stages of setting up my own small business and it is proving a steep learning curve! I feel as though I have so much still to learn but am enjoying the challenge. I have all the content for my website - now I just need someone to create it for me! I also need someone to design me a logo. What I’d love and feel I’d really benefit from is a mentor who has been there and set up their own small business, who could talk me through the process (either face to face or online!), discuss my ideas, point me in the right direction and answer my questions. Does anyone know if there is a way to go about this?! Good luck to everyone who is in a similar boat to me too!

NiceBiscuits Sat 25-Aug-12 19:55:56

There was a little thread about finding a mentor this earlier this year called:

I really need a mentor where on earth can I find one

porridgelover Sun 26-Aug-12 09:42:38

Wilf thanks for setting up this thread. It has got my engine started, and my head is buzzing with ideas.
That fear thing is just going to have to live in a corner somewhere instead of getting in my way.

Nanky hilarious re fanjos being such an unexpected niche(!) for you. But opportunity has fallen into your lap; not what you expected but dont let it get away.

I spent ages yesterday, sorting through old paperwork and re-establishing a system for records/paperwork/finance.
I think I fell into a trap of thinking that if I wasnt out generating income, it wasnt work...so that when work comes through the door I was scrambling to get things in place to meet it.
Sounds pathetically obvious when I write it here. hmm

Donkey you put the boot up me a#s* to get electronic forms done. It's still a work in progress but a good start is half the job. Thanks.
The advice about data storage is very pertinent....obv having a medical related job, confidentiality is primary. I have an external hard drive, and only blank forms 'live' on my networked PC. Ditto locked storage for paper files.

Such a useful thread; hope it stays live. I need the support (and to live vicarious successes!).

nankypeevy Sun 26-Aug-12 10:11:54

Falling on my lap, ha ah ha.

I've just sent an email to my friend at the schoolgate who did my website. He writes apps...
squee.

I have lost my bank card and work related receipts. I know they are together, and I know they are here somewhere...

...at which point is it reasonable to demand a PA? Should I actually be making money? Because, at this rate, that day will never come...

MmeLindor Sun 26-Aug-12 12:17:19

There's a business idea for someone mega organised. Be our PA

DolomitesDonkey Sun 26-Aug-12 12:30:05

There virtual PA's on mn, I shall try and remember who they are - or perhaps they'll shout!

BIWI Sun 26-Aug-12 12:39:26

I've always quite fancied doing the whole PA/admin thing. I hate doing my own paperwork, but I like organising things, so if I was getting paid for doing it for other people it would be different. I'd include doing things like sorting out people's e-mail inboxes. My inbox reaches 2000+ e-mails all too quickly, and filing them is a job I hate.

MmeLindor Sun 26-Aug-12 17:00:27

There's a thing, BIWI.

I want to be able to access my emails from my iphi

MmeLindor Sun 26-Aug-12 17:01:33

argh. Pressed send too soon.

I want to be able to access emails from my iphone, but if I put them into neat little folders in outlook, I don't think I will be able to. Or can I?

BIWI Sun 26-Aug-12 18:06:56

Your iPhone receives e-mail in a different way though, doesn't it? But I'm really not technical enough to know any more/how to do anything different!

MmeLindor Sun 26-Aug-12 18:17:04

oh, yes. True. Will have to try it out.

WilfSell Sun 26-Aug-12 21:39:38

Aww thanks porridge. Of course it was generated from someone else's thread about earning 1k month, till Xenia intervened to bang us all on the heads a bit. Have sneaking suspicion that if I was truly a 1k a day earner, I'd have just taken the credit...

And thanks nanky for the pm - excellent idea and will follow up with some research... Hope you find someone for your App.

Xenia Sun 26-Aug-12 22:13:24

If people want encouragement.. have been working with someone selling an app for about US dollars 2 million although I am not saying everyone can sell an app for that kind of amount and it is not complete yet.

I spent 6 hours today clearing a room with one of my off spring although I am not sure that is the sort of task we could easily outsource. There were some ideas about concierge services on this thread or the £1k a day one re. Quinessentially which was originally a start up.

I would certainly recommend fast responses to customers. I am very quick and that alone often gets work. If you are very very good but very very slow you might as well not exist.

DolomitesDonkey Mon 27-Aug-12 04:43:15

If you set up your mail on the server with folders then it should come to your phone (if you're using imap settings) in folders too - although it took me a good few months to discover these sub-folders. blush

BIWI Mon 27-Aug-12 09:21:46

Can you explain more about how that would work, DD? My e-mail folders are all set up on Outlook in separate folders, but it's different on my PC and on my laptop, because that's where I set up the folders.

When you say 'the server' - what do you mean? As you can see, I am technically very challenged! blush

At the moment, I have various 'rules' set up, which diverts mail into client-specific folders, and it would be useful to have that set up on my iphone too. At the moment, I have 3 e-mail addresses set up on my phone, but they receive e-mail as a totality, and there aren't any sub-folders for any of the addresses, nor do I know how to create/access them!

(I'm already thinking that there is obviously an opportunity here for a technical/IT wizard!)

nankypeevy Mon 27-Aug-12 09:47:18

Yep. I've got a blackberry - which was gifted out of desperation by my technologically able DH. I was all excited about it becasue I could make a wee cover with beaded brambles on it (brambles for my blackberry, geddit) However, I have no idea how to set up my work email - and the bloody thing scares me a bit.

Very pleased with my felting and beading and embroidered case though.

Also - downloading music for my classes and uploading photos to my website and blog give me the shivers too.

Embarrassing. I left my heart in the 80's.

Mintyy Mon 27-Aug-12 12:05:20

lurky lurk

BIWI Mon 27-Aug-12 12:22:46

Wot no posting today, Mintyy?!

Mintyy Mon 27-Aug-12 12:24:45

Trying to get off Mnet biwi. Got a fortnights worth of washing to do! (and a fortnights worth of Mnet to catch up on wink). But am marking place on thread.

WilfSell Mon 27-Aug-12 12:30:46

haha mintyy, I've just seen you lurking over on the fasting thread too. Lurkfest.

Saffra Mon 27-Aug-12 12:32:34

GW297 - I also spent a bit of time trying to look for a mentor during my start-up phase for online biz and couldn't find anyone suitable. (I contacted my former Chartered Institute of Marketing tutor and an ex-Business Link contact I had from a previous employed role, who I thought would be well connected).

Have you checked out forums like www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk? There are several boards on there that I find helpful - e.g. Ecommerce, SEO and retail.

The planning phase is very exciting - full of possibilities!

If you have any specific Q's, then feel welcome to pm me.

BIWI Mon 27-Aug-12 12:34:43

I love the way that you can't just lurk, though - you have to tell us that you're lurking! Which means you're posting ... grin

Xenia Mon 27-Aug-12 12:34:52

A break can do people good.
I have looked up the contacts I met last week at a work thing who came from all over the world. It is always interesting to see who is connected to whom. One was connected to a UK royal but I will say no more (not that that would be any good for work but was fascinating). One has connected to me from the near East. Don't limit yourselves to UK work. The pound has been fairly low and one exporter I know made £1m last year in exports (all kept by him, sadly a him not a her) because prices were so much more competitive because of the state of the pound then. May not be quite so good now.

One reason Germany (and the UK's best export - the golden egg everyone wants to murder so that their benefits will presumably be halved in value - our financial sector) has done so well is because it has skills or products which many of those abroad want.

Mintyy Mon 27-Aug-12 12:35:43

Yep, come back from a lovely holiday in Italy full of all sorts of resolutions!

But I saw that Panorama about the 5:2 fasting thing before we went and was intrigued by it and thought I'd give it a try. Going to come back later and read through properly ... am a bit clueless as to how I'll ever stick to 500 calories per day grin. Managed not to totally blimp out in Italy because it was too hot to eat (and I was a bit underwhelmed by the food tbh) and I spent hours in the pool as the only way to cool down. Still got at least 30lb to lose though sad.

Mintyy Mon 27-Aug-12 12:37:22

I know Biwi! Tell me to get up off my huge backside and into that kitchen where the laundry mountain waits grin

BIWI Mon 27-Aug-12 12:49:44

Come and join the Bootcamp threads, Mintyy - no need to calorie count there!

Mintyy Mon 27-Aug-12 12:52:15

Oh I know you do sterling work over there my duck and you've all shifted tons of weight ... but I just can't do low carb. I cannot. Honestly.

<munches toast>

Mintyy Mon 27-Aug-12 12:52:55

Anyway, sorry for hijacking op. Really am going now! Back later.

DolomitesDonkey Mon 27-Aug-12 14:19:56

BIWI Your site-host (the people you have your website with) should allow you to check your mail online. If yes, try opening up this program and making a "test folder". If you then have your PC/laptop/phone settings to be imap.yoursite.co.uk rather than pop3.yoursite.co.uk then the emails are synced across each and every reading entity you use. This means that if you download something on your laptop, it will also be visible on your phone - and, once you've deleted something, it deletes it from all devices. Anyway, your test folder should show up on your phone/laptop. It may take a bit of fiddling with the phone - e.g., like you, I had all accounts showing, but then I selected "folders" and it showed in, out, in-out, shake-it-all-about - I scrolled down and showed the individual sub-folders that I'd created on the web-server email host itself.

Is any of that making sense?

BIWI Mon 27-Aug-12 15:08:20

<foams at mouth>

Xenia Mon 27-Aug-12 15:43:26

if you arwe asking how to check emails when you are not at your pc you can go on to mail2web.com but you need to know your user name, password and the server name your ISP (eg BT) uses/you use. You can get that by asking them.

Mostly those of us with a blackberry can just easily get all our emails to all accounts coming into the phone for when we aren't at the computer and that usually works pretty easily.

BIWI Mon 27-Aug-12 15:49:32

No - that's not the issue, Xenia. And I have all e-mail coming to me on my iPhone. It's about creating sub-folders so that you can have your e-mails filed in the same way that you would on your PC.

StripyShoes Mon 27-Aug-12 16:09:35

Just marking my place so I can catch up after tonights shift at work.

WilfSell Mon 27-Aug-12 16:42:05

OK 'preneurs, quick poll. Have asked on the 1k club Facebook page but would be grateful for your view. I've spent exactly one morning thinking about this and already have self-doubt and perfectionism kicking in.

When planning and working up ones business idea best to:

1. Start small, local and with a fair few flaws in the model. Risk other bigger players doing it better and quicker, but benefit of local contacts and have something to scale up and out later?

2. Plan big, fullscale thing with the flaws above ironed out ahead of time and potentially more effective business model. This needs more investment and more expertise but still do-able in my humble [naive] opinion.

Mind is fizzing but scale of possibilities is terrifying...

Xenia Mon 27-Aug-12 16:47:04

It depends on the idea. A lot of people make a mistake of hiring a large office and taking on a lot of employees and being conned into spending £10k on a website. I think keeping over heads really really low is very wise as so much can be done cheaply on line.

On the two options I think it depends what it is and that's hard to discuss without giving the idea away. A lot of thigns only take off if people hear about them so something which gets a lot of publicity is going to do better. However most people have to start small - eg if you were going into buy to let properties you would probably start with one and build up from there rather than persuading a bank to lend you to allow you to buy 15 flats at once as you'd need a track record to get financing.

If your bigger thing is more doable and likely to fail then the bigger version sounds better however.

BIWI Mon 27-Aug-12 17:28:05

It depends on what your specific goals and objectives are, Wilf.

Have you written a business plan? That's where I would start. It's a discipline that makes you really think through what you want to achieve (especially financially), and you should be writing goals for yourself for 1, 5 and 10 years if you can.

Thus your 1st year objective could be your number one, with number 2 being your 5th or 10th year objective.

Once you have defined those, then you write your detailed plan as to how you're going to achieve it.

WilfSell Mon 27-Aug-12 19:27:27

Yeah. Have just filled up [crazy person] about 15 pages of a new notebook today drafting out ideas. Will write up soon! I'm going to share on our new FB page soon but basically it's a searchable website with a potential publishing arm!

CajaDeLaMemoria Mon 27-Aug-12 20:52:51

Can I join the FB group?

I'd love to scale things up and really get going...it's my time to shine smile

(Or at least I'm going to keep telling myself that!)

WilfSell Mon 27-Aug-12 20:54:30

Scan up the thread and you'll see the people you can PM with your details to join the FB group. Definitely dolomitesdonkey and mmelindor and a couple of others.

iloveeverton Mon 27-Aug-12 22:03:26

Nanky thank you, you have inspired me! I'm a physio too working near liverpool. I work for someone else in a private practice but am required to do quite a few home visits- which I love.

However I would love to just work for myself doing these visits full time. It will not be a problem for my current boss as I live a good distance to work so no treading on toes!

I have tried to PM you but I cant seem to access peoples accounts today?

On a side note I am so inspired by the 1k thread. I run a separate business with a friend totally out of my skill area- its a hairdressers but I do all the admin bit and although times are tough we are afloat and employing others which I'm proud of.

I am also toying with the idea of an organic dog treat bakery- I can never find any decent treats for my pets that aren't full of rubbish, I have some great recipies and have lots of contacts.

Could someone PM me to join the facebook group? I'm inspired.

NiceBiscuits Mon 27-Aug-12 22:49:54

Love the idea of organic dog treats.

GW297 Mon 27-Aug-12 22:53:33

Nicebiscuits and saffra - thank you for the replies, both very helpful. WilfSell I think it's best to start small and local, but I suppose it depends on the nature of your business and probably your start up costs.

QueefLatina Tue 28-Aug-12 12:30:28

Marking place as I'm in the process of setting up my own business and I'm inspired by the can do attitude on here

fusam Tue 28-Aug-12 20:18:09

May I join you guys? I am an IT contractor in the early stages of setting up a tech company making specialist software. Whilst I have been a contractor for a few years am still struggling with shifting my mindset to running an actual company that produces something rather than just turning up solving a specific problem.

I am going to start an on-line course on Udacity on building a startup, see here. If anyone is actually struggling on the processes then it might be of interest. If you end up signing up for that course let me know and we can support each other.

There is an interesting movement of something call lean and agile startups within the Tech industry over the last couple of years. There have been a number of books on the subject but it's basically a system of trying out ideas on the market by building prototypes first and actively seeking feedback in order to tweak as part of the design process. It's not just for IT companies the concepts are interesting for any company. Lean startup 'movement' encourages startup companies to take advantage of their small size and ability to react to the market much faster than the big guys in order to compete. Sorry I am tired and not really summarizing it properly but if anyone is interested I can dig out some helpful links.

A recent quite witty and inspiring article for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit is the 7 habits of effective mediocre entrepeneurs

I will pm mme later to join your fb group. I am happy to help if you have IT questions, (but I have a toddler and a tiny baby and a job so please forgive me if I don't get back to you right away). I am especially looking for help from someone with a design eye to do a skills trade with.

fusam Tue 28-Aug-12 20:25:42

Rant alert

Please encourage your DDs to become more technical. I am often the only woman in IT events and it's depressing. Most companies of the future will have to be highly tech orientated and there are so many opportunities for women to be paid well but also have a bit of flexibility. I work full time (or more) but around the kids i.e. school hours plus most nights and weekends

rant over.

IvanaNap Tue 28-Aug-12 20:51:05

Fusam, tell me what I am especially looking for help from someone with a design eye to do a skills trade with. that bit means / a bit more about it? smile

MmeLindor Tue 28-Aug-12 20:58:18

fusam
I have sent you several rambling and slightly rude emails. Ignore me and go to the last one. I have had two glasses of red wine.

Wilf
Xenia is spot on with that comment about renting big offices and paying £10k for a website. Nothing against going for the big golden ring, but I would say keep your start up costs as low as possible until you can see if it will work. I am still hoping to do something with my pre-teen mag, and that is how I have started it. I need to do a business plan for it though.

NiceBiscuits Tue 28-Aug-12 21:06:23

Fusam, I'm in the FB group and am a graphic designer. I would be very happy to help if it's useful.

I like your point about getting dd into IT. But how? All I can think of is to look for ways to get them coding and maybe make simple apps? What do you think? Do you know of any good resources in that area?

MmeLindor Tue 28-Aug-12 21:10:49

NiceBiscuits
do you know CodeClub?

fusam Tue 28-Aug-12 21:41:55

Nice biscuits get them a raspberry pi and get them coding and building apps that solve problems or games. Games coding is highly maths based and all the successful games developers i know are very clever. There are loads of coding competitions online but tend to be full of young boys.

Design help wise i need help making my apps easy to navigate, etc. Business idea for those of you who are techy but also have design skills is interface design. I.e look åt how apple products are intiutive its because they are so focused on design. product designers for software are in high demand. On my phone today but will find you guys on fb tomorrow and can discuss further.

Thanks Xenia for the gov contract link going to have a go, nothing to lose.

Xenia Tue 28-Aug-12 22:46:11

They certainly keep saying they want more small businesses bidding for public sector work. I have never won any but I have not really put much effort into it as with all my other work people just ring up wanting me so the idea you put hours into filling in tender forms and sending in accounts seems like a lot of work when I am getting other work with none of that effort and instead just email someone back saying I can do X for £xxx and they say yes go ahead.

DolomitesDonkey Wed 29-Aug-12 08:14:19

I have heard it said that as a rule of thumb they expect - and like to stick to their script/rules exactly - 3 years of accounts which show turnover to 3 times the value of the contract. Which, is virtually impossible to break in to for us smaller operators - e.g., if you're a start-up your records are non-existant and whilst it might be a full-time job managing a contract of 250,000, you're unlikely to have had the time/resources to manage 750,000 worth of business. Which I suppose is why there is a monopoly on certain types of contracts even though we in the public domain know that they're shoddy operators. sad

Frontpaw Wed 29-Aug-12 08:21:10

Great thread! I do need to get my freelance up and running again. I half heatedly did some freelance but it was so hit and miss and in my line of work, clients are often one off, although referrals were good. I am too lazy and definitely lack confidence, which is not great as I am... a bloody therapist!

Someone give me a kick up the bum please? I am a good therapist but awful at selling myself, which is also odd.... as my day job is marcomms!

cheddarcheeselover Wed 29-Aug-12 08:51:59

Hello, I lurked on the thread about 1K in a month or a day, an then followed you here, am finding you all very inspiring!
I'm an artist and a designer who constantly undervalues her work, but has finally started to desire earning some proper money and becoming more commercial.
I'm working on a range of homewares and stationery to be sold online and via local boutiques to start with. Eventually I'll have Cath Kidson quaking in her boots...maybe....

schmalex Wed 29-Aug-12 08:57:47

Can I join? I've been reinventing myself as a freelance journalist for the last couple of years. Although I've been reasonably successful, the rates are so low I really think I should be doing something bigger. I've got experience in finance, the media, marketing, so I should be able to do this! V scared though...

Xenia Wed 29-Aug-12 09:01:58

Re journalist: I know someone worth an awful lot and they started on a local paper, then a national but the real money has come when they began buying publications (and now they also do venture capital/investment). I write as part of what I do and it's always been fairly low paid although some I manage to get up to £400 an hour or even in one case about £1k a hour but that's very rare and very specialist stuff and I am very fast. Where I make more money at it is owning the publications. However I am sure it is on the wane as so much is free although it is interesting to watch how the paid Times access will work.

NiceBiscuits Wed 29-Aug-12 09:15:55

Fusam and Mme Lindor, thanks for those tips about Raspberry PI and Codeclub. They look great. I think our school might be up for Codeclub.

greatwork Wed 29-Aug-12 14:08:06

I posted on the 1K thread, but I've namechanged so I can post here about real life work stuff and not have it linked to all my deepest / most embarrassing secrets posted elsewhere on mn!

I'd like to join your fb group - but I don't have an fb account yet. MmeL I've emailed you because I think I need your social media training.

I've been freelance for several years and over that time I've changed the arena in which I work. Part of the key to that has been (whenever possible) making sure that my business expenditure (including salary and dividends) was less than business income. By doing this I built up a financial cushion. My main purpose was to make sure I could get by in a lean year, but in actual fact I used it to train in a niche area and then to establish my new area of work.

I see several posts where people doubt that they could make £1K a day, but in addition to highly paid consultancy work there are other approaches. The key thing is that if your business model is based only on exchanging your time for money (whether it is £6 per hour on pph, or £500 per hour in specialist work) then your potential to earn is always going to be limited by your availability to work, and the number of hours that you are willing to work. I have met some very successful people who have exploited their talents more creatively, to make additional money that was not related so directly to their input.... For example a friend left employed work and set up as a therapist - work for which she could charge about £25 per hour, and in a local market that was already quite crowded. So she also expanded into products: home-made aromatherapy products, meditation CDs, crystals in presentation boxes. She trained as a teacher and ran classes and group work. She set up a membership group which people payed to join and established a network of qualified, insured therapists. She established a link with a local cancer charity and the Therapists from her network offered reduced price therapies - this also had a massive benefit of establishing her credibility. It took her a couple of years to get all this established but it has left her in a position where she can research new areas of interest (I think her most recent research venture has been meditation for children, for which she has produced a CD and written a book).

So I suppose what I'm suggesting is looking at ways in which you not only make jewelry but also run a jewelry class, and write a book about silversmithing techniques (or whatever). And it's the approach that I'm about to take with my most recent venture.

Xenia Wed 29-Aug-12 15:23:46

Very good, gw. I have been similar in a sense - do a variety of things all kind of linked but they all help each other.

Also even those of us who are in areas where we are paid a lot per hour we are only a glorified cleaner in a sense even when hourly rates are over £200 because you are just selling time. If you can charge instead fixed prices based on the value of what you provide and/or have people working for you profits from whom you keep and ultimately have a business selling things you are not necessarily directly sitting there selling on an hourly basis unltimateily you make the most money. It is those who create a business and sell it who tend to make the most money.

NiceBiscuits Wed 29-Aug-12 15:39:44

fusam, I thought about your quest for making apps easy to navigate, etc. when I came across this post on a Branding Agency website
www.movingbrands.com/?p=9438

Thought it was quite an interesting point about adding just enough personality but nothing too whacky.

newadventures Wed 29-Aug-12 16:15:24

Hi everyone - much like greatwork I posted on the £1k thread but have name changed for the same reason!

This is one of the best threads I have ever seen on MN... Interesting, inspiring, intelligent.

I am aiming for £1k a day eventually.... Almost half way there so a long way to go but not entirely impossible!

Watching with interest and as I mentioned earlier happy to help anyone who needs business plan/brand strategy/marketing advice as that's my area...

So great to see some smart chat on MN!

Xenia Wed 29-Aug-12 16:17:51

Glad it's liked.
We also need to remember that is you earn £1000 a day at least half is given back to the state and you are then in the 1 in 4 people who support the 3 in 4 who are net takers from the welfare state. So it means you have your 3 benefit claimants you keep in a sense so I suppose it is also good for the country to earn those sums and in a sense you do God's work...

newadventures Wed 29-Aug-12 16:36:05

Nice way to look at it!!

I've only been my own boss since June but so far am loving it!

DolomitesDonkey Wed 29-Aug-12 17:18:54

I've got the forum 75% done and will spend another hour this evening, then I shut early. Wednesday is my early finish day.

Avago Wed 29-Aug-12 17:55:40

DolomitesDonkey Thanks for posting the link to the Great British Business Show looks great, I'd have a cuppa with you smile

DolomitesDonkey Thu 30-Aug-12 05:28:21

Avago I registered there ages ago (free ticket) and have it ready to go - but I probably won't know until October whether it's a possibility for me. But if I do go, I would love to rally the troops and take a look around.

There has been a forum created to discuss such entrepreneurial matters which will I hope, prove much easier to navigate than a FB page. If you'd like to join - please just PM almost anyone on this thread for the address.

joshandjamie Thu 30-Aug-12 07:56:46

I haven't read the whole thread but have tried to read most of it and the other £1000 a month thread.

Thought I'd add my experience and where I'm at now:
My career was in PR in a sector I hated. After having kids, I set up on my own in a completely new PR sector. I started out charging next to nothing because I didn't know the sector and felt I needed to get experience before charging more. It took me a long time to increase my rates but I eventually was charging £400 a day which for the sector was ok.

I could have made it a bigger business if I'd felt inspired by it, but I didn't. I did manage to sell it after running it for 5 years, again not for a fortune, but a pretty decent sum (what many people would be more than happy to earn a year). Given it was really just me and my client list I was pretty amazed that I managed to sell it at all.

I am now doing some freelance marketing work but I really want to set up a new business, I just don't know what. All of my experience is in PR but I am so bored of PR and I don't even like it. Feel like I have no experience in anything else so am stuck. I will be following this thread with interest and would love to know about the FB group.

A few other things:
- when I started out I only had childcare one day a week and had to work the rest of the time when my kids were asleep. I started up when my kids were 6 months and 2 years respectively. It was hard work
- To get my first clients, I found companies I'd like to work for and wrote to them. I sent a personal email to the founder of the businesses (they were small businesses) and suggested how they might be able to improve their profile. Because they were so busy and didn't have time to go looking for a PR company, they very often just said yes and I cracked on with it.
- If I could go back, I'd say to myself: believe in yourself. Be brave

Xenia Thu 30-Aug-12 17:29:08

I was paid today to record a DVD thing about developing a business which was fun. £500 for just over the hour which is good by my standards anyway.
J&J has good advice. Often people have no time to loko for the services they need and if you just happen to contact them when they are interested in something they will take the first person offering that service.

Presumably there is some money in setting up in advertising - something one of my children had considered before she picked what she now does and why I liked it is that ultimately you can be your own boss, be the new female Saatchi. However on the whole girls leaving university who want to go into "PR" your heart sinks and you think low pay for life whereas if they were going off to be McKinsey consultants or to be potential equity partners at Ernst & Young on £1m a year you suspect over all they will earn more. I am not saying PR can never be well paid but at graduate level it does tend to pay worse as do lots of the popular female things like women's magazines and fashion than some others. However if you own the magazines or set up your own netaporter you can certainly do pretty well.

LaVitaBellissima Thu 30-Aug-12 17:45:45

Peri I've PM'd you. I am in the early stages of a new business and would love some feedback. Can you add me to the Facebook page smile

PeriPathetic Thu 30-Aug-12 18:09:16

I don't have the admin on there - please contact MmeLindor or DolomitesDonkey smile

See you there!

GW297 Thu 30-Aug-12 21:19:13

Tip of the day! Look at your list of start up costs, then pick one and strive to reduce it. It's common sense and probably everyone already does it, but I've managed to source several items today more cheaply than I originally thought I would be able to purchase them for and am feeling very pleased!

LaVitaBellissima Thu 30-Aug-12 21:42:06

GW Thank you, I need to start logging everything and setting up some excel sheets, I'm hoping to recover my start up costs within 2 months.
I have a glass of wine in hand, I will be on it at 7am tomorrow smile

GW297 Thu 30-Aug-12 22:10:59

2 months seems great. I also think do something towards your business every day if you can is a good idea, even if it's only thinking about an issue or doing 5 minutes of research. Good luck with your venture. You are much further on than i am at the moment but i will get there!

PhoebeLaura Fri 31-Aug-12 15:17:16

Can I join in?

I'm an artist/designer and have been working for myself since I had my eldest DC 4 years ago. I've read most of the thread with interest, it's great to get together a group of ambitious, like-minded ladies to support each other.

One of the things I agree with Xenia about is doing lots of different types of work or projects at the same time in order to spread risk. What I do is a million miles away from Xenia's line of work but I do have several earning avenues: I work freelance as a commercial graphic designer (logos, brochures etc), I paint and sell my artwork and I have a range of personalised prints for children which I sell on Etsy and Not On The High Street. This way, if one thing goes quiet I find another part of my work will pick up which spreads the risk and covers any slow periods.

One slight concern I have is the focus this thread seems to have on earning money without any discussion as to getting enjoyment from your work. Xenia's rather disparaging comments about avoiding low paid 'women's work' such as crafts and embroidery etc completely overlooks the sheer satisfaction that comes from making and selling something. I absolutely love what I do. It is what makes me tick and if I ever get to earn £1k a day then great but if not then at least I adore what I am doing. Surely that is worth something?

DolomitesDonkey Fri 31-Aug-12 15:49:26

Xenia is extremely motivating and knowledgeable, but I'm sure she'd be the first to agree that there's more than one way to skin a cat. You don't need a PhD from Durham to make $$$ either.

I've PM'd you details.

mummyneedingahug Fri 31-Aug-12 19:09:11

Ok! So I have read this thread and decided to grab the bull by the horns, put together my CV offering consultancy and today got my first reply! Wow - that was unexpected.
They are a charity and the only slightly annoying thing is that in the reply they said they didn't know if they could afford me. I didn't state my costs as I was unsure what projects I would be offered. So now I need to call and chat through ideas BUT help! Where do I even start when it comes to my fees? I don't want to loose this work as it will be a great start to my CV. Xenia I know you stated before not to under charge but I jave no idea where to even start?? Hourly rate/whole project cost??

newadventures Fri 31-Aug-12 20:24:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nankypeevy Fri 31-Aug-12 20:35:13

Phoebe I'm with you on this - I do a bit of stand up comedy and have some knitted props hide behind for the punch line. (It's a fairly graphic bag for keeping condoms in)

I get asked at Every Single Gig - "oh, you should sell those" "will you knit me one?"

I worked out that there are 17, 000 stitches in it. It took me three weeks to design and knit and rip back and knit again, and swear a bit No, I can't effing knit you one, unless you are willing to pay me properly for my time.

People won't pay for handmade stuff. Especially for crafts formerly seen as skills for improving young laydees' marriage prospects.

Howevah - crafting in general is on the rise...gotta be a way to make money on publishing patterns? I'm slooowly writing up rude cross stitch patterns, part of a Fringe Show for maybe next year - but, ultimately, a book. Not too vulgar, medium to high skill level, naice enough for your wall - but take a second look and you'll see that it's rather rude stuff. I blurdy love it.

So, that gives me: clinical stuff, visiting services, zumba stuff for frail people, pelvic floor stuff and nasty craft stuff. Stand up doesn't count, I'm most definitely an open spot and have no desire whatsoever to be driving around the country at 3am with a bunch of drunk blokes eating McDonalds and explaining to me Why Women Just Aren't Funny. Do you actually have to be making money for it to be a portfolio? Well, I'm going to regard that as my portfolio anyway.

Xenia Fri 31-Aug-12 21:15:31

I certainly did not mean to imply you should not enjoy your work. Most people my age who have been successful carry on because we adore it. There is little I enjoy as much as most of the work that I do. If you can find that and earn £1k a day+ on it then that's great. There is no reason enjoyable work has to be low paid. Loadsof high paid work is huge fun.

nankypeevy Fri 31-Aug-12 23:24:58

Ah, Xenia, didn't mean to imply that you were wrong - more a musing on the problems with people expecting mass produced prices v home produced quality.

FWIW - when I get horribly sentimental, I think there's luuuurve knitted into the things that are produced by my ain wee hauns - hard to put a price on that. Which is why I don't knit or sew to commission - "it's like sex. If I love you, it's free. If not, not for any price"

Not even 1k/day.

Xenia Sat 01-Sep-12 07:20:10

Yes, my father said when we were teenagers pick work you will enjoy for the rest of your life. For me the ingredients of that are intellectual challenging, never dull and changes all the time, lots of different people and industries and high status and pay are useful too.

Anyone who watched the programme on iplayer about Class by the artist Gryason Perry will have seen you can certainly make art (tapestry in his case) interesting and also lucrative although I am sure most of us would be suggesting to our children that acting, drawing, music, modelling and writing however much fun they are might be a nice hobby to keep alongside your lucrative profession and once you have your Oxbridge degree and find you are making loads of money from those areas by all means then give up the day job but perhaps not before.

I wonder if any others of our entrepreneurs were at their desks at 7am on a Saturday? I was dealing with a customer in the US but that was a really interesting issue and I am at my best at this time which is a great pity as for over 25 years I have had to be getting children up and ready for school at my mentally best working time. Other people come into their own at night and work well then.

DolomitesDonkey Sat 01-Sep-12 11:54:50

Funny Xenia - I was up at that time, writing about working at that time and how it suits me. I start at 5am daily (including weekends) and allowed myself a rare treat last night and didn't work after 5pm or so. In fact on Thursday I started a little after 4 - it's utter bliss - there are no demands on my time or attention except my own.

If I wait until the children are in bed, all creativity and inspiration has been sapped.

I have always been a morning person though - so I have no idea what it's like at the other end of the spectrum having energy at 10pm!

GW297 Sat 01-Sep-12 17:46:30

Can anyone recommend any books or websites that they found invaluable when they were first starting out?

Bluetimer Sat 01-Sep-12 20:11:40

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

NiceBiscuits Sat 01-Sep-12 20:16:22

I did read an inspiring book on working for yourself, which I now can't remember, but I will come back with it when I do...

Each chapter was one person telling the story of their journey to being their own boss, one of them I think was Lynne Franks.

I just went on Amazon to try and find it (didn't) but I did see Which do a guide to working for yourself. Their books are really good usually.

WilfSell Sat 01-Sep-12 20:17:46

Bluetimer, I'm not sure the tone of your post is quite in the spirit of this thread. Of course, people starting up businesses should be able to network with women on this thread but perhaps you'd like to consider requesting to remove this post and starting again but without the blatant advertising which is counter to MN rules?

We'd be really willing to hear more about your company if the post was in the spirit of sharing expertise, finding out how to build your business further, telling us a bit of your story etc.

But such a blatant plug for an established business is just gonna hack me everyone off.

GW297 Sat 01-Sep-12 22:02:53

NiceBiscuits - i've got a Prince's Trust book that's good and will definitely have a look at the Which guide too. Thank you.

nankypeevy Sat 01-Sep-12 23:47:12

Do you want to know what happened to me today?

Two new patients, and an offer of a contract with a national sports team...

So, not exactly the work I was trying to get - no one elderly or with a weak pelvic floor, but, squee!

LargeLatte Sun 02-Sep-12 00:34:27

Oooh nanky - since I am the only one still awake I shall be the first to dish out the congratulations. You seem very excited. Well done you.

DolomitesDonkey Sun 02-Sep-12 05:42:57

Gosh! Well done! I do hope it's the French national rugby team? <fans self>

NiceBiscuits Sun 02-Sep-12 08:01:22

Good work!

porridgelover Sun 02-Sep-12 09:37:34

Nankeeeeeeeeee go go girl. I am delighted for you.
Hope it's the start of a fab business for you.

Xenia Sun 02-Sep-12 09:40:33

I think we can cope with the odd plug. Although womankind probably does not really want women in beauty. We want them in oil and stocks. We need to challenge gender stereotypes. Anyway saubject to that yes some women in beauty have done quite well eg Net porter, Mellon at Jimmy Choo etc.

np, doesn't matter if it is the work you expect. I do a good line in my glorious failures but as long as enough succeeds even from unexpected quarters then you seize the day.

twentyten Sun 02-Sep-12 10:05:36

Hi. Can I join in?
Been lurking- some ideas on resources I've found useful/inspiring:
(no commercial plug here just what I've found useful!)
Making the Big Leap: Coach Yourself to Create the Life You Really Want [Paperback]
Suzy Greaves-she has a great blog/website too
forwardladies-networking/training and mentoring particularly n/e based
The Seed handbook-Lyn Franks-a little woo woo for me but v inspiring
There are lots on mumpreneur websites and groups out there too- Women in Rural Enterprise good for more rural areas(funnily enough..)

SoftKittyWarmKitty Sun 02-Sep-12 10:37:07

Well done Nanky!

onesandwichshort Sun 02-Sep-12 11:19:23

Well done Nanky! Sorry, haven't been around on MN that much recently.

But this is a great book about freelancing, and I think v much in the spirit of this thread, not least because it made me laugh out loud once or twice but also because he's very much in the camp that being self employed is about charging loads and having time off. He's written a new one too, but I haven't read that.

newadventures Mon 03-Sep-12 07:29:34

Great news nanky! Well done you smile

LaVitaBellissima Mon 03-Sep-12 10:20:54

Well done Nanky smile

Well I have bitten the bullet and really got started with my venture, Ordered my stock, started putting some feelers out and have made 2 bookings, so fingers crossed I am on the way to getting back my investment.

I'm feeling quite excited about it all, 2 years at home with twins, and I am so keen to get going. DP has his own business, so my aim is to make more money than him grin
I don't want to out myself by doing a shameless plug (and I like my mumsnet anonymity) but if anyone wants to know or give me a bit feedback/opinion I'll PM my website.

slipperandpjsmum Mon 03-Sep-12 10:45:06

Advice from all the experts on here required. I have been thinking of starting my own business for sometime. I currently work for SS and have gained a large number of qualifications over the years. I would like to set up a therapy business, one of which would include hypnotherapy. Apart from the standard uses there is a growing number of people working with children for nail bitting, bed wetting even helping with assertive skills if they are being bullied etc. Would anyone consider using this for their children? Feedback/thoughts/comments very welcome.

LaVitaBellissima Mon 03-Sep-12 10:55:54

Slippers sounds like a great idea to me, I'm not in that position yet as my girls are very small but I'd be happy to pay for an alternative therapy. Once you've had a few 'successes' I think you'd have a great business from word of mouth recommendations. Good luck smile

nankypeevy Mon 03-Sep-12 11:06:59

thanks for the encouragement, folks!

I am on a bit of a high after being offered the work - it's one thing to regard yourself as being shit hot and awesome, but quite another to have someone else think that you are worth giving their hard earned cash too!

Dolomites, I used to work with the Scottish Womens' rugby team - which was great, but not quite the same as the current French men's team. Flap your fan over here, please!

At the risk of seeming ungrateful - I don't really want to build up a sports practice. I love the work, and I'm good at it, but, sports physios are ten a penny here.

So, some advice please - would you consider it better to have a website focusing on one type of work/skill 'v' a website summarising ALL your types of work/skills?

One of my patients is an IT guy (handy) He is quite insistant that I should have a website with a focus on sports stuff, or at least a page mentioning it. I don't - I want to be doing something different, and there's no-one doing private domi stuff well in my area.

The sports stuff comes in by word of mouth already - the team contract will be a twice weekly clinic at their training night which is regular income. I don't see the benefit of adjusting my website which makes me look like a specialist in elder care (which, I am. As well. I also bake a really good scone and can do invisible repairing of teddies who's foot sustained a scissor injury. I am blardy mahvellus, by the way. I expect you've noticed that already?)

Also - anyone ever do a "membership scheme"? I need to raise some cash - doing a lot more spending investing than am bringing in just now. I thought of offering the team a deal, pay £ membership fee to my "clinic" and I'll give them discounted treatments. I'll get a lump sum from the members (£40 fee for the year? That's about a single treatment at a physio clinic) still make money from the training nights, and I'll get word of mouth advertising from the "members" to their non-member friends, who could come along to the training night session for treatment. There's no hire fee for the room for my clinic - bit jammy.

Is that a good idea, or am I selling myself short? I need an ultrasound machine, I've been borrowing one - but it's time to get my own. So, I need about 1k. Turns out, that's more than a day's work at the mo...

Anyhoo, I'm going to knuckle down and get some work done. I've got a cup of tea, the kids' budgies are having a wee fly out their cage, I've got a load of washing on and another one out. this working from home might just suit me fine assuming I can get off mumsnet

madda Mon 03-Sep-12 11:20:49

morning
marking my place for later, lots of ideas but all jumbled atm. I finally have free time after several years raising DCs and a degree to use. Leaning towards the publishing a book area, but way too many ideas floating around in the ether of my brain. Time to focus I think. This thread should help me focus...

porridgelover Mon 03-Sep-12 11:23:24

Nanky my tuppence worth would be to not 'dilute' your website....but someone here may be able to advise on a way to link to this area of practice e.g. Could you have a separate 'sports' page on there with a different feel to it....
making clear that you can do it but that's it's a different area of practice?
To me, looking for a sports physio is different to a Geriatric care one...
But that might just be me

I think you cant ignore it, the bottom line has to be watched. If your IT guy thinks your good enough...perhaps in time you can employ someone to keep your sports stuff ticking over allowing you to continue to specialise?

LynnCSchreiber Mon 03-Sep-12 12:10:08

If anyone is interested, there are still some places left on the Mumsnet Academy course on Social media. On 15th Sept in Perth

LynnCSchreiber Mon 03-Sep-12 12:12:58

Ooh. Just saw the posts about not putting ads on here - I can have my post removed if you want. (it's Mme here, name changed to write the thread about MN Academy course)

I have been thinking about how to grow my business, I'm currently a freelance makeup artist.

I'd like to branch out into other beauty therapies, train in colour consultations and offer theses services.

Another thing I am good at (my friends tell me) is decluttering wardrobes and personal shopping.

Possibly would like to train in life coaching, confidence building and offer all these services under one umbrella.

Do you think this is a good idea and do you think it could be offered as an online/remote service also, maybe using Skype if a client was unable to come to me in person.

I don't have a spare room I could use as an office but want to put a summer house/garden room outside to use as an office/studio.

I will need to put a fair bit of money(which I don't have currently) into the training and office so it will be a slow start I think.

What would you call a service like this?

madda Mon 03-Sep-12 12:39:25

terra, you have lots of options, just initially thinking here that if you were to change or diversify your target market, you could add to your business, linking to previous posters, have you thought about offering mobile/home visit services to:
1. new mums needing beauty therapies without hassle of leaving the house
2. disabled ladies wanting to maintIn their beauty regime
3. elderly

just a thought anyhow!

madda Mon 03-Sep-12 12:40:58

not sure about the implications or legalities of visitng random homes though, but bit like a window cleaner offering home services, it should be fine?

nickelcognito Mon 03-Sep-12 12:41:35

We had the Gruffalo on saturday.

that was my make-or-break event.

basically, it was "if no one comes or no one pends money i'm going to have to close".
thankfully, lots of people came and lots of people spent (it was my best day in a long long time), so I think i'm safe for a while.

I hope it means that lots of new people have now found me, and that they will come back, and that they will spread the word about the shop to their friends.

Now it's a hard slog until christmas - i've got to get in touch with every school on my books to tell them that they have been customers in the past and it'd be lovely if they could spend some sodding money here, and get the shop known to everyone who will be buying christmas presents.

Yes, I'm thinking about those markets as potential clients, especially mothers, I used myself as a test subject here and managed to claw my way out of depression by getting my life organised and reinventing my image, I am aware that may sound quite shallow to some but its true.
I am also looking into volunteering for look good,feel better which is a cancer charity helping women who are going through chemo.

WopBopALooBop Mon 03-Sep-12 12:50:27

Me me me!! Am going to read through this thread properly tonight but I want to join in! Looks raaaather inspiring smile

This is my first week of PT work, have reduced my hours from FT so I now have thurs and fri free to research and plan my dream business smile smile

MyNeighbourIsStrange Mon 03-Sep-12 12:51:51

marking my place.

slipperandpjsmum Mon 03-Sep-12 13:10:36

WopBop I am planning on reducing my hours to pt in the new year so I can build my business. I know its your first week but how does this affect what you pay in tax when you start having a turnover from your business?

What type of business are you setting up - if you don't mind me asking

WopBopALooBop Mon 03-Sep-12 13:29:00

It will ultimately be an amazing cake and coffee shop with lots of squishy sofas and yummy treats! I have such a clear visipn in my mind. Will probably start trading at markets etc first of all because I can't open a shop yet as we don't live where we ultimately want to live and raise our kids, so no point starting properly yet to then just relocate. Currently live in London, no kids yet. A lot of my thurs and fris will be spent perfecting my recipes at this stage as well as researching the theoretical and legal side of things.

Haven't looked into tax yet (really going to be starting from the very beginning!!). Now I'm part time I'll only be earning £150 a week so I don't know! Clearly got lots of research to do grin

slipperandpjsmum Mon 03-Sep-12 13:42:07

Sounds great- make sure you let us know the address when it is open!!

MrAnchovy Mon 03-Sep-12 13:42:13

When you start a self-employed business you should tell HMRC that you have a new source of income. Most self employed people pay Class 2 National Insurance which is currently £2.65 a week (generally paid by direct debit 6 monthly; if your self employed income is low you can opt out of this but if it is your only earnings it is probably best not to (google mranchovy class 2 for more info)).

You won't have any more tax to pay until 31 January 2014.

If you claim Tax Credit or other means tested benefits you must tell them about your new source of income and the amounts you get may change.

MrAnchovy Mon 03-Sep-12 13:49:13

Business Link (a government web site) is the best source for information about tax and the other responsibilites when starting up, although there are some knowledgable Mumsnetters who regularly post in this topic for any specific questions.

slipperandpjsmum Mon 03-Sep-12 14:01:11

Thanks for that. At what exact point do you notify them? When I actually earn some money or before that? As initially I will be advertising/promoting business but will have no customers.

DolomitesDonkey Mon 03-Sep-12 14:07:23

terra You absolutely do NOT need to set up an expensive "office" to start a business. More than one empire has been started using a laptop balanced on the bed! Have a google for "shared entrepreneur dorms" in san francisco! Sounds like procrastination to me - and back to Xenia's "don't wait for it to be perfect".

nickelcognito Mon 03-Sep-12 14:12:04

you have to tell them within 3 months of starting up.

definitely don't need an expensive office if you're not doing a shop - just make sure you have access to a computer and internet/email.

DolomitesDonkey Mon 03-Sep-12 14:40:26

... and a printer out of the reach of jammy fingers!

madda Mon 03-Sep-12 16:41:33

i love the spirit of enterprise on this thread
too many sticklers out there in RL saying to me but what about...what about...you can't...blahblah
Thinking cap on once DCs are in bed. Right now I have dinnertime homework duties. helping the next generation in our home, as I see it!

MrAnchovy Mon 03-Sep-12 16:42:53

You should tell them when you start trading which in practice usually means when you first receive money or send out your first invoice.

Note that the three month period referred to by nickelcognito no longer exists, although there is an (even longer) period during which no penalty is due for not informing them. But no need to get into this, just tell them as soon as you start earning.

lubeybooby Mon 03-Sep-12 18:16:13

Just wanted to say thank you for this thread, and also the other one where Xenia was talking about aiming higher and earning 1k in a day, not a month.

I am already self employed but I have just had a new idea that I should be able to take much further - that thought process would never have started if it wasn't for these threads!

DolomitesDonkey Mon 03-Sep-12 18:45:58

Can anyone point me in the right direction for this? I am currently a sole trader, as is an associate. However, we've come up with an idea and would like to form a partnership in the UK (I live in the EU so would need an accountant this end but that's fine, I can deal with that).

What is the situation in the UK? Would we be best to go for a Ltd Co? How do we do that?

What do I need to be aware of when going in to partnership with someone else? Any tips?

MrAnchovy Mon 03-Sep-12 20:14:51

DolomitesDonkey it all depends on the detail - where exactly you live, what other sources of income you have, how often you come to the UK, whether you want to take profit back to your EU home or leave it invested in the UK... but I think it is unlikely that a partnership will be the best solution for either of you.

Xenia Mon 03-Sep-12 20:45:58

Could you not keep it very simple and one of you do the contracting and the other just be a subcontractor or paid a commission and they you avoid the problems of having to work with that person, share profits with them and all the other issues which come both with partnerships and owning 50% of the shares in a company together?

The main thing whichever route you take is to have a written agreement between you before you do much at all.

BusinessUnusual Mon 03-Sep-12 20:59:43

MrAnchovy or Xenia, what is the advantage of setting up as an LLP? A few companies in the area I am looking at are set up that way but isn't it better to have equal shares in a limited company and pay dividends as the way of distributing profits. Am I missing something?

Mme, I'll PM you for the forum/FB details.

BonnieBumble Mon 03-Sep-12 21:13:04

I have a daft question about VAT.

We have been advised to register for VAT even though we will not be near that threshold for a while. If I charge a client £1,000 for a service plus 20% VAT what do I do with that £200, does it just sit in the account until the end of the tax year or do I have to write a cheque to the Inland Revenue straight away?

Why do people think it is better to register for VAT straight away, surely clients would prefer the simplicity of not having to claim it back. Also if they offset the VAT why bother paying it in the first place? confused

I am seeing an Accountant in the next few weeks for a start up consultation so hoping I won't be so clueless after that.

LynnCSchreiber Mon 03-Sep-12 21:19:40

Nanky
Well done, that's brilliant.

ToDoList Mon 03-Sep-12 22:27:56

Hi - another lurker coming out of the woodwork!

I've got a question for the social network pro's - I just set up a facebook page for my business, but it's linked to my personal facebook page, and I now wonder if this was a mistake as my business can't have "friends" of it's own?

For those setting up - I found Clare Rayner - retail champion quite useful, she has "10 steps to retail success" which is a simple guide to setting up business and focussing on your ideal customer / market.

Also Federation of Small Business gives access to free bank account from the Cooperative bank. Also pension scheme for employees, legal advice etc.

BonnieBumble - re VAT: if you register before you need to then you become an unpaid tax collector for the government, however without registering you won't be able to claim back VAT on your costs. VAT returns are done quarterly.

ps Can I join the Facebook group too?

MrAnchovy Mon 03-Sep-12 23:31:34

In general there is no advantage of LLP over a Limited Company.

In some sectors (principally solicitors and medicine including vetinary medicine) LLPs are the norm. In these cases partnership shares are often held by individual limited companies in order to achieve the tax advantages but this obviously results in substantially higher costs overall.

MrAnchovy Mon 03-Sep-12 23:44:48

BonnieBumble your accountant should explain all about VAT, but briefly if your clients are business that are able to reclaim VAT you will be better off if you register for VAT voluntarily, but if your clients are individuals (or business or charities that cannot reclaim VAT) you will be better off if you don't register until you have to.

VAT is generally accounted for quarterly, with the payment due one month after the end of the quarter. Most small business are either on a flat rate scheme or a cash accounting scheme which means they only have to pay the £200 over to HMRC at worst one month and at best four months after it is paid to them by the client.

The reason you will be better off is slightly different depending on whether you are a trader buying and selling goods or if you are selling your services. If it is the former, it is because if you don't register for VAT all your purchases will effectively cost you 20% more. If it is the latter it is because you can go on a scheme which means you add 20% VAT to your invoices but pay a lower percentage to HMRC.

Xenia Tue 04-Sep-12 06:46:49

As said above if you pay a lot of VAT out (you probably don't) when you buy things like paper for the office then if you register for VAT you can claim it back. If you don't then there is no advantage to you. It might make you look more professional. Many businesses have no problem at all with suppliers charging VAT as everyone who supplies them will be charging it so it is no big deal that they have to claim it back. However if you are in a sector of small suppliers and customers are consumers then the fact you charge 20% more and your competitors do not can make a major difference and make things harder for you.

I do my VAT quarterly (never used an accountant in my life but by business model is low spend and that works well) so once a quarter the money is transferred to HMRC electronically and a form sent in electronically.

BU as said above LLPs are used by professional services firms. There is no advantage to you in being one rather than a limited company.
Whenever I have done the sums at what I earn I am NOT better off as a limited company (although that would protect me is someone sued the company) as the company is taxed and then you are taxed when you take the money out. Now you can save a bit of employers NI but it is so small as in my case not worth the hassle of incorporating and you get more privacy if you're not a limited company. Many people however do not need the money they have in their company so they just pay the corporation tax rate and do not often draw out the money so they can save in that way.

If you are worried about being sued however then a company might be best for lots of people.

MmeLindor Tue 04-Sep-12 09:03:02

Todo list
Will add you

You can have as many "likes" as you can gather on a FB page but there is a limit to how many friends you can have. For that reason, it might be better to have a page. Depends on your business really. There are other differences - will post properly later

MrAnchovy Tue 04-Sep-12 10:35:42

Xenia that is not what I said and it is not correct. In fact the biggest benefits of being on a VAT flat rate scheme arefor people who DONT spend a lot on purchases.

Here is an example for a management consultant billing £50,000 a year before VAT:

She adds 20% VAT to her invoices so bills £60,000 a year.

As a management consultant she uses a flat rate of 14% (for most other trades the rate is more favourable - the rates are here, but in the first year there is an additional 1% incentive so the rate is 13%. This rate is applied to the £60,000 to give £7,800: this is the amount of VAT paid over to HMRC.

She is thus £2,200 better off through being registered for VAT on the flat rate scheme for 12 months. That would pay my fees for a self employed person for about seven years.

nickelcognito Tue 04-Sep-12 10:39:26

MrAnchovy really? I didn't know that (notice period)
god, it's only been 4 years since i set up!

Your set-up date is the date you take your first order, not the first invoice/payment date.
It makes no difference to anything except NI contributions (because your income isn't counted until your first invoice date), so from that POV it's better to have your NI up-to-date, and it's nice to have a date to count from! grin

(it'll also mean you can sort out letterheads etc and get your wholesale accounts set up)

I would recommend "making your books up" to 5th april (end of tax year) every year, though, because if you don't you will have complicated tax returns (your first year will just be a short year)

and have spreadsheets for everything!
keep money in and money out on separate files, it'll make it more transparent when you do your tax return.
keep receipts for stuff you've paid for listed separately from those of credit invoices (i call mine "bills that need paying")

nickelcognito Tue 04-Sep-12 10:46:14

Bumble - you do a VAT return quarterly.
so, for jan-mar, apr- jun, jul-sep and oct-dec.

It cuts across the end of the tax year, but it helps with your End of year tax return (because you've done most of your calculations already! grin)

I sell non-vatable goods (mainly) so I end up getting money back from the VATman each quarter (usually to the tune of £200-odd), which is fab.
But it's worth putting, as you say, vat income into a separate pot.
when you complete your vat return, you send the vat man the money owed, and the difference, you can put back into your main account.

MrAnchovy Tue 04-Sep-12 11:04:36

And Xenia your assumptions about the savings from incorporation are similarly incorrect.

The principal saving to be made is Class 4 NI. For someone earning over £42,475 this is over £3,000 a year.

And although you are taxed on the income you take out of a company, the rate is lower than if you earn this income as self employed. For instance on every £1,000 of self employed earnings over £150,000 in 2013 you pay £500 in income tax and £20 of Class 4 NI leaving you with £480. Through a company you are left with £511. The gains are clearly more marginal here, but as an example someone in the £1,000 a day club with self employed profits of £250,000 should be over £10,000 better off incorporating.

mcmooncup Tue 04-Sep-12 11:13:29

Marking place on thread.
I'm nearly 2 years into a Social Enterprise business. Ups and downs.......lots of personal changes to cope with in that time.
Love it.
Doing Business Development today......I even quite like that !!!

nankypeevy Tue 04-Sep-12 11:20:57

This thread has really got me going...

got the stuff I need for trialling the physio parties. I think I've persuaded a mum at the school gate (who's a GP who works in women's health, how handy) to host a trial.

squee!

MrAnchovy Tue 04-Sep-12 11:23:18

nickelcognito it changed in April 2009 along with the definition of whether the date for is when you take your first order or the first invoice/payment date which is now totally unclear: in practice HMRC accept the latter.

Registering for NI makes no difference to your letterhead or anything else except having to pay £2.65 a week.

I'd definately NOT recommend making your books up to 5th April, in most cases it is easiest to make them up to 31st March. However if your earnings increase rapidly in the first 18 months of trading (particularly if you are currently not earning) it may well be worth using a different date. An accountant is necessary here.

Do you really think it is worth saving a couple of hundred quid in accountancy fees to spend time finding out about all of this and possibly end up paying more than that in tax unnecessarily anyway?

nickelcognito Tue 04-Sep-12 11:40:29

no, i know, but if you don't register early enough, then your stamp is affected.

i still think that making your books up t 5th april is infinitely easier than any different date.

i put invoices and takings into the spreadsheet as "march" (obviously i put the correct dates in, but i put them on the same sheet as march) - then i add up (at the bottom)
actual month
and
tax month.

i suppose it depends on what business you have.
i think that as a supplier of goods, a tax year end date is easier.

i just don't see how making your books up to a different date can be easier?!

The HMRC recognises that if you run your business from November, that your first year to 5th April is a short year. You still only get tax assessed on income.

If you assume that you will pay 30% on your profit tax (i know that's not the exact amount, but it's useful to have an "approximation" in your books as an allowance for when you calculate your tax later on - mainly because it allows for errors and it means that you won't be short or having to find the money from somewhere!), then you can roughly work out how much of each thing you sell you need to keep by.
if it costs you £3 per item, and you sell it for £5, then without working out what your capital expenses are, or any other stuff, you can put by £0.66 per item in case of tax.

If you make less than that, you can carry it forward to next year( in your separate account), or use it for buying new stuff.

but it means you've always got that buffer.

nickelcognito Tue 04-Sep-12 11:45:52

and i've found no need for an accountant for the last 4 years, as a business that has a turnover small enough to use a shorter tax return.
I have a year end of 5th of april, which makes my spreadsheets easy to handle, and the HMRC stuff easy to fill in and add up.

I keep track of everything I spend, everything I invoice and everything I receive.
I add it all up at the end of the month, at the end of the quarter and the end of the tax year.
It works fine for me, as a sole trader.

nickelcognito Tue 04-Sep-12 11:48:29

in fact, a quick google shows massive companies with loads of outlets and huge numbers of staff (and directors and stuff- so limited and plcs here) are the ones with different tax year ends.
a sole trader or someone with a very small business is sooo much easier to use the HMRC's date.

nickelcognito Tue 04-Sep-12 11:50:08

the HMRC says that it's easiest to use the 5th april as tax year end if you're just starting up "to keep your calculations simple"

MrAnchovy Tue 04-Sep-12 12:07:49

nickelignito I don't understand how that would be easier than only putting March invoices into March and not recording 'actual' months and 'tax' months separately?

MrAnchovy Tue 04-Sep-12 12:11:37

I think the point that you are missing is that HMRC treat 31 March as equivalent to 5 April as explained here so you don't have to do any additional calculations.

nickelcognito Tue 04-Sep-12 13:22:50

well, i didn't know they treatd 31st march and subsequent dates to 5th april as 5th april.

now i do, i can see it makes sense.
(still won't be dong it for me though because it just feels weird - i am a very literal person, so couldn' cope with calling 31st march the 5th april!)

nickelcognito Tue 04-Sep-12 13:23:34

(and it doesn't take much longer - the only months that are split like that are april and march, and Excel works it out for me)

Fleecy Tue 04-Sep-12 13:24:26

Have read both threads now and would love to join the group.

I'm a freelance copywriter and also have done BTL in the past but no value here now, DH is a s/e accountant and bookkeeper but also does online betting and share trading. We're both part time with young children at home and take turns to work and do childcare. Lots of late nights but worth it.

We're hoping to move to Spain next year and continue working as we do now (not the betting though - can't do this online there, shares still good though) but would like to find something else we can do as well.

Reading this thread it seems lots of people lack and marketing and financial skills but have the business idea - I wonder if we might be able to fill a niche there offering both services to small businesses?

stopandgo Tue 04-Sep-12 13:42:22

Hello all,

I've just found this thread and managed to read a fair bit of it (and get a few tips and a bit of inspiration already thank you!).

I am just starting up a business from home, primarily creating websites using Wordpress. At least I think that will be my focus but I'm flexible as to how things develop... Basically I have an IT background and want to find my brain again and use the skills that I know are in me somewhere! I live in a fairly rural area so am hoping to do a couple of sites for friends first of all so that I have some sort of portfolio and then I will look at whether to try for more local website work. Realistically I think I will need to get contracts on-line or from further afield eventually, I need to get a bit of confidence back first.

I've no particular questions at the moment - I'm going to a business gateway start-up course next week and am now starting to build my own website so I might be back for advice soon!

Xenia Tue 04-Sep-12 18:47:15

Well I never found the gains of having a company at my income level) having to take all the money out of the company alwyas were really worth the hassle and cost of having to have and pay an accountant and the privacy issues - your accounts are then public, your directorship is in the public domain. For me that saving even if your figure is right is not big enough to make me want to do it.
It is annoying in the press though that so many articles talk about people saving tax by having a company and the press completely over look that the money if taxed in the company and then taxed again when you take it out as dividend or salary.

On the VAT issue I did not realise we were talking about the flat rate scheme (don't earn little enough to be allowed to use it). It certainly saves people having to keep all their receipts etc . Obviously some people will lose out if they use it but as you say some can gain if what they can recoup is more than the VAT they have actually paid for purchases.

nc, I always just use 5 April, much simpler and then you are recording income simplky by the tax year.

Interesting letter in today's paper (Times or FT) about the new universal benefit. Apparently you will be allowed to try to get your business going for 12 months before it has any impact on your tax credits I think it says and benefits which will help people having 12 months to get started if they are currently on a low income or benefits.

MrAnchovy Tue 04-Sep-12 19:49:38

Xenia these are your decisions and I am not saying there is anything wrong with them as I assume you have looked into the pros and cons - all I am doing is providing some detail so that others can be similarly well informed. The pros of limited company status are often underestimated (in particular the fact that the biggest percentage benefits are for those earning up to £42k - most people assume that Ltd Co status is only for millionaires) and the cons ofter overestimated - for instance you talk about your 'accounts being public' but abbreviated accounts do not show any turnover or profit figure, basically all that has to be published is how much profit has NOT been taken out of the company and how much is in the company bank account.

As for flat rate VAT, I understand that you earn more than the £150k that is the limit for these schemes, but if you have a number of businesses that can be genuinely separated these could be incorporated as separate companies and the threshold would apply to each.

If you mean the letter in the FT from Lord Freud it does appear to say what you said, but I think he didn't mean to say that (if you see what I mean): expect a retraction/clarification shortly.

BusinessUnusual Tue 04-Sep-12 22:31:47

Thanks, MrAnchovy and Xenia. I would be setting up with one or two others (so not a sole trader incorporating) and we'd be required by the nature of the contracts we would target to provide formal accounting information, so that would have to be done whether Ltd or LLP.

We'd file abbreviated accounts if Ltd (until such time as we weren't exempt, given that we are thinking big on this thread grin).

BonnieBumble Tue 04-Sep-12 22:33:35

Thanks all for your advice on VAT.

MrAnchovy Tue 04-Sep-12 22:51:57

The turnover limit for abbreviated accounts is £6.5 million so you must be thinking REALLY big!

nankypeevy Tue 04-Sep-12 23:26:00

My brain hurts.

I try to manage the tax stuff, I really do. I believe in tax. I don't want to mess it up and get fined. But, it's soooo much easier on PAYE.

Sigh.

PAYE. I took you forgranted for all those years. Sorry.

BusinessUnusual Wed 05-Sep-12 00:04:16

Well, maybe give it twenty a couple of years!

MmeLindor Wed 05-Sep-12 00:07:08

Me too, Nanky. Trying to work out what to do - register as a company or not, pay VAT or not.

I don't think it will be worth it for me, since I am not going to get anywhere near the VAT threshold by April.

this thread has taken me quite a while to read, but it's fab!

I run my own business, and have done for over 6 years- I didn't set out to become 'an entrepeneur' but had an idea, designed a product, secured a design patent and now it's sold in independent shops all around the UK, and online stores. I've since added a couple of similar products, and although running a business is hard work, I still get a thrill from seeing my idea on shop shelves :-)

LaVitaBellissima Wed 05-Sep-12 08:39:20

That's brilliant betty what's your product <nosy>

Xenia Wed 05-Sep-12 09:34:29

We are trying on the thread to ensure women earn at least £1000 a day 365 days a year if we can so no problems with thinking big.

np, I don't think being outside PAYE is as complicated as it at first seems to people and on the whole you tend to pay less tax (lawfully) so actually it's pretty good and national insurance contributions are lower too.

I agree with MrA that at lower income levels you can pay less tax through a company (and often above that too) even once you have included the cost of an accountant. I suppose my general poitn was that is is not always a huge advantage and particularly if you take every penny you earn out of the company and are then taxed on it yourself it is not a huge difference. The biggest issue is that if what you supply is rubbish and you get sued you are protected if you have a company as only the company is at risk mostly and that is a huge advantage for many people.

I think it depends what you plan to do. If you are pretty sure your turnover may be quite low to start with it is probably not worth the hassle of registering for VAT or forming a company to start with. Then once you know if something is going to go well or not and decide later if you want to change to incorporate a company and/or register for VAT.

nickelcognito Wed 05-Sep-12 12:47:01

I wouldn't start a company to start with.

especially if you don't have any staff or liabilities outside of the normal insurable ones.

It means you're personally liable for any debt, but that's not a problem if you're not making thousands of items in order to hold a huge warehouse of stock.

I am a sole trader and it works perfectly for me.

LaVitaBellissima the first product was the Baby feed Wheel - (a 'new baby' card that has a dial so parents can also use it to keep a note of baby feed times) and I've also added cards to note medicine dose times to the (v small!) range.

Incidently, I started off as a sole trader- as I was bringing something new to market I couldn't really estimate what demand would be and how fast the business would grow. I formed the limited company a year or so later- mainly because I was then producing products in larger quantities, and they were being resold by shops, websites etc so as Xenia mentions above I wanted the protection of a Ltd company (not that my product is in any way rubbish grin)

DolomitesDonkey Wed 05-Sep-12 15:31:50

nickel I'm not sure "debt" covers "physical items in a warehouse" - I thought it also included if you, the sole trader, are sued! At which point you would be liable for any insane amount a judge awarded!

DolomitesDonkey Wed 05-Sep-12 15:32:08

covers just items in a warehouse

nickelcognito Wed 05-Sep-12 15:52:18

no no, i know, i just couldn't think how to word what i meant.

nickelcognito Wed 05-Sep-12 15:53:03

i have public liability insurance for all sorts of things - personal injury covers a million pounds, i think.

nickelcognito Wed 05-Sep-12 15:53:48

betty - that's a great idea!
does it also do a "left/right boob" ?

MrAnchovy Wed 05-Sep-12 16:58:19

Bear in mind that you face potential claims for seven years or even more after selling something, so if you are a sole trader and you decide to stop trading or move into another line of business you need to make sure that you keep insurance cover in place. A limited company can be wound up or left dormant with no assets so you are not at risk from claims. If you are uninsured a claim against you personally does not have to have any real chance of success to cost you time and money defending it - your family's home is on the line.

nickelcognito no, it sadly it doesn't have a left/right indicator (yet?!).
I've really struggled to find something to note left right that looks good and is small enough to fit in the envelope with the card so that it's less than 5mm thick (and so doesn't need a 'large letter' stamp to be posted).
I'm experimenting with mini luggage labels to hook on the pram or dial at the moment, but they are a bit flimsy!

WilfSell Wed 05-Sep-12 22:16:58

Hi all, been catching up with RL job so missed much of this, but brilliant so many people are delurking.

And perhaps slight apologies for my PMT narky post about ads. I think everyone here should promote themselves a bit, but that post just looked a bit parachuted in opportunistically rather than a regular or would-be regular contributor to the discussion...

...But I'm not the Start-Up police, so I think new businesses should network here, so long as they offer summat and MNHQ let them! Just don't want endless outside advertisers googling the thread and posting at will, do you think that is fair?

WilfSell Wed 05-Sep-12 22:23:36

TerraNotSoFirma, great idea. I think you could definitely do it. You will need an enhanced CRB check and perhaps some formal accreditation... I would have someone visit my house for sure, but have you also thought about offering your services to working women, in their office lunchhour (assuming they have one!). Working women are the ones with money to burn!

I would TOTALLY be up for someone doing my eyebrows and nails at my desk, along with a little neck and shoulders massage while I eat my sandwiches...

Lots of big companies have 'wellbeing' services for staff so you might be able to negotiate bigger contracts like this?

LaVitaBellissima Thu 06-Sep-12 00:05:59

Betty that is brilliant and grin at Nickel for left/right. I have twins so had copious pages of notes of left/right and also how many wee/poo's - maybe you can do a poop card next, you know how PFB most mums are!

ClaireDeTamble Thu 06-Sep-12 07:42:19

Just been catching up with this thread and the £1000 a day one.

I'm in a slightly different position in that it is my DH that is the self employed one, but I do most of his paper work, website (although it is very out of date) and social media stuff.

My full time job is in the Public Service, and while I kind of 'fell into it' it has become somewhat of a vocation - although I dream of the day I can build my own business, the reality at the moment is that I am the main breadwinner.

So the current plan is to get 'the business' we have got earning enough so that I can then consider starting something myself (although as yet, I have no idea what that would be - something related to my current job, decluttering, promoting crafters work, property development - all possibilities).

I understand that primarily this thread is about women starting up on their own, but I am pretty invested in DH's business - in fact, we view it very much as a family business, and all the issues seem to be largely relevant to what we need to do to get sorted after years of trying to sort out the mess from a couple of stupid mistakes. I also have a vested interest in getting it to be successful enough to keep the family if I ever want to do anything myself.

Both mine and DH's biggest problem is procrastination and wanting everything to be perfect (I totally understand what everyone says about not waiting for things to be perfect - just need to get my arse into gear to follow the advice!)

So I will be joining in with this thread and reading with interest.

fluffygal Thu 06-Sep-12 11:18:38

I don't know if this has been posted, but I saw an advert for a programme on tonight about getting more women into business, thought it might be of interest to some of you. Its a documentary by Hilary (think that's her name?) From Dragons Den. Its on BBC2 at 9pm I think. I have always had hazy ideas of setting up business but always felt that everyone thinks I couldn't do it, so have never really pushed it. Really taking aspiration from you all, thanks for getting me out of my rut.

nankypeevy Thu 06-Sep-12 11:24:40

Oooh, thanks, fluffy I love Hilary - I think she's a really interesting woman, with an unusual ability to rock the shoulder pad look!

DolomitesDonkey Thu 06-Sep-12 13:08:35

Oooh excellent flufflygal - I'll definitely tune in for that! If you want to join us, please PM me and I'll put you through to our group. smile

Xenia Thu 06-Sep-12 15:20:11

Thanks fg.

For CdT if the husband trades as a limited company and you do qute a lot of the work it can be a good idea to ensure you are both directors and both have 50% of the shares. It protects you too.

GW297 Thu 06-Sep-12 22:45:24

BettytheBuilder - your website and products are amazing!

DolomitesDonkey Fri 07-Sep-12 06:58:45

What did you all think of the Hilary show last night? I was torn I think, between "yes, we can do more for women in senior positions" and thinking "oh fgs if you want to play dollies at home for 5 years don't come crying when you're not on the board". I think we can create more flexible working environments - but I'm loathe to dish out 50/50 splits when one of this splits doesn't have the experience or interest quite frankly.

<dons flame-retardant power-suit>

DolomitesDonkey Fri 07-Sep-12 06:59:43

(and I was Sooo envious of Hilary's clothes - you could see the quality of the fabrics on the tv screen!)

Xenia Fri 07-Sep-12 17:15:20

I haven 't watched it yet but I've always been a believer in employers should treat people the same. If I take 2 weeks holiday to have my babies in and go back to work full time as I did then I am no different than a man in work terms and not surprisingly I earn quite a lot. If I wanted to work 3 days a week and not really be very committed it would not take a brain surgeon to think that would be due to that.

There was a lovely quote in today's paper by a woman saying she felt women were most held back because at home they did not hav partner doing 50/50 but instead there was sexist assumption as women were female they had to do everything at home amd work.

FiftyFootQueenie Mon 10-Sep-12 18:40:20

What a great thread!

It's just what I need at the moment to give me a kick up the bum and get working on my business.

Tee and any of the other graphic designers here, I need two logos designed, feel free to PM me.

Could I have an invite to the Facebook group please smile

greatwork Tue 11-Sep-12 10:02:12

Ive not posted here for a while - actually getting on with real work grin but have read back and wanted to add my thoughts on a couple of issues:

portfolio working I have a portfolio of things that I do - some higher paid work for business clients, lots of medium paid work for individuals, and some free work (volunteering) just because I love it and also because it gives me some added 'expertise'. The variety is what keeps me going and motivated - I find that even in a job I completely love, too much of the same type of work day after day makes me a bit more lethargic and a bit less keen. Over the years I have also found that different elements of my portfolio have changed at different times. The work I currently do for individuals is an entirely new strand started about 18months ago, but I could manage the risk associated with that because other parts of my portfolio remained stable.

I also had a new corner to my portfolio, set up with a business friend about 5 years ago. It felt like it was an idea that was either too early or too late for its time but because we were both doing other things we just kept it ticking over quietly, bringing in very little money but just enough to pay for the occasional boozy lunch business meeting. Now it seems to have picked up and is something that we will both put more effort into over the next months.

website my personal approach is to have one website for each product type that I offer. Even in the same arena (e.g. the work I do for individuals) there are 3 distinct markets and I think that my clients choose me because they perceive me to be an expert hmm in one area, rather than having the generic skills to cover several areas. That means I can target google ads and other marketing to the specific market. For example when I go to big exhibitions / shows my brochures, website etc all clearly target the specific interest of those people.

business structure VAT etc: When I started up the majority of my income was from business clients / large charities. I set up as a ltd co (which does save me money) and also registered for VAT. Now that most of my clients are individuals I have de-registered for VAT (and I choose to operate at just below the VAT threshold) otherwise I would cost 20% more than my other competitors or would reduce my profits. The charities I work for have been leased because I have been able to increase the day-rate that I charge them yet still offer them a reduced price. Win-win grin

DolomitesDonkey Wed 12-Sep-12 05:14:03

fiftyfoot If you PM me I can put you through, although it might be quicker to PM tee as I'm busy all day.

greatwork I've heard that before, i.e., don't do one website saying that you can do 6 things (even if you're perfectly able) - people may assume that you are just desperate for work (even if you are! wink). In fact isn't there a proverb or something? "Man who chases two chickens catches none".

ethelb Thu 13-Sep-12 11:19:30

I am starting up a product I hope to set up through notonthehighstreet and have a few qs about VAT.

I have read loads on this and decided that for now I want to be a self-employed. Is it possibel to be self-employed and sell your own product?

If I am planning on making only a few £k profit in the first year do I need to be VAT registered? Can I be VAT registered if I am self-employed? If I am not VAT registered do I have to charge VAT? Am I correct in my understandign that as long as you are below £36k in profit each year you don't have to be VAT registered?

@greatwork at which stage did you set up your ltd co? and why does it save you money? I can see the benfits of owning the co name, but if you were self-employed before, why did you decide to change?

greatwork Thu 13-Sep-12 14:06:40

Hi ethelb the VAT threshold is currently £77K so as long as you don't expect your income to be close to that level there is no need to register for VAT (or to charge VAT on your products). If you are below the threshold there is only an advantage if you have lots of major capital expenditure on which you could reclaim VAT.

I set up as a ltd co as soon as I started. I did it for several reasons: professional image (important in the field I was setting up in), limited personal liability, possibilities for expansion / taking on employees at a later date. For me (with my income / expenditure / profits) it is financially beneficial because I take money out as a combination of a small salary, and dividends as a shareholder, and for me a ltd co is the most tax efficient structure. But it depends on your own figures - mranchovy and talkinpeace who post on here may be able to give you their professional opinion.

Good luck with your venture - it's an exciting business being self employed.

JoniF Sat 15-Sep-12 11:19:45

Any women interested in self-employment, freelancing or entrepreneurship can register at www.womenoutsidethebox.co.uk for our free event in Bristol 8 Oct. Join 1000 women, 100+ businesses, 30 speakers for networking, workshops, funding and mentoring sessions and coffee and cake. Inspiring entrepreneurs tell their story and independent producers of cupcakes to corsets sell their wares. What's not to like, ladies?

porridgelover Mon 17-Sep-12 19:47:21

bumping for myself to maintain momentum.
As I am in the ''starting out and faking confidence'' stage, thats where I have been focussing my efforts rather than the more lofty air of VAT/ Ltd Co status.
In time, those will become my concerns but babysteps.....

MrAnchovy Mon 17-Sep-12 20:48:32

Compulsory VAT registration is based on Turnover (i.e. the amount people pay for what you sell), not profit. You have to register if your Turnover in the previous 12 months exceeds the threshold.

If you don't have to register, the decision as to whether it is worthwhile or not is usually simple (with one exception*) has nothing to do with capital expenditure. If your customers are businesses that are themselves VAT registered so they can reclaim the VAT you charge, you will be better off if you register. If they are private individuals (or charities, schools, banks etc that cannot reclaim VAT), you will be better off if you don't register.

I have just posted on another thread about the financial benefits of incorporation. However if I was manufacturing a product there is no way I would do this as self employed in any case. This is because of the potential product liability - yes you can get product liability insurance, but what happens in ten years time when you have sold it all for £5m and retired to a mansion in the Cotswolds so you no longer have insurance? There is the potential for claims for injury or loss due to a faulty product up to seven years after purchase, and if they bought it from you as a sole trader it is you they will sue.

* the exception is if you have a significant item of capital expenditure on which VAT will be paid and you are likely to exceed the threshold and so be charging VAT in the near future. If this is the case you should take specific advice.

LaVitaBellissima Mon 17-Sep-12 21:28:05

I have recently become self employed, I am only just getting started and have invested some money into the business. Should I register for NI and Tax or do I wait until I am in profit <clueless> can I do this myself or will I need an accountant?

Can anyone point me in the right direction, I skimmed the directgov website but it didn't clarify my questions.

MrAnchovy Mon 17-Sep-12 23:20:52

You'll find Business Link more helpful than Direct.Gov.

You should register as soon as you start trading which in practice means when you have your first order or sale, although as it only costs you £2.65 a week in National Insurance there is little reason not to do it before that unless income is going to be very low.

If anybody says three months I will cry.

k2togm1 Tue 18-Sep-12 10:44:59

Knock knock, can I join you?

I've yet to read the whole thread, it's in my 'to do' list, but could I start with a question? Can somebody advice re business insurance? I am planning a baked goods supply to cafes kind of thing, what kind of insurace do I need? i just completed the 'comparethemarket' thing online and it says that based on my details they cannot provide insurance but that an agent will call me to discuss (!!).
Does anybody know how to go about choosing, kind, etc?

nickelcognito Tue 18-Sep-12 12:29:57

ouch!

i just received the most beautiful, well thought-out, well presented and full of good information CV and covering letter.
I was very impressed. She even addressed it to my name instead of sir/madam.
It was obviously a mail-merge (good on her, saves time), because she'd named my shop as another indie bookshop in the area. sad
[doh]

such a shame, poor thing!
grin

I haven't got any jobs though, anyway.

nickeldaisical Tue 18-Sep-12 16:54:20

on the other hand - me trying to decide how useful/important a smart phone is in this day and age.
every now and then, I go out of the shop to sell stuff.
DH has just suggested that I use my smartphone to check supplier's website while i'm at outside venues to see if i can order books for people even if i haven't got a catalogue.

how genius an idea is that! grin

Frakiosaurus Tue 18-Sep-12 19:56:51

I have just read the whole thread and realised I am clearly not marketing what I do freelance well enough! Which is ironic...

I make people sound good, and teach them how to make themselves sound good.

Essentially that means looking at their CV and covering letter, web presence like linked in if they want me to etc and telling them what I think, seeing whether that matches what they want to be and if it doesn't, making it do that. Then I also do coaching for interviews - usually over the phone but I would live to have an office so I can work on the physical cues as well. The phone doesn't tell you if someone slouches halfway through an interview or fiddles with their rings. I do it for both employed and self-employed people.

Often people are great at what they do and know how to market it but aren't that 'personable'. Their 'about me' section on their website is a bit crap or they're not highlighting their key skills or best areas. I do trumpet blowing on paper and some interview coaching too.

I also have a TEFL business on the side which could franchise but I would need a big cash injection and (crucially) geographical stability to kickstart it.

greatwork Wed 19-Sep-12 12:34:40

So what are you going to do about it frakio? How do you imagine people will find you: word of mouth? advertising? specialist talks? Come and share your plans.

I work in a specialist area of the wedding industry, and I'm just back from exhibiting at a huge wedding fayre (horrible word!). If anyone had suggested several years ago that I'd be working in this industry, or that I'd be selling myself at a wedding show, I'd not have believed it. In many ways I am so, so far out of my comfort zone at a wedding fair, yet it's a fantastic opportunity to tell people about my services, and to explain to them what I do, and to respond to their questions and ideas. I've already got 4 firm bookings from the weekend, which covers my direct costs three-fold. People who have booked me since then have said "I thought you were really nice, and exactly what we are looking for" or "we really liked your enthusiasm for what you do". So why am I posting this here?

Not to boast (although it's lovely to share the little excitement of success) but rather to remind myself, and to show others that we have to, and we can, do things that are not what we would call our 'natural' style. If any one is hanging back, hiding their products or services under a bushel, in fear of somehow getting it wrong, I encourage you to get out there and market yourself.

porridgelover Wed 19-Sep-12 17:51:54

Thank you greatwork. Its a great reminder.
''If any one is hanging back, hiding their products or services under a bushel, in fear of somehow getting it wrong'' ....this is me.
I know my service is in demand. I know that I can talk about it endlessly. I know that I find it fascinating and would learn about it forever.
But I have a new client tomorrow and am terrified that i wont be 'good enough'. I foresee being up for many hours tonight ensuring that I am completely on top of it tomorrow.

DolomitesDonkey Thu 20-Sep-12 09:54:43

Write trade books (a la Xenia). I've just taken delivery of possibly the most boring book ever written (not its byline) - 56 euros, + VAT, + shipping 20+ (top rate was 54 euros, really? REALLY? gold-plated pigeons was it? hmm). Bizarrely they've given me a "free towel" with their logo on.

Because trade books and towels seem like such the obvious mix.

I am struggling right now with marketing via social media channels - I realised that whilst I am technically able to use the software, it doesn't mean I should - and I have been accidentally spamming like mad. So I've taken a step back or two to try and work out how I'm going to go about this and am doing an online seminar (free) with hubspot (someone recommended these guys!) tonight on the subject of Facebook marketing. I think QED right now is that "corporate branding" page on fb taking the piss out of big name companies - Boden is a prime example of this "ooh look at our cakes/lunch/puppy/paper hat" type bollocks and lots of "what are you doing this weekend?" without actually engaging. I want to try and get it right - yet at the same time I don't have time to spend hours and hours and hours every day "chatting" on twitter and the like.

nickeldaisical Thu 20-Sep-12 10:37:32

gratework fayre is a fabulous word if they use it correctly - i'm guessing as it won't be a hall full of lovely food, so in this case they're not, and i totally agree with you grin

Greatwork, what is it you do?
I'll be doing some wedding fayres next year too smile

Just advertised in the highland wedding directory which is given to all brides when they visit the registrars.

In the words of Nathan from queer as folk... I'm doing it, I'm really doing it smile

re business insurance k2togm1 you may need an insurance company/broker that has policies for small businesses including both personal and product liability (plus insurance for craft shows or fairs if you intend to attend any?) - Blackfriars Group act as a broker, their number is 0161 300 2930 they have trademan insurance packages, Stonebridge Insurance would also be worth contacting.

greatwork Fri 21-Sep-12 22:47:01

terranotsofirma I'm a celebrant, so I actually do the marrying of the people getting married. It's lovely, lovely work and it plays to all my skills and interests. I get to be nosy, bossy, creative and involved in some moving, touching and funny occasions.

At the wedding shows I really am selling 'myself' - no table loads of sparkly products to hide behind, and I am continually surprised by what I can do.

Happy to share my experiences of wedding shows if it would help you.

Yes please. You weren't at dream wedding show in Aberdeen were you? I spoke to a humanist celebrant there.
How do you become one/get into that field?

nickeldaisical Sat 22-Sep-12 10:46:03

hmm the one quarter i haven't got enough cash to pay the rent is the quarter that the buildings insurance is due (the LL pays it, they screw me for it).
the invoice normally arrives 2 weeks late, so i pay it 2 weeks late. this quarter, it arrives 4 days early because they want the insurance reimbursed. I haven't got the money to pay it yet.

PageFlavourLady Mon 24-Sep-12 14:31:11

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

DolomitesDonkey Mon 24-Sep-12 15:22:46

hmmmn advertising much? hmm

nickeldaisical Mon 24-Sep-12 15:43:49

that's what I thought!
I love the "honest i'm in a rush..." grin
hmm

porridgelover Mon 24-Sep-12 17:50:08

grin grin
That and the advanced search of 0 posts....

now why do I feel patronised....hmm

Aruamom Wed 26-Sep-12 12:16:00

I'm signing in too. Looking to develop an innovative product aimed at women and want to partner with a product developer. I've done the research and IP searches, have a detailed spec on hand and think I'm onto a ground breaking winner. Need another ambitious individual to join me in the journey...smile

lingle Sun 30-Sep-12 17:34:16

"most of us would be suggesting to our children that acting, drawing, music, modelling and writing however much fun they are might be a nice hobby to keep alongside your lucrative profession and once you have your Oxbridge degree and find you are making loads of money from those areas by all means then give up the day job but perhaps not before."

LOL that it exactly what I tell my 9-year-old Xenia. Although following "enterprise week" he has started busking, and is averaging £40 per hour (deduct price of my coffee as I sit nervously behind him).

Xenia Sun 30-Sep-12 17:58:14

I've just been sending out bills today although that is arguably one of the most important things I do and without it we have nothing.

(I busked with the violin once. It was quite well paid compared say to cleaning although you have to audition to do it on the Underground these days in London. The issue with chidlren is that they think someone who has a ncie car is "rich" even if it's just a company car and they are an estate agent on a pittance or they see that £40 an hour and think it's brilliant but you couldn ot do it for say 8 hours a day and probably not make a 40 year career of it. A few London professionals fund orchestras or opera groups - if you have the money from your career you can often spend a lot of time on and invest in your hobbies although I would never put off any of my children who wanted to seek a career in something they really wanted. I just want them to make informed choices).

chianti1967 Mon 08-Oct-12 11:50:58

Does anyone have any tips where I can find people who are interested in joining our new business. Its new and has no money to pay a salary but will profit share. I think its ideal for anyone wanting to start their own business and it has the advantage of not requiring a franchise fee. I have tried Gumtree and to be honest it does not attract the right level of intelligence and integrity.

EmNewMum Sat 10-Nov-12 07:33:49

Gita,

I've been working in my business idea for a year now..am due to launch in May but also due to give birth to my first in Feb. Sod's law that the two would be so close together!

I'm doing as much as possible in advance to get all the tricky time consuming systems sorted (bookkeeping,CRM, sales words etc), but quite concerned about how to manage a newborn baby and business!

However, I do think that in the long run ill have more flexibility as a mum if I own my own business and the effort - reward will feel fantastic.

It's really great to hear about others going down the same route smile.

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 10-Nov-12 13:42:46

Coming to this late. EmNewMum I always feel you have to treat your business as another child you have to lavish attention on it encourage and nurture it to help it to grow into a worthwhile entity.
I have to admit to being a lot further down the track my business is now a temperamental teenager. I have just sold a section of it that was less interested in and am now taking it forward in the direction that interests me.

Late to this too. Is the FB group still going? I'm pretty new to all this business malarkey, I'm a freelance storyteller.
I'm at the point where my name is out there, I've got people enthused about my product (personalised framed stories) but nobody has yet opened their wallets. It's all "I know someone who's thinking about having a party" and "I told my friends and they think it's great", but it's all mouth and no trousers thus far.
How do you move from promotional freebies and cheapies that are "free" advertising, to actual paid work? Seems a hard nut to crack!
I can ride a year's no profit, but ideally I'd like a bit of income before Christmas to reassure me it's financially viable.

EmNewMum Sun 11-Nov-12 17:13:55

Lonecatwithkitten,

Sounds like you biz is going great guns, congrats smile. Have you got any advice for me on how to manage a baby and a business?

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 11-Nov-12 22:56:14

You do have to accept that there will be times when you can't keep all the balls in the air at once. You have to accept that there will be times when you will compromise on the business side and other when it is the family side.
When you get to the point of having employees delegate what you can, but accept that when the excreta hits the air conditioning you will be the one with your back against the wall.
The bigger you get the bigger the problems.
I am now at turnover of three quarters of a million and 17 staff.

wizzchick Mon 12-Nov-12 19:26:00

Hello - I would definitely be interested in joining a dedicated Facebook group, especially as social media is where I mostly hang out smile.

Social media is integral to my marketing and research business; I offer social media training, activity management services and wider marketing support to business owners.

I've been going for two years, starting out as a freelancer and then creating a brand and online presence from there. I had never planned to set up on my own, it was just bourne out of necessity (financial and flexibility of hours).

If this is helpful to anyone starting out...

What has worked best:
- business networking...I didn't know anyone locally at the start, but tried out lots of networking groups at different times of day; now I know lots of local business people. I joined the committee of one group and I chair meetings for another group (can use my skills gained in 'corporate land' for both). Business networking is extremely important for my business, and it's not just about the people in the room, you need to build relationships over time.
- connecting and developing relationships with other business owners (think 'informal mentor') who are more established than me and better connected (this leads to good quality introductions)
- willingness to support and generosity of spirit from other small business owners 'we're all in the same boat' mentality (surprising after corporate life)
- volunteering a limited amount of guest speaking activity on marketing/social media at business networking groups (unpaid but it raises your profile...NB: don't give away too much of your time for free). Ditto making a skills contribution to voluntary groups (e.g. School PTA, local NCT etc)
- social media; I get referrals and make connections with businesses, esp. via Twitter and LinkedIn groups
- other targeted marketing activity (practice what I preach' grin) including writing blogs (my own and as a guest blogger for local community sites), distributing promotional postcards

What has been most challenging:
- getting set up: website, business card and networking (in that order, as you can't do the 2nd and 3rd without having the 1st and 2nd sorted)
- adapting to the peaks and troughs nature of being self-employed (and the financial aspect of this)
- keeping the enquiries and proposals pipeline going
- getting paid (on time/at all) - larger companies seem to be the worst at sitting on invoices and I am also pursuing one small business via the Small Claims Court for a stupidly minor sum

What I have learned:
- to focus on doing what I am best at, and to outsource that which I am not
- collaborate with other specialists where possible (there's no point being fabulous on your own all the time)
- to be stricter and perhaps a little less trusting when it comes to getting people to pay up
- that there are some brilliantly supportive business owners out there who can help you and provide advice and guidance if asked (don't be shy, people love to share their experiences)
- that, for the first time in my career, I am using all my skills and loving it wink. And I am much more motivated working for myself!

Happy to share with anyone who needs it.

ethelb Mon 12-Nov-12 20:03:49

I've just made my first sale! Woot! Three days after going live! Double woot!

maree1 Mon 12-Nov-12 23:37:28

Oodles of entrepreneurial business case studies like this one

www.shell-livewire.org/news/creative-writing-magic-money-cards/

on the ShellLiveWIRE site. Don’t be intimidated by the age group, there are plenty of pages of business help.

fargone Tue 13-Nov-12 06:59:10

@mmelindor I'd love to hear more about what you are doing in social media! I am also thinking about how to market to parents of older kids for a tech ed program - any good suggestions. Afraid to put anything more detailled here as I got spanked for self-promoting last time when that wasn't my intention.

AuntieVenom Tue 13-Nov-12 08:55:33

I'm further along the entrepreneur journey in that my current company has been going for 6.5 years.

The lessons I've learned have been varied and many but some of the things I've learned are:

Business to business selling has a much longer sales cycle than business to consumer and that needs to be factored into any plans you make - particularly cashflow.

Know your target market. Scatter gun approaches produce mediocre results at best.

If you think you're going to need angel or VC funding start the conversation at least 6 months before you need the money.

Early stage businesses are targets for a lot of scammers - before you buy anything research, research, research. Google has saved my neck on more than one occasion.

Opinions are like arseholes - everybody has one. It doesn't mean you need to listen to them.

Trust your judgement.

I'm also happy to share insights/answer questions etc if people would find it useful.

NikkiD13 Tue 13-Nov-12 10:17:35

Just wanted to jump in and say thanks everyone for all the ideas here. Really enjoying reading these posts. Some real food for thought for someone like me looking to start up a small business in the not to distant future. Seems to be quite a bit of sharing of expertise and sharing of skills going on as well which is fab! Came across a social networking website that might be of interest moving forward where you can pin your small business to a map and engage with other local small businesses sharing your skills and expertise and ask advice: www.ihubbub.com and help with all the networking side of things which seems to be a common theme of the advice given. Might be worth a visit?

Not sure if it counts as small business, but I'm a writer, and have a book out on Amazon, with another due in December. I know so many mums struggle to fit work around the kids, but writing can be a really viable option. The start up costs are minimal, and I also do a bit of freelance work for free papers. All in all it's a very young venture but growing nicely... A lot of work is done when my boys are in bed so my wrinkles are also coming on nicely!
www.amazon.co.uk/Roadkill-LiveWire-ebook/dp/B009I3XXNG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349291089&sr=1-1
Happy to give any advice to other aspiring writers; www.daisywhiteauthor.co.uk

Lillyaan Sat 17-Nov-12 00:03:49

Read all comments with interest and can associate with the 'Bleeding Heart' obsticle. Forgive the following ramblings but after years of chewing on ideas on rolling out my professional skills into private practice the dream is still dawdling. Suppose the budding entrepreneurs here are a younger generation than myself having retired 'Early' but returned to P/T = NHS so short of experienced staff.
Postgrad background - Paeds/Community MA Public & Environmental Health / Teaching, plus 6 years utilising skills within Youth Justice via secondment to independent project management role.
Lots of Paeds & Parenting (P&P) expertise but to embark on earning a bob or two from the latter requires IT/Website development and even then (even if I knew how) may not have the desired financial reward. In addition my experience of teaching Prenting Courses (within statutory role) dwindled with the stigma of Parenting Orders.
The cynical idea of utilising a less academic but highly effordless know-how emerged recently by chance when my niece wore a twinn-set & matching Beret I had knitted.
Beseiged by comments & wish lists I was all set to persue an efferdless money spinning task without even having to leave home. I progressed to the survey level which surpassed all expectations; designed the flyers with course details from basic to advanced @ a tenner a head; bicky and tea in my 22' conservatory twice weekly. 'Cool'.
Alas in one swoop all hopes were dashed. The 'Good Advice' from nearest and dearest, friend and foe was a Dicey IDEA. Risk ranged from insurance to a host of other obsticles too numerous to add to this lenghty tale of woe.

itsthesimplethings Tue 08-Jan-13 22:46:35

I posted on the other Earn 1k thread but think I should actually have posted here.

Sorry for the long post, especially if you read my post on the other thread.

I am self employed, working as an audiotypist from home. Unfortunately my hands and wrists have suffered and are now quite painful. Also I am only earning a few hundred a month but ideally need to earn more.

I have no start up money and a bad credit rating due to husband being made redundant (several times). He works in IT but what he specializes in is dying out and the contracts hard to come by, permanent jobs non existent. Plus he has no ambition.

I was not encouraged to take A levels and after leaving school I was sent to college to learn to type, my parents encouraging me to work in hotels. I didn't want to and worked as an aupair for a while, perfecting my German then worked over there as secretary for a while. I started my family young, never had any money to further my education. However, I'm intelligent and capable of working hard. I have a little IT knowledge (have a Microsoft qualification for Windows 95 support, I realise it's worth nothing now but I can find my way around a computer), I've set up a little website.

My spelling, punctuation and grammar are excellent. I'm fluent in German. I can knit, cook.

I've had a few ideas of what I'd like to do. A magazine for preteens, soap/products for sensitive skin, a book, a service for new mums helping with shopping, cooking, cleaning, babysitting so they can get some rest, a dog walking service...

I don't know where to start, I think all those things have been done, plus I live in a quiet village.

I do not want to accept that this is it, that I will be typing until I can't anymore (which will be sooner rather than later!

I can knit but the amount of effort is too much, given that people can buy knitwear for a couple of quid at Primark etc.

Following this thread with interest. Grateful for any tips/ideas/feedback.

Booyhoo Thu 10-Jan-13 02:36:28

Woah!

this thread is massive!

i'm about halfway through the other thread and saw the link for this so thought i'd join as the other thread inspired me to book myself onto a training course i've been uhmming and aahing about.

current situation is that i'm a LP who has been stagnant for 2.5 years since leaving work to have ds2. i'm registering as a CMer (which seems to be taking forever!) but i am also a qualified beauty therapist and have decided to set up at home and do evening work once the dcs are in bed.

i do have a question i would like to ask. would anyone be willing to be my kick-up-the-arse- person? i find i have great enthusiasm for things at the start but after a short while i lose momentum and fall back into old patterns of letting things slide and acheiving nothing. it will probably even happen with this thread. would anyone be willing to send me the odd PM if the notice i haven't been around/updating with progress? i really need to be working again. so badly. i just dont have faith in myself that i can be successful at it and i will talk myself into giving up. i would really appreciate a boot in the bum from a kind MNer to keep me on track.

WhatNow2013 Tue 15-Jan-13 01:31:50

I've just read all of this and the £1000 in a day thread. I am incredibly poor at the moment (aren't we all) and am self employed but thought of a 'niche' idea a while ago that I never followed up on; I'm going to try and see if it is a doable idea, going into consultancy on something that not an awful lot of people have experience in!

I think it would mostly be speaking as one-off sessions at training days or conferences, rather than doing a whole day or anything; or doing bespoke assessments for individuals etc. Not ENTIRELY sure how I start marketing myself to people, but it's early days I guess!

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