It's crunch time, but I'm too scared.

(16 Posts)
AlwaysOneMissing Thu 20-Sep-12 09:19:19

I am employed part time in a career I am trained in and which I enjoy and want to continue with.

However, after a very traumatic close bereavement recently, I had a re-evaluation of my life and decided to persue another love of mine, and did a short course in another field, and set up as a sole trader to do some work in this new field. I did this when I was in the depths of awful grief, and used it as a welcome distraction.

I have recently started a new job in my employed area of work, and am loving that.

I still want to make a go of my new business (I think. I am scared!) but the time has come where if I am going to really go for it, I need to invest some personal money into having a website made, and trying to get myself out there. I already have a website, which I made myself using MrSite, but aside from no SEO so it is not ranking well on google, it looks very amateur. I have learnt that I am no good at all that side of things, and really need to get the professionals in if I am going to make a real go of it.

So I suppose this is a WWYD. should I just concentrate on my employed job, which I do enjoy, but is poorly paid. Or do I invest my (very modest) savings into launching this business (which if I did manage to get work, would be much much better paid than my employed work). I am scared!

I should add, that as a family, we don't need the extra income. It is more about my fulfillment, and of course the extra money would be nice.

AlwaysOneMissing Thu 20-Sep-12 09:21:37

Oh, and as it stands currently, we manage without paid childcare, but if I were to get work in this new field, we would have to find some ad hoc paid childcare, which would be a nightmare in itself!

DolomitesDonkey Thu 20-Sep-12 14:57:53

Right, you absolutely do not need to sink a lot of money in to a website designer.

I've spent about 45 pounds on an annual hosting package which includes my wordpress installation, a CRM database and "another of my choosing". I then paid $45 for an "idiots guide to wordpress" theme from themeforest and it's looking finer by the day - even if I do say so myself.

Now, what else do you want to waste your money on that I can talk you out of?

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Thu 20-Sep-12 15:43:14

Yes, what Dolomites said! You really don't need to spend much money on a website. Wordpress is pretty simple to use and there's plenty of advice around for when you get stuck. And there are hundreds and hundreds of great themes that will give you a really professional look.

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Thu 20-Sep-12 15:44:54

Also, WordPress makes seo quite easy, partly because of the way it is designed, and partly because there are quite a few nifty addons you can install that automate a lot of the process.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Thu 20-Sep-12 19:18:27

Firstly, sorry for your loss. Good though (if that is the right phrase) that you channelled the grief to something positive and for you etc.

There are lots of people on threads on here that do both a job and are starting/running businesses, so it can be done. One of them also has 4 kids, I am in awe when reading some of their stories!

I think if you are interested in your business then it is worth giving it ago. Would you look back and think "I wish I'd tried that?". I also think that there is something in going for it in the here and now, whilst you can as you never know what is around the corner. Also it sounds like your business ideas has the added bonus of being better paid than your job.

I'd agree with the general sentiment ^ that you don't have to pay for a website, you can do you own, I did mine in wordpress.

However, if you cannot contemplate doing your own, you could invest in a cheap site for now, with plans to upgrade at a later date. I am thinking a couple of hundred. There are people on here (who may or may not work for that sort of money!) or put a "job" on www.peopleperhour.com, it is free to advertise, you just pay the agreed price for the task to the freelancer.

What I would say is that what I thought my offer would be when I first started (marketing freelancer) to what it is now 1.5 years later is different. So whilst you want an ok looking site, some business cards and probably a flyer, I wouldn't focus on it too much...it could all change/develop as your business develops.

I guess it depends if your investment is more than "just" a website. If your business is about products or needs equipment your investment/risk could be more.

Not sure if that helps. Good luck with your decision.

AlwaysOneMissing Thu 20-Sep-12 20:22:03

Dolmites, Saskia, thank you for your posts. After shopping around, I had settled on a website that was going to cost me around £600, which seems like a lot for a new business that isn't currently making any money! But my thinking was that the bulk, if not all, of my work would come from there. I will be offering a service, so the website will be a brochure of what I do.
I am terrible at anything IT related so I have no confidence in my ability to make any decent looking site. However, I have not looked at Wordpress, so I will take a look there. Is it better than Mr Site?

MML thank you, it was an awful time for me, but as you say, at least it gave me the push to do something that I otherwise don't think I would have.
Brilliant idea to look on peopleperhour. I have never used it before, but I have heard about it about from lurking here.

However, saying all that, I have been thrown a bit of a curve ball now. I have the opportunity to train and work in a similar field to my employed work, something which I have been considering on and off for a few years now. But if I were to do that, it would be full time, so I wouldn't be able to persue this business idea! Arrrghh!

MrsMargoLeadbetter Thu 20-Sep-12 20:48:30

Things like that can focus the mind. MN is a constant reminder to me of being grateful of what I have, what some on here go through....

My non technical explanation - Wordpress is an open source CMS (content management system) platform. You then select a template which basically sets the look of the site. Mrsite is probably less daunting, as it will walk you through the steps, but Wordpress is great as it has so many plugins that can do things like add a Twitter feed to your site, or a newsletter sign up and as SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed said you can help your SEO with a plugin. A couple of hundred will get you a "brochureware" site.

Maybe the training opps is fate? What does your instinct say?

AlwaysOneMissing Thu 20-Sep-12 21:20:22

Thank you for that layman's explanation MML, I am not technical at all so I do need it simplified!

The main problem I had with Mr Site was that my site did not display on Apple products, which I was not happy with. I wonder if this is a problem with Wordpress too. Do you know if you can do a blog attached to your site through wordpress? ( Sorry for all the questions!)

I'm not sure about my gut feeling yet. I feel quite passionate about both fields of work, it just seems to all come to a head at the same time and I am worried of making a wrong decision that I may regret at a later date.

And I know what you mean about the things some people on here go through. I relied heavily on the bereavement threads during my worst weeks/months, and can honestly say that the brave ladies on there are an inspiration.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Thu 20-Sep-12 21:34:31

Wordpress sites will work on apple, but some templates will be better suited to ipad and/or mobiles. Somebody who works with wordpress a lot will know which ones work the best. And you could test the wordpress template before you upload or buy it if you go for a paid one.

A blog is generally "just" another page/pages on the site but will have functionality like a date list on the side and maybe the ability for people to subscribe to the blog. But yes, there is a blog funcationality in wordpress.

I think wordpress started out as a blogging platform and then people started using it for bigger websites.

MN is wonderful.

DolomitesDonkey Thu 20-Sep-12 21:47:56

The theme I bought was made to be x-platform and is what the hot, young, trendy things are calling "responsive" - this means it adapts to the shape and size of any device you're viewing on. So you don't end up with horrible scroll issues if you're on a smartphone for example.

I've pm'd you my site and the "source" site so you can see what I've been able to do with very little effort - and what it could look like.

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Fri 21-Sep-12 11:55:39

Wordpress started out as blogging software, so yes, you can easily have a blog as part of your site.

If you wanted to have a look at it and get an idea of what it can do, you could set up a blog on wordpress.com (it's free). This is the hosted version of WP, and doesn't have all the options you would get if it was installed on your own webspace, but it should give you some idea of the interface and what it's capable of.

AlwaysOneMissing Sun 23-Sep-12 14:40:24

DolmitesDonkey thank you so much for the links. Your website looks extremely professional, and seems to have all the features which the website design company were offering to me for a pretty high fee, so it's good to know what can be achieved.

I need to have a proper look at it and try to get my head round it all.

Saskia if you have a blog through wordpress, does the URL have to have .wordpress in it?

Thanks for all the responses.

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Sun 23-Sep-12 21:03:00

Yes, you do have to have the .wordpress bit, so it's not really suitable for a business blog. But, it's a good way to tinker with all the options and get a feel for how it works.

MrAnchovy Sun 23-Sep-12 21:23:24

"Yes, you do have to have the .wordpress bit"

... unless you pay the princely sum of USD13 a year to use your own domain! You will probably want to go ad-free too (USD30 a year) and may want other paid-for options.

AlwaysOneMissing Sun 23-Sep-12 22:46:42

Thanks for the info Saskia, I'm glad I started this thread, it has really made me rethink the direction I was going in.

Hmm, interesting MrAnchovy, I will look more into that, and hopefully can do everything I need through wordpress.

Thanks so much for the help!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now