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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?

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

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

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.

Bossybritches22 Wed 22-Aug-12 16:51:40

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 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?

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