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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?

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

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.

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... )

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

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

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:

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.

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