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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?

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!

Booyhoo Thu 10-Jan-13 02:36:28


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.

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.

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.

DaisyWhiteauthor Tue 13-Nov-12 15:57:46

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!
Happy to give any advice to other aspiring writers;

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: 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?

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.

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.

maree1 Mon 12-Nov-12 23:37:28

Oodles of entrepreneurial business case studies like this one

on the ShellLiveWIRE site. Don’t be intimidated by the age group, there are plenty of pages of business help.

ethelb Mon 12-Nov-12 20:03:49

I've just made my first sale! Woot! Three days after going live! Double woot!

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.

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.

EmNewMum Sun 11-Nov-12 17:13:55


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?

InMySpareTime Sun 11-Nov-12 13:55:16

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.

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.

EmNewMum Sat 10-Nov-12 07:33:49


I've been working in my business idea for a year 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.

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.

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).

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).

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

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

nickeldaisical Mon 24-Sep-12 15:43:49

that's what I thought!
I love the "honest i'm in a rush..." grin

DolomitesDonkey Mon 24-Sep-12 15:22:46

hmmmn advertising much? hmm

PageFlavourLady Mon 24-Sep-12 14:31:11

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

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.

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