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Are you self-employed? Sharing tips for getting started

(6 Posts)
Goostacean Fri 15-Nov-19 10:08:00

Hi, I’ve just started my second maternity leave from my normal role, and am about to start running a care provision (care only, not accommodation) for vulnerable adults as a secondary business.

Has anyone else started a company? What’re your top tips? What should I bear in mind going forward?

(Ideally this wouldn’t have coincided with my leave but here we are!)

OP’s posts: |
BillHadersNewWife Fri 15-Nov-19 10:50:40

I am self employed but I'm a one-woman band working from home. I have however assisted my friend over the past year as she opened a large co-working space which also contains a retail shop and a gallery.

She was surprised by the amount of admin. It really does take a LOT of her time.

She has done multiple courses to help with learning as many useful software programmes as possible as they save her a lot of time. Particularly when it comes to her social media.

Have you considered your marketing much?

Kazzyhoward Fri 15-Nov-19 11:31:50

I'd say get your admin/systems and formalities sorted first.

It's so easy to get up and running with your first customer etc., but without good admin/systems, you'll be forever chasing your tail, which makes you less efficient in the long run.

I know it's a completely different industry, but I started my accountancy practice "on a shoestring" with using various free softwares, an old computer, a cheap printer, etc. Non-productive admin and slow working practices blighted my first year or two. I finally "saw the light" and upgraded my computer, got a double sided laser printer, got a quality sheet feed scanner, and paid for some decent software - all that only cost a couple of thousand, but the improvement in efficiency was noticed immediately - jobs which used to take a morning would take an hour, and so on. Best investment ever!

I see inefficiencies with many of my clients. They aren't organised with their paperwork/admin, so end up spending a weekend sorting it all out, when it could just take 5/10 minutes per day if they had proper systems & routines in place. I've also seen it cost them in real money, like when they "forget" to invoice a customer or "forget" to chase unpaid invoices - people say it won't happen to them, but I'm living proof as I've seen it time and time again. The biggest "loser" was an IT contractor who invoiced his customer every 4 weeks - he lost track and missed an entire 4 week period - he looked at his "books" and saw an invoice every month and failed to realise that one month should have had 2 invoices! That was £7,000 or so that he lost as his client had gone out of business by the time I noticed it almost a year later when he brought his "books" to me for his tax return!

Goostacean Fri 15-Nov-19 11:33:33

Thanks for the reply. What do you do, if you don’t mind me asking? Wow, your friend’s place sounds amazing- I can imagine that was a LOT of work to set up! The tech is a good point, I’m about to start looking into suitable accounting/rota-sing etc software because you can’t do it manually these days. I’m also going to need HR support/advice.

Not thinking about marketing too much tbh because at this stage it’s going to be a small business catering for only 2 clients- one of which I already have confirmed- although will definitely be looking to expand if all goes well.

OP’s posts: |
Goostacean Fri 15-Nov-19 11:36:24

Cross-posted @Kazzyhoward, that’s really good advice! I’m woefully bad with my admin at home, although somewhat better at work, so need to get myself organised ASAP. I’ve already got a load of paperwork from Companies House which is not suitably filed away... Hoping this mat leave will finally give me the breathing space, esp before baby comes, to get on top of things. Hence posting really, looking for motivation and inspiration!

OP’s posts: |
BillHadersNewWife Fri 15-Nov-19 13:15:48

I'm a copywriter Goostacean I suppose a big point to consider is where you see your business going. Where would you like it to be in say...5 years? Would you like to be working from another premises? More clients? Staff?

Have you got a business plan?

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