Being your own boss may be everyone’s dream one day, and working from home certainly offers a freedom that no other job can provide. Since being self-employed I certainly have a much better work-life balance, as I work from home I can set my own hours and schedule. This means I can attend clubs with the children, watch sports days and do the school runs, I don’t have to worry about missing assemblies or parents evenings either, for me it is the perfect balance.
However, starting a business is not without its own challenges, and there is plenty of groundwork to put in before you can start to reap the rewards of being your own boss. Sadly it is not an over-night thing and there is not quick fix to starting out.
So, if you are looking to take the entrepreneurial route, getting your business off to a good start is crucial; with that in mind, here are three important steps you should follow to help ensure your chances of long-term success
- Finding a niche
Whether you’re starting a blog or opening an online store, establishing your niche is one of the most important first steps. Whilst it isn’t necessary to come up with something completely new and innovative, it is crucial to have a unique angle – this will help your company to stand out whilst making it easier to identify and narrow down your target audience.
You will want to consider what particular expertise you have to offer, as well as the kinds of people you want to engage with; businesses or consumers? Parents or teenagers? Having a clearly defined niche in mind will enable you to formulate a powerful marketing strategy and communicate your message across to your customers.
- Building your brand
Once you’ve identified a niche, you can start to build your brand – the face of which will be your company website. Before you get started on the visual aspects, however, it is absolutely crucial to find and reserve a domain name. In addition to making your site more professional, having a registered domain name means that no one else can use it, ensuring consistent and long-term branding.
In fact, your company name and domain name should be one and the same, so it’s essential to secure a domain before proceeding with things like logo design and marketing. Whilst this does come at a cost, sites like www.1and1.co.uk can be used to find and register cheap domain names.
I would also suggest securing ALL social media channels with the same name, this helps to keep your brand consistent across the board, do this even if you don’t intend to use these channels immediately as it will then stop others from using your brand name.
- Spreading the word
Much of your company’s initial success will depend on marketing, so focus on creating as much of a buzz around your business as possible. For this purpose, social media is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal, enabling you to reach a wide audience extremely quickly and at little to no financial cost.
Research which platforms are most relevant to your industry and create professional profiles across each of them; you can then spread the word by running promotional offers (sponsored tweets or sponsored Facebook posts), engaging in industry-relevant discussions and sharing company news. Tools such as Hootsuite can be used to schedule posts in advance and manage all social accounts from one central location, making it easy to stay on top of that all-important social media marketing.
By getting these three steps during your launch phase correct you will help to position your company for sustainable, long-term success, which will then enable you to enjoy more professional freedom further down the line.
“This is a collaborative post”