Why we put off starting a business can be down to a number of factors. I have spent the last couple of years helping people to become self-employed or start their own business and these are some of the things they told me had put them off starting.
Fear of leaving their current “safe” employment.
The security that employment offers is a strong motivator to stay put. Knowing exactly how much we are going to pick up each month gives us a warm and safe feeling. We feel secure. Our families feel secure.
The reality is though, that today there is no longer such a thing as a job for life. People are being made redundant from all walks of life and those that are not made redundant then have to do the work that those who have been made redundant used to do. More staff are taking time off due to stress related issues now than at any other time.
The so called safe jobs such as teaching, prison guards, police and NHS jobs are no longer sought after positions. We have all heard of the problems within our prisons and the lack of guards to keep order. We have heard of teachers leaving the profession because of the amount of admin and lack of teaching that they now do. The NHS as we know is on its knees and making cuts every day. The police force, armed forces and fire service are also experiencing funding cuts and loss of jobs.
So how safe do you feel now? Do you really believe that your job will still be there in 10 years time, 5 years time or even 18 months time?
Fear of not being able to make enough money to live on.
This comes down to confidence and experience. Obviously when you start out in anything you are unsure of what to do and need support and someone to show you the ropes. Becoming self-employed or starting a business is no different.
The good news is that there is a whole raft of support out there for people who are interested in going it alone. Government agencies, independent agencies, charities and coaches are all there to help you achieve and succeed. There are also grants available for start-up businesses, you just need to know where to find them and one of the above can help you with that too.
They will get you to look at similar businesses and what they are charging and who they are serving and how you can compete with them. They will get you to look at what you offer and your unique selling point or the benefits that your product or service will bring to people.
They will also help you to advertise and promote your business and discuss with you the best way forward for your particular business and budget. With all that help and support why would you think you couldn’t make a living?
Not knowing how to register a business or what the legal processes are.
People have very complicated ideas about what self-employment is. They think they need separate bank accounts, they don’t know whether they need to register with Companies House or if they do how to go about it. They are not sure whether they are a sole trader, a partnership or whether they should be a limited company.
The reality is, it doesn’t matter about any of that at the early stage. You can always become a limited company after a year or so of trading once you know how much you are earning and whether it would be more tax efficient to do so. Your accountant would advise you on this. You don’t have to register your business immediately, and when you do one of the people I mentioned earlier can do it with you to make sure it is done properly. You don’t need a separate bank account if you don’t want one, unless you become a limited company straight away but even that is easily done online these days.
Sorting out your National Insurance or Public Liability or indemnity insurance is as easy as a couple of clicks and again one of the above will help you if you are not sure what you need or where to find it.
They don’t think they are “business” minded.
You don’t need to be, especially, although obviously if you can develop some business acumen it will help you to become more successful and profitable. One of the best lessons I try to teach my clients is to know what you are good at and concentrate on that. You can always find someone to do the other things for you.
You can someone to do just about anything for you these days simply by searching online. If you need a virtual assistant, an accountant, a business coach, someone to set up your spreadsheets, someone to build you a website or someone to manage your social media. The point is, you don’t have to know all this, you just need to know that you need it and that someone will be able to provide it for you.
Your accountant will make sure you work in a profitable way, your coach will make sure you are working towards your goals and helping you to achieve them and your search engine will help you with the rest. I find YouTube particularly helpful for most things I get stuck with.
They know they need a website but are technophobes and can’t afford to employ someone to build one for them.
It is a fallacy that websites have to be expensive. You can buy a domain name and get it hosted for a year for around £20 and there is a post on this website that shows you how. You then get to a workshop that is being run in your local area and they will teach you how to create it yourself. If you can use Microsoft Word then you can use WordPress to build your site. If you really don’t want to be bothered or would prefer someone to do it for you then shop around. You should not be paying more than £200 for a simple website that will suffice until you start making money and can then spend more on a better one.
They don’t know how to use Social Media and everyone tells them that is how they need to grow their business these days.
Social media is not that complicated. It just takes a little time and patience to learn the rules and play around with it. There are lots of workshops and courses around that will teach you how to use social media. Check with your local library for any that are being run in your local area, some of them are even free for those people who are just starting out in business.
Again, for those who would prefer to be doing anything except fiddling about on Facebook, there are plenty of people who love that sort of stuff and you could pay someone to do it for you. Lots of young people are interested in working in social media so you probably won’t find it too expensive.
So what’s stopping you now?
So your job is probably not as safe as you think it is. Your earnings are capped by someone else who has decided how much your time is worth. You are never fully appreciated or rewarded for what you do and know you could more.
What if you could earn double what you do now? What if you could be safe in the knowledge that your business will keep you and your family going for years to come? What if you were able to spend more time with the family and work the hours you want to work? Would you at least try?
The beauty of becoming self-employed is that you can start small. You can even work it around your current job if you are not able to quit right away. You can build it up slowly so that it naturally takes over from your current role.
Make a list of your outgoings – the necessary ones not the meals out twice a week. What could you actually live on? This will tell you how much your business needs to be making to replace your current income. It is probably not as much as you think.
I hope you have found this post interesting and that you are not alone in thinking the way you do. I was in your shoes too one day. And then I took the plunge and have never looked back. Yes it’s hard work and long hours and you have to be willing to learn new skills and develop your existing ones in ways you could never imagine. But it’s fun. It’s rewarding, and it’s what I love doing.
Business and Life Coach