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Seb Anthony

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Should I go it alone?

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I currently work 3 days a week as a Senior IT Trainer, in further education. I am thinking about setting up on my own, but I am not sure of the issues I should consider before taking the final decision. I am also concerned about being lonely; at the moment one thing I really enjoy about work is contact with my colleagues.
Beverley Kindred

6 Responses

  1. Go for it!
    I left the public sector at the end of this term. Will be picking up last months salary end of Aug and even though I’ve not picked up any fee for what I’ve done, I’ve not regretted it. Loads I could say and will get in touch further if you’d like. It’s scarey but I cant wait – especially when I find myself looking for cheap holidays at the end of Sep! Please email me and I’l tell you what I did.

  2. Issues
    Don’t take the plunge before you have got a solid business plan. If you don’t know how to prepare one, ask your local small business adviser or your bank for help.

    Also review your skill set. Do you have the necessary know-how and drive to be able to develop and grow an income-generating clientele within a realistic time frame? If so, you should be able to write down (as part of your business plan) how many clients/how much income/how you will acquire their custom/how you will market and sell your services.

  3. Do some groundwork
    Hi Beverley

    I started Vision Sales Services about a year ago and am beginning to get some success, new business, regular clients, requests for info, invitations to tender etc.

    The first thing I’d say is no matter how good your material/courses are generally clients will not suddenly start phoning you up for training – someone will have to get in touch with them ie telesales, emails, seminars, networking.

    One way you can inform customers about you is through your own website and by ensuring you are high on search engines results.

    The second thing I’d say is keep your costs down. It may be a bit risky taking out leases on business premises plus all the other expenses before you have any business.

    Third, I don’t know about other trainers who have set up on their own but I would say it took me at least 5 months before I generated any revenue so you should ensure you have enough savings to see you through.

    Now the good news. Because you work 3 days you could spend some time now (whilst you’re still earning) to do some of the groundwork. So get a website designed and hosted, get stationary designed, start collecting leads from local papers, yell.com, business directories etc of the type of businesses who would need your services. Get a second telephone line put into a spare room and a PO Box address. You could still work and reply to any email enquiries at night or on your days off, also calls can be diverted to a mobile or call handling company. I know this is not ideal but it will give you a feel for reponse/enquiry rates.

    Is there scope to work freelance for your current employer or go down to 2 days for the first few months?

    Good Luck

    Damian Burcher
    Vision Sales Services
    http://www.visionsales.co.uk

  4. Contact Business Link
    Your local Business Link will be able to support and assist you with deciding on whether or not to take the plunge. Funded by the DTI they will provide you with free advice and a start-up course, plus ongoing support as you develop. Find your local Business Link by looking at http://www.businesslink.gov.uk, where you can also download info on business plans etc. free. Or you could phone 0845 600 9 006

  5. A Common Wish
    Hi Beverley

    Many people want to do what you are proposing … work for themselves. Most don’t make the break from the regular salary (and all that entails), but those who do invariably say it was worthwhile.

    Generating an alternative income can be difficult until you become known and trusted. Why not establish your clientele before you finish your regular job and leave when you have some work lined up?

    Join some of the networks for home-based-businesses, fora etc and expand your network to avoid loneliness. Networking can also be an excellent way to increase business.

    Do your maths, write your plan and Just Do It!

    All success.

  6. 2 Bewares’ but otherwise do it.
    Beveley,

    Not wanting to put you off in anyway because since I left waged employment I’ve not looked back. However, you do need about 6 salary in the bank to help you get started and then try to build that back up once you do.

    Also watch you’re cash flow. When you do any work it may be as long as 45 days before you get paid. So turnaround on money can be longer than when you were on a salary.

    Otherwise best of luck.

    Regards,

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