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MattR
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I have done it so I’ll give some feedback.

– Do you trade under your own name, or do you have a business name registered? I don’t want to give the impression of a large business behind my business name – I’m quite happy for my clients to know it’s just me – and furthermore that I work from home – if they’re not okay with this then we probably shouldn’t be in business together anyway

Yes…traded in Own Name, then changed as the business changed (grew).

– How do you deal with phone calls and enquiries if you work full time for somebody else? – I imagine this could be a pretty big problem, you want to give your clients the ability to contact you round the clock without getting in the way of your ft job

Its hard…I obviously used mobile phones for quick and direct contact. Generally that meant lunchtime was spent wolfing down food and then calling back clients who had queries. Or straight after work contacting clients along the same grounds. Most people I found were OK as long as you get back to them ASAP , preferrably the same day. Similalry access to your own emails is important for clients who contact you that way. My lunches were very busy!

– Sort of related to the above – how do you meet clients when you only have the weekend free? Simply meet on the weekend? I know that even some of the clients I have already would only want to meet during business

I worked four days, so I had some flexibility. Otherwise I’d arrange to meet in the early evenings. I found by offering to attend their home or office, negating their need to travel, stopped most resistance. It does mean sometimes you may not get a client, but that’s the way it goes.

– What do you tell your clients about your business? Do they know you also work full time?

Tell them the truth.

– What about your employer, do you disclose your side business? Is it likely your employer wouldn’t be happy about you “going it alone” and possibly going against them

Tell them the truth. Some can handle it some can’t. Those that can handle it benefit by getting a switched on employee who knows what they (the employer) is going through. If your employer can handle it, then you must display complete loyalty to them. Always advise them if something comes up that is putting you in a conflict of interest with them. Ultimately you want to go it alone, so its far better doing that with a good referee and potential ally behind you than an enemy who sees you as a dud employee or a sneak etc.

I actually do a little bit of contract work for one old employer when he gets too busy to handle something complex, and I often liase with another old employer to discuss complex issues and bounce ideas.

– Anything else I haven’t thought of?

Get organised, but don’t get analysis paralysis.