Home – New Forums Starting your journey So what would you say to a potential newbie?

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  • #1000647
    Emma
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    As a relative newbie to flying solo my biggest lessons have been:

    *Network — old employers and colleagues, friends, and family — you never know who needs your products and services.

    *Promote your business at every opportunity/perfect your elevator pitch — you are your biggest sales tool (no pun intended). A simple conversation about you and your business with the owner of your local cafe, an acquaintance at a party, or a mother at school can result in some incredibly valuable leads.

    *Be confident — it’s only natural to have an element of self-doubt when starting a business. However, it’s incredibly important to the success of your business that you are confident in your abilities.

    *Develop a portfolio for free — if you are a newbie and you don’t have a huge portfolio of work to show potential clients then a great way of developing one is to offer your services to handpicked companies or high-profile charities for free (or for a significantly reduced price). The more well-known the company/charity is the better it will look in your portfolio.

    *Don’t undercharge — this is one of the toughest things to do (I’m still struggling with it)! In the beginning it’s tempting to undercharge in the hope of getting more business. While this can be useful in the very initial stages (see previous point) it can actually be hugely damaging in the long term. Setting your prices too low will undermine your credibility, and setting your prices too high can deter potential clients. To help you set your prices a) look at your overheads and work out how much profit you need to make on each job; b) do some market research to find out what your competitors are charging; c) aim to price yourself on, or just above the market average. Also, check out the Flying Solo article base for some great tips on how to do this.

    *Always remember why you chose to fly solo — down the track it’s easy to lose sight of why you started your business in the first place. Did you start to have better control of your time?Or spend more time with your family? Whatever the reason, always bring it back into focus to ensure that you are staying true to yourself.

    #1000648
    marnieb
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    I’d tell them to do what they really love, even if that is mowing other peoples’ lawns! Working through the tough times (and there usually are a few when you work for yourself) is made much easier when you know you’re doing something that’s close to your heart.

    #1000649
    KuuSh
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    Never ever ever lose focus! Never!

    #1000650
    Angela communic8 design
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    Find your special something – by that I mean, what is it that you do really well? Running a business requires passion, energy and commitment. Why go to all that effort unless you love, love, love what you do?

    Everything else can grow from that genesis, from defining your ideal clients to delivering your product or service – with your special something on top of course!

    For example you may be brilliant at connecting people, brainstorming on your theme will lead you to how do you create a business from that, who needs that business, what is it about your business that will appeal to them and so on…

    Oh, and as The Process Ninja said – get great help. One of the biggest traps I see new business owners falling into is the dreaded curse of DIY, or ‘I can’t afford to outsource XYZ’. Go and buy a copy of The Four Hour Work Week to discover why outsourcing will save you money and your sanity.

    And as Nike says – Just do it!

    #1000651
    Mascot
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    Whilst you need to do your research thoroughly, if you wait for the perfect time it will never happen. I don’t think anyone has mentioned this, but a substantial amount of money to tide you over until your business becomes profitable is a necessity.

    #1000652
    Renee Barber
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    The main piece of advice I’d give to anyone who wants to start a business is to base it on something you’re passionate about, not something that will just provide income. You can make money doing anything, but doing something that energises you and brings a smile to your face every day is a feeling that cannot be bought.

    Having said that, of course your passion needs to relate to something the market actually wants and/or can be *persuaded* it wants. Bear in mind that push and pull is hot and thirsty work when the product is new, but new products can also be a goldmine once you get your momentum going.

    The other advice I’d give is to concentrate on creatively building your brand. That doesn’t necessarily mean spending a gazillion dollars, but it does mean you’ll have to consider everything from your business name, colours, logo, web site copy, business stationery and, of course, the media you use to promote yourself. Besides, rushing the business development stage means you’ll probably be up for a rebrand down the track, which can be both costly and confusing to your target market/clients.

    The final piece of advice that at least one poster pointed out is (probably paraphrased), ‘Just get started!’ I’ve seen so many people who are so overwhelmed by what sort of web site they need, domains, web hosting, logos, etc. that they simply never go forward.

    Every business is different, but I’ve found that:

    passion + motivation + a great product/service = business success

    #1000653
    Creating Change
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    robert_gerrish, post: 70 wrote:
    At times like this, it’s not unusual for those people in the tall buildings to think about chucking in employment and doing their own thing. Indeed for many the decision may be made for them in the shape of retrenchment.

    Personally, I don’t think there’s a right and wrong time to start a business. I remember seeing John McGrath speak at an event a few years ago at a time when the market was depressed and he was loving it! He said something to the effect, When everyone else is quiet and miserable, it’s a wonderful time to stand out.

    What advice would you give someone about to set sail?

    Hi Robert & FSFM’s (Flying Solo Forum Members…)

    I don’t believe the market is the only consideration, and if your business fits it’s space, and you have had good time to think it through, the skills and stamina (lots of that) to push for at least two years to get it going, I think it should be considered. I wanted to work for myself for more than 15 years before I had a chance due to an unwell child a few other challenges. When I did get an opportunity to do “it”, well, I just, did it. (Badly many times, financially, but I survived…)

    I strongly believe in creating a Plan B and C however, so always have some part time work handy, to top up cash flow. Consider how you market- and even buy some advice, or a PR person (I would do that now if I had any brains). Hmmm. I wonder if you should listen to me… lol.

    I am unsure if one really learns how to do a proper start up, until one does it. The next few businesses are not only easier, but much more thorough. I actually ended up studying entrepreneurship also, and that has been a super bonus because of all the networks one encounters along with the rigour.
    cheers,

    #1000654
    Kiama
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    robert_gerrish, post: 70 wrote:
    At times like this, it’s not unusual for those people in the tall buildings to think about chucking in employment and doing their own thing. Indeed for many the decision may be made for them in the shape of retrenchment.

    Personally, I don’t think there’s a right and wrong time to start a business. I remember seeing John McGrath speak at an event a few years ago at a time when the market was depressed and he was loving it! He said something to the effect, When everyone else is quiet and miserable, it’s a wonderful time to stand out.

    What advice would you give someone about to set sail?

    I had the opportunity to hear a keynote speaker this morning talk to us about marketing.
    The two things that stood out for me were…do not be afraid of old information – old information looked at through a fresh set of eyes equals potential.
    And, it is better to be different than to be number 1. He was alluding to the fact that whilst IBM were number 1, others who enhanced what they started & did it better are the ones that stand out.

    Revelant to everyone, i do not know but most definately information to take on board & think about.

    #1000655
    johnawuw
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    Things to do :
    Talk it over with family and trusted friends going over the positives and negatives.
    Determine what you are good at and then look for network helpers for the other areas that you need (accounting,legal,advertising etc)
    Find a GOOD Tax Accountant to work with AND right from the start ask what Accounting software do you need(a lot of people buy it first,then go to the Accountant – WRONG WAY !!!
    Expect disappointments and problems – Look at ways you will deal with these when they arrive
    Look for and ask around for web sites(Flying Solo) and reference material (eg My Business) that you WILL need to guide you and help you remain focused.
    Aim for long term committment right from the start.
    There is a cost to look at – you will need to spend a bit on insurance – Public Liability, Income protection, vehicle, professional indemity etc
    For Christians out there – spend time praying( by yourself and with friends)

    Dont look at starting a business if :
    1. family are dead against it
    2. If you are someone who gets sick often – remember you dont get paid sickies
    3. You dont like working hard
    4. if you dont want to look at the protental for the business carefully – your hobby that you love doing may not make a viable business.

    #1000656
    joanw
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    Like many others, I’d recommend research and planning!
    But I believe being passionate goes a long way. I’ve noticed that the business owners I work with, the ones who are passionate, dedicated and committed to growing their business succeed. The others who just “play” at business tend to hit the proverbial brick wall.

    And of course, I’d recommend hiring a business coach!
    cheers, Joan

    #1000657
    ezylogo.com.au
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    Get great branding for your business

    Go For it, make the leap!

    and when you have taken the leap – take the time to set up great branding (Logo, Stationery, Business Cards, Website etc).

    Having a professional look will give your new potential customers confidence in your business -yes people will judge a book by its cover.

    Need help? – If you need free advice, we would love to share our knowledge. We love helping new businesses get off to a great start.

    Cheers, Steve
    http://www.ezylogo.com.au

    #1000658
    ic-uc
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    Hi all,

    I am one of those “newbies” that you are talking about. I have been thinking about my own business, but am a bit lost at where to start. I have started work on my business plan – so that is one good thing i presume!

    everyone says to get a good accountant and lawyer, but where would you find one, if you have not used on in a business capacity before?

    BTW – I am new to Australia (7.5 years ago), have no family (or friends) here, do not know any business owners and am only in the process of buying a house now. My savings will go on the deposit, so that will leave me bare. My business will require some investment <$50K, well depending on the lawyers cost!! I will also need to look at importing goods, so will need to consider this aspect. Gee I already sound like a defeatist!!!! Or is this the normal thinking pattern? I will keep an eye on this forum and see what great tips I can pick up going forward. Thanks

    #1000659
    kathiemt
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    Welcome ic-uc. And don’t worry, even though the odds seem to be against you, you can still achieve and win!

    I suggest you look for local business networking groups close to where you are. You might even come across a business mentoring group – or there are some online. A business coach could even help you and point you in the right direction – Robert would know about that here…

    Networking groups – check with your local council to see what there is or you can Google for local groups. Try http://www.bni.com.au for a starter or look for S.W.A.P or a Chamber of Commerce or even Rotary. You’ll meet business owners at all of these as well as potential accountants, solicitors and others to assist you.

    #1000660
    Steven Hudson
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    Missiek Said ‘Start Simple, Start Cheap, Start NOW! And never stop dreaming’

    “If you don’t have dreams they will never come true’ I think that come from the sound track of South Pacific, also I think 80’s UK band ABC covered it.

    Anyway nail the dream.

    Keep working on the plan, test it, play with it, and get someone with some knowledge in the industry you are planning to play in to take a look over the detail. As the old saying goes ‘if you don’t plan you plan to fail’. Close any gaps in the plan. And if you still feel confident, this is the time to spend some money with an accountant and solicitors etc.

    I think Kathiemt mentioned a business coach or maybe a mentor would be excellent.

    Once you have a plan “Stick to the plan”

    I can’t remember who wrote this, it could well have been on Flyingsolo? However it is written on my whiteboard at home, (a whiteboard from my mate) “The road to success is littered with places to park”

    #1000661
    Jo Hanlon
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    Make sure it’s aligned to your life’s purpose & passion, then you will not get discouraged when times are a challenge, but by believing in what you do and what you love, you will find another way to push though.

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