In some ways starting your own business is easier than you could imagine, in some ways it is much harder.
We have shared some great articles here such as:
Each offers insights into a variety of topics, based on our experience and solutions to various business factors.
We have always encouraged entrepreneurs or start-up business owners to follow their dreams and give it a go.
Today however I will suggest that it may be better for some to hang back a couple of years before taking the plunge and freelancing or forming a start-up business.
During my college course, I made several business contacts and even performed some commercial work alongside my coursework. I loved the feeling of providing a service and receiving what was for a student an amazing amount of money. It seemed natural to jump straight in and become a freelance contractor to continue this life-style.
At first, all was well – I was doing what I enjoyed, was being my own boss and I was receiving more money than my peers who had gone into full-time employment. However, after the first eight or nine months, the “golden period” started to slide.
I found I was concentrating on what I enjoyed the most – the solving of clients problems in the most sophisticated and efficient way. As a result, I let the more mundane aspects such as chasing my unpaid invoices and looking for contracts to ensure a continuity of work slide. There was always “I’ll do those tasks tomorrow” attitude. I then went back to my keyboard and redesigned the project I was currently working on.
This made me happy as I was finding increasing clever technical solutions to the problems, although in reality it was actually reducing the time I had available to spend on ensuring the work was continuing to flow in. Worse, the client was unaware of the extra work and effort I was performing as he was more interested in the final feel and result rather than if it utilised some obscure technology.
A couple of months later and I found I was even less interested in many key business areas such as the marketing, looking for new contracts and the administration of my business. I had convinced myself I was not any good at these aspects, that I did not enjoy them, and that I was a failure.
The inevitable happened, and I went full-time (or “permie” in the freelance slang). I found I was still enjoying what I was doing - in fact in some ways even more so as I had the “bench-marks” of my colleagues to see how I was performing. But in addition, I also started to learn about everything else that went with a business such as the administrative tasks, the importance of trying to achieve as close to 100% billable hours as possible, how to define and refine a marketing strategy... and all the while someone else was paying for this, my business education!
After a couple of years, and several promotions later, I started thinking about working for myself again. I eased myself into this by taking on contracts which I knew I could perform after-hours or over the weekend and gradually rediscovered the joy of being my own boss. To my surprise however, I also found myself enjoying performing the tasks which I had previously found to be mundane, and I have not looked back since.
I am now part of a web design company based in Nottingham, where I have a large say over the make-up of my working day. The majority of my time is still spent designing; however I now look forward to the other tasks associated with the running of any small business.
To conclude, I would encourage all those who are thinking of freelancing to go for it – the rewards are immense and I am convinced that if you continue to work at it, success is possible for almost everyone. However, I would temper this with recommending you get a good grounding in a business environment to ensure you have a varied skill set and the necessary exposure to all business processes – this can only help when you finally take the plunge and follow your dreams.