Student to Start-up Business Owner
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:
- starting a business in Nottingham
- staying motivated as small business owner
- do your worst tasks first.
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.
Web Design Freelance - the Golden Years
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.
Learning the Business Basics
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.
Business is Booming as a Web Designer
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.