Guest Post by Amy Collett
In today’s market, the driven solopreneur can be a surprisingly powerful force. Creating a home-based business empowers you to define your own success, work the hours that make sense for you, and take your career in the directions that inspire you. Establishing success is a challenge, however, especially early on. The first year of working for yourself can feel like an uphill battle.
Fortunately, with allies like April Neill Public Relations, you can make the most of the first year and set yourself up for long-term success. Here’s a look at some of the best techniques you can use to establish a strong foundation for your business in the long run:
Secure and Track Your Funding
If you’re starting a solo consultancy or freelance business, you might think you don’t really need funding. However, you might be surprised at how much you’ll spend getting started. For example, you’ll need a website – just keeping a site live can cost as much as $135 a year, depending on the details. That’s not even factoring in the cost of using a site builder or web designer to make sure your site is attractive and functional.
Other costs – cloud storage to keep your computer space open, productivity apps that sync between devices, tools you’ll need for work or technology upgrades – they’ll all add up. You can use small business funding to help mitigate these costs and keep things affordable. However, it’s extremely important to track all of your business spending closely. Not only will this help you stay on budget, but it will be extremely valuable during tax time. After all, you can claim business expenses on your taxes, lowering how much you have to pay (or even leading to a return!)
Invest In Yourself
Another good reason to get funding is that you deserve to give your business the best shot possible through a strong self-investment. For example, hiring a marketing team can lead to great things for your business. In the early days especially, good branding and marketing can make or break your chance at success. After all, you can’t succeed without clients and customers, and marketing is the way to get them.
Another great investment is some kind of productivity system. Take some time to explore the options and see what works best for you. Some people work well using apps, others can’t function without a physical planner or organizer. Still, other people’s best bet is to hire a virtual personal assistant to keep track of tasks and make sure everything’s going as it should. Think about your own workstyle and use that as a jumping off point for how to get organized.
On the topic of workstyle, however, you should also be prepared to see that change over the first year. After all, if you’ve never worked for yourself, you may not even know what your self- employed workflow looks like. Once you’re no longer constrained by outside schedules and demands, you have the freedom to find the flow that works best for you. Try to stay flexible, and allow yourself to figure out just what an ideal workday looks like for you.
You can use your employed workstyle to get a sense for what might work. For example, maybe you were always super productive in the mornings, but couldn’t seem to stay on track in the afternoon. When you work for yourself, maybe you dedicate afternoons to going on a walk, reading a book, or other forms of self-care and relaxation. Then get back to it in the evening, refreshed from your break. This is just one possibility: Explore your options. You might be surprised by how far your ideal schedule is from the traditional 9-5.
Our final piece of advice: expect a struggle. The first year is hard on businesses – in fact, most businesses don’t really turn a profit till year two or even three. This isn’t a reason to be pessimistic, and in fact we recommend you go in with an attitude of determined optimism. It’s going to be a challenge, but you’ve got the stuff to handle it. It’s time to fight for those dreams.
Turn to April Neill Public Relations for more tips like these and for professional expertise in meeting your outreach needs.
Amy Collett is a Personal Branding Strategist & Author of You, Exemplified: The Role of Personal Branding in Your Professional Life. Amy can be reached at BizWell.org
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