Eight tips on how NOT to start up your work at home business

Helen Neale is owner of the Printable Reward Charts business, KiddyCharts. She is a former business analyst who gave up her role as an outsourcing expert, to focus on being a parent and a freelance writer. She is a Britmums editor and writes regularly on parenting, and small business issues. She can be found, perhaps too regularly, on Twitter and Facebook.

We all make mistakes – and I am pretty sure that many of you have made a few in setting up your businesses; from the smallest coaching company to the 100,000 consultancy business.

I know that I have made a few, and continue to do so. None of them *shesayscrossingfingers* have been catastrophic ones, but some have cost me money. Money I shall never get back, but has give me a valuable, if painful, lesson.

So, to those thinking of setting up their own business, here are some classic mistakes….so, let’s not start that new work at home business….

1. On the back of a serviette

You’ve got no plan, and don’t know what you’re doing or where you’re going, but it’ll be a lot of fun getting there won’t it? No it won’t – not with this as your business plan! Make sure you have a clear idea of what on earth you are trying to achieve, otherwise you will fall at the first hurdle. Or worse still, give up before you have really given it a proper go.

2. With out of date information

Well there was a need for this when I was a kid, so there must be now – right? Wrong. Research your current market. Is there really a market for what you are proposing? Is the market already too crowded? Make sure your data is up to date and accurate, otherwise you won’t know who your targets are, and what it is they are really after.

3. With the wrong people

Are you going alone? With a partner? If you are setting up business with someone else then make sure you both know what each other will be doing, how the profits are to be split and that you really will still like each other when the stress starts to get to you. Better still; draw up a partnership agreement as soon as you can so it’s all legal and above board.

4. Without network support

Even if you are going alone, don’t ACTUALLY go alone. You really don’t need too if this digitally connected age. Connect online, face to face, peer to peer with others in the same position as you. There are plenty of small business support organisations from mums in business to small business networking organisations. Even better, you can start a course around setting up your own business, and connect to people on that course. That way you are already chatting to people in the same boat.

5. Without home support

If you don’t have the support of your family; it’s gonna be stressful before you have even got going. Make sure you involve them with your decisions and the logic to why you want to start your own business. Most importantly, give them a realistic idea of earnings so that if you think it’ll take at two years to be profitable, explain it. There’s no tensions like money tensions at home….

6. Without a clear idea of what you see as success

Depending on your aims for your business, success for some could be added bonus income of £250 a month. For others, it might be quadruple that. As long as you and those around you are realistic during the lifecycke o our business, then your successes will come to you more easily. And importantly, a bit less stressfully!

7. On a wing and…

Someone you met once said it was a good idea so why not lets just go for it?

8.  ….a prayer

You’ve got no money, but it’ll all be alright won’t it? Make sure you budget properly, once, twice and again. And don’t forget to add in that all important contingency; there are bound to be unexpected events which mean you have to fork out more money. 10% contingency is usually a good bet. But you may want more to be on the safer side. Depends how much of a risk taker you really are!

So there, you have it; my top tips for making sure you don’t start off on the wrong footing in your new venture.

 How about everyone else – what have I missed out? Do tell me to make sure I don’t make it with KiddyCharts!

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2 Replies to “Eight tips on how NOT to start up your work at home business”

  1. All good pointers, thank you. Really agree with 1 and 6! Am just setting up second business and it’s strange to think back on what I’ve learnt about ‘ how NOT to do things’ but your thoughts echo much of my experience too. Balanced with agreeing with having a plan I would also say that it’s good not to get too fearful, over analytical or risk averse else you’ll never get going. Go in with your eyes wide open, understand the risks and ask yourself ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ If you can live with it then that’s fine!

    1. Thanks Julia, wise words as always! I’ve found that balancing the ‘having a plan’ bit with ‘trying new things and not getting over-analytical’ is a struggle at times because it’s easy to slide over to either of the extremes. If you’re too analytical you never get anything done, but if all you do is try new stuff with no plan then all your efforts are so scattered that your results are disappointing. With practice I think I’ve found the middle ground, though.

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