by JakeM1
5 replies
I've been working for just under 2 years now, offering a local artistic service. I'm sort of hired by someone else, but am technically self employed. The guy I work with advertises my services as part of the service he provides. The money I make from the work of solely this one guy advertising my services, pays my bills each month and that's it, there's no disposable income there whatsoever.

Some months I can end up flat out with work, whereas others I can end up with half a days work in a whole month.

I don't know where I really stand with this guy though. He's the type of person who really seems to go out of his way to help people. Although my work helps communicate his designs and present them to his clients in a way they love, I'm not sure how much of the work I get is to help him with his business, and how much is him just being kind and helping me out.

I'm currently looking to expand and start seeking clients of my own to top up my money and really make this a career, but I'm worried about losing the work I currently have, especially as I've just been covering my bills every month and so I haven't had to chance to build up any savings.

I know I can't carry on where I am forever, and I know that the work I'm doing now is only ever a transitional path before I really own the fact I'm self employed and make my job into a career, but it's got to the point now where I really need to take a leap.

To make things worse, although I've got pretty much everything I need to work for myself, I need to invest some money in the following:

Virtual Office - Where I get the use of a physical meeting room I can take clients to, use their postal address for invoices and have my own local landline phone number forwarded to my mobile, all for a monthly fee (albeit a lot cheaper than an actual office) - something I feel will be essential to build trust if I'm asking for some money upfront in what is a pretty niche market.

Website Hosting - Something powerful enough to cope with the fact that images sell my service and so I don't want to have customers leaving my website early due to high loading times from having an image intensive site.

DSLR Camera - This is something I'll need for the work I'm doing, but also I feel is a something I need to use to show professionalism (although i might be able to get away with using my iPhone camera to start with, I don't feel it sends the right image at all).

Business Cards - These I've been designing and have had priced up. To start with, I'm aiming to meet people in person and get them intrigued, before driving them to my website. The website will be optimised as best as I can for a good Google ranking, but I'm going to start with offline marketing together with social media, before learning and implementing other methods.

The issue is that all of these things cost money. I have just managed to get a 0% credit card for 18 months for which the credit limit just covers all of the above, but although I've spent months and months studying and studying to come up with my whole business plan including every specific investment (E.g. Exactly which camera to get after spending weeks reading every review, watching every Youtube video I could find), it seems scary and extravagant to be able to buy everything I need in an hour or so if I wanted to, when I know a lot of thought has gone into every decision and I shouldn't feel this way.

I know I've got to speculate to accumulate and the more professional my business when I launch it, the easier it will be to become established and the harder it will be to copy, but I'm feeling the pressure of spending money on this when I effectively haven't had a disposable income for 18 months.

I've also gone to silly levels of detail with my business and marketing plan as a result of having cold feet for months.

Any tips on making the jump?
#leap #taking
  • Profile picture of the author JessUBotNinja
    You seem like you have put a good amount of thought into this and that is it something that you really want... the hard part is asking yourself what is holding you back? Fear is mental... you have to think in exaggerated terms about the best and worst possibilities. If you take this jump what is the absolute worst thing that can happen...

    Also, keep in mind you can do some of these things in phases... for instance google voice is free and you can get a local phone number that forward directly to your cell. There are some free office spaces that you can utilize in Libraries or other community buildings if you look around for your meetings. Yes. eventually, you will want to get all of those things in order, but keep in mind people these days understand the entrepreneur way of doing things and are much more apt to working in "non-typical" manners.

    Best thing you can do is use what you have already as your wings and just jump!

    Best of luck!!
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    • Profile picture of the author crums1371
      The leap is a big fear of mine still- I just try to research more, learn more, and practice writing stuff every day. Just DON'T be afraid to fail! That's all part of it, just stay positive and keep on building up better and better ideas every day. You seem to already be on top of your stuff!

      I've made two unsuccessful launches in the last year, one of which I let bring me down a lot. I made back my investments into them, but I didn't make a big profit and was turned down for the next gig. Now, I've just taken those models and built on them. The only way I could go now is up!

      Just from looking over what you wrote, it seems like you definitely have a great idea on what you want to do. You already have a client and experience doing the work.

      Financially though, I would find as many free services as you can. Surf through the forums, reviews, google, etc. and start building a list of services you find. I've been building a list for about a week now of nothing but good, highly rated sites for the work I do and what I will need to launch my next business. You can find a lot of free stuff out there and a lot of 30 day trials with products. I've found this is a pretty good way to get a feel for what product you like best. Different services work better for different people.

      Business cards is something I've been looking into today actually and there's plenty of affordable options for a quality card.

      Save your credit line for the absolute, must have things. A website is pretty much the biggest thing you definitely will need to get, and they're not much. Personally, I try to set up most of my recurring type expenses on credit. Anything else that I get I use my checking account.

      There are plenty of ways to stay frugal on the web while starting up your business online. There's not really much else to do but put it out there! There definitely won't be any money or success come from it until you get it out there. Don't be nervous about it, stay positive about it and confident in what you're doing. Be persistent and keep traffic coming to you. The more you stay on it, the better it will get!

      I hope this helps in some way! Best wishes to you and your endeavors!
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  • Profile picture of the author Odahh
    what is the service you provide and do are you limited to delivering it locally ..

    what kind of art do you do ..

    if you are not limited to a local area to deliver .. just find a few more people like this guy who are not directly competing ..or ask him if there is anyone else he knows who is not a competitor who might need your skills .. the same way he does .
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    "I just wanted a good job ,but i could not find a good job, So i do it myself"-Jack Ma

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  • Profile picture of the author JakeM1
    Thanks for taking the time to read my post and reply, it's really appreciated

    After reassessing everything, I've realised the risk I have is probably on the low end of what people go through when launching a new business.

    The biggest risk I guess is losing the life I have at the moment, as I'm really enjoying the work I do, but then even then, this isn't currently a full time career and so was going to potentially change at some point anyway.

    I've been reassessing how much money I'll be investing too. Google Voice was a great idea and something I hadn't known about. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it's available in the UK, however your suggestion then led me onto looking at Skype as I have an unlimited data plan on my phone. I can also buy a local landline number which diverts to my Skype for only £3.35 a month (about $5) and don't pay a thing to receive calls. To the end user as well, they won't know it's a Skype line and will just be calling a standard number.

    The virtual office setups I was considering charged £25 a month ($40) plus 5p-10p a minute for every call I received!

    With Skype, I can now display my number on my website and not be worried about cold callers costing me money every time they ring up. Also if I buy Skype credit which is quite cheap, I can even ring people back from my Skype landline number - something that wasn't possible with the virtual office setup.

    The other reason for a virtual office was to have an address to put on invoices. I'm going to start by visiting people at their homes or workplaces, and then deliver my artwork electronically. I've setup a nice office at home, but didn't really want to use my home address as I currently live with my parents.

    Looking into this some more, I've come up with a range of options for mailboxes I can rent:

    Cheapest is using my home address

    2nd is a business about 1 hour away which charges £7 a month but is outside of the area I'm looking to visit.

    3rd is a PO BOX from the Post Office which is £20 a month but looks a bit flakey as an address.

    4th is the Virtual Office company I was looking at originally who wanted £80 a month for the whole virtual office setup, but can do £54 for just the mail service. This gives me an address at a local business complex which looks the best and I can also bring clients there for free if I want to. Bringing clients there is something which is a great addition, but not something I actually need though.

    5th is a physical office in the village next to mine. To access it, you go through a really old building with lovely oak beams and a ceiling height quite a bit less than 6'. In the garden though, they've bought loads of summer house sheds and rent them out for £150 a month. It's a great location and has a really cool atmosphere, with most of the shops running from these sheds specialising in arts and crafts. This option gives me somewhere to work outside the house, which should increase productivity, plus I really feel it'll help establish me within the community.

    Overall I keep going between either using my home address for a year or so - or at least until I've got enough work to justify one of the other options (ideally the summer house one!), and going with the flat rate of £54 a month.

    I don't want people turning up at the house unannounced, but I'll only be putting the address on invoices as it's my legal obligation. The other thing is that having the business address will hopefully mean possible clients have more confidence in using my services - it's just whether the extra work I could get from it would justify the cost.

    Thanks again for your suggestions. I'd gotten into a bit of a rut with everything I needed and this has given me a completely different view on what to search for. I'm really pleased with the new options I've found and am fired up to get this business going!
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  • Profile picture of the author hardraysnight
    just remember not all leaps are forward
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