I know what you are thinking. Starting a business alongside a full time career is not for everyone. This, I will happily admit.
The idea of beginning a business whilst working in a full-time job is a horrifying and seemingly unattainable prospect for most. Stepping over the ledge into entrepreneurism is scary. But as the old proverb goes, ‘Luck comes to those who invest in their Virtual Assistant business’. Or at least that’s what the Post-it note on my office door says.
The whispers of concern normally go as follows…
‘What if I don’t manage to get any clients?’
‘How can I juggle my career, new business and my family life?’
‘What if I don’t make any money?’
‘It would be so embarrassing if it didn’t work out’
I can assure you I experienced them all before starting Momentum VA The #fearoffailure is real when starting a business and not unique to those who work in a full-time job. I was in the lucky position to not have to start the business alongside a full-time job, at least not a traditional one! At the time, my full-time job was raising a toddler and a baby; a situation that is not too dissimilar to those who work outside the home, leaving me with only a few hours each day to get on with work – tired or not. Therefore I am hoping that my advice may help you along the way.
Graft is required when starting a business.
Setting up your business will take time, but it is worth it. You will need to spend time building your website, investigating market research and writing a business plan, all things that can easily be done around your day job. The challenge here is time; ensuring a good balance between home and work is the key to self-care and motivation. I spent my evenings setting up the business, which didn’t interfere with family life at all.
Support from family and friends
Even though my family live in Germany (which is arguably too far to be an acceptable childcare solution) I am lucky to have my husband’s family nearby. I was able to rely on them for childcare when I finally started attending networking and client meetings, but equally tried to schedule meetings during evenings and weekends wherever possible. There were times when I thought I might have to throw my children in the air and hope someone responsible would catch them, but three years on thankfully the need has not arisen!
Depending on your industry, starting a business can be expensive. Business setup costs will come in long before your profit, which can be enough to have you running for the hills in the early months. I found it helpful to keep reminding myself of my goal and why I started this journey in the first place, but it was equally important to keep a tight rein on finances. Do you really need that personalised stationery? Most importantly, depending on where you live, there are networking events that are free of charge or cost a small token amount, so you don’t have to spend thousands of pounds to get your name out there.
Set achievable goals
It is easy to become overwhelmed by the bigger picture when you have very little time to work on starting a business, potentially causing a great deal of anxiety and procrastination. The key is to revel in the small stuff, as these are the vital footsteps you will need to take along your journey to success.
Completed your marketing strategy?
Finished the testimonial section on your website?
Until you can celebrate the small wins, you will unlikely find your way to the top. It took me three months to find my first client. They don’t often appear overnight but focusing on these smaller achievements will help you reach your goals in a manageable time frame!
Set up Systems
Make sure you utilise your time as efficiently as you can. It’s easy to spend a lot of time replicating work so wherever you can:
Create Templates: Set them up for emails that you send out frequently. Systems like Hubspot can be a useful tool, and one we use frequently.
Invest in accounting software: Since we offer bookkeeping services at Momentum VA we would always recommend outsourcing your bookkeeping and tax returns, but if you are so inclined then you can easily do it yourself. Especially when you invest in software such as QuickBooks, which offers a very affordable package for those who are self-employed and you will save a lot of time in the long run when it comes to recording expenses, creating invoices and reconciling bank statements.
Business Bank Account: Even if money is tight, invest in a separate business bank account from the start. It will make your life easier as you won’t have to spend a lot of time weeding out business transactions from your personal bank account and you will be sure not to miss an expense that you could have claimed back on your tax return.
Outsource. Outsource. Outsource.
I am (for obvious reasons) a big advocate of outsourcing work that is not covered by your expertise or that takes up too much of your valuable time – that notion is the basis of my business after all. At the beginning of your journey money might be tight and as suggested above, you should keep a short rein on your finances, but investing in professional help can be a no-brainer to ensure that you don’t get caught up in doing work that somebody else could have done in the blink of an eye.
Not keen on web design?
Get someone to do it for you.
Don’t know where to start when it comes to preparing a tax return?
Hire one of Momentum VA’s professional and trustworthy bookkeepers.
You get the idea.
I hope the above will be of use in your journey and for now all that is left to say for me is good luck! I am sure you will be glad you had the courage to jump over the business ledge!