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Busting the myths of setting up a business

by Alison Bradford

Why did you set up your business?

I decided to set up my own business when I was pregnant with my 2nd child.

I was working in a high pressure role in project management with a 3 hour commute each day and was finding it tough with 1 child. I’d be trying to leave the office by 5.15 to make it home for bedtime but often something would crop up – either a meeting over running, an ’emergency’ in a project that had to be resolved there and then, or a delay on the motorway (very often on my route!).

Sometimes I’d end up in tears in the car as I rang my husband to let him know I’d be late.

Sometimes I knew I was driving too fast, and probably dangerously too, in my effort to get home quickly.

Then I’d get home to a stressed husband, an upset child, a ready meal for tea, and then up again at 5.45am to leave the house for 6.30am to start again.

I knew I couldn’t continue like this with a 2nd child on the way.

I needed to work to contribute to the family income and I also wanted to work as I enjoy the mental stimulation of doing something away from my kids.

So, I looked at my skills and what I enjoy doing, I worked with a coach, and I eventually figured out what I wanted to do – work with small business owners to help them get back in touch with why they started their business and get them to make it work in the way they want to.

I love doing what I do – it is the best thing I have ever done.

However I have to watch myself from becoming a bit evangelical about it as it’s not for everyone. I realise that as I talk to people there are some common myths about setting up a business and working from yourself so I want to put the record straight on some of them.

Myth 1. It’s easy to make money online. Some people believe you can just set up a website, put something on there to sell and people will flock to buy it. NOT TRUE. There is a huge amount of competition online so you need to do your research, identify a market for your product and then work really hard to get your great website up and running (which will involve a cost unless you are very technically minded), make sure people can find you online and market your business like crazy. Even then, people may still not buy and you may have to start again and learn your lessons.

Myth 2. You can work part-time hours to suit you – okay this can work for some businesses. Mostly though you’ll find yourself working at all times and at all hours because there is a lot of work to do. You can ease this by putting in processes and systems at the start, and allowing a budget to get help in where you need it.

Myth 3. No start up costs – there are always things you need when setting up a business. People often consider things like office equipment, training, website but neglect to think about additional support they need such as admin help or business coaching. It’s only when they’re further down the line and either running round in circles or not making enough sales that they realise they need some extra support. By this point they don’t want to invest any more in their business and they’re starting to doubt they can make it work.

A new business on average takes 18 months to start making money. You need to be prepared for this at the start and make sure you’ve got your finances lined up to support you during this time and invest in the business where it’s needed and where it will have the most impact.

There are lots of ‘gurus’ out there who perpetuate these myths (usually in an effort to get you to part with money while they show you the quick and easy way to make money).

There are short cuts, and there are learnings you can take from other people, and there are ways to fast track your progress – but these all take lots of work from you, commitment and the support of others who have been there and can help you.

My final word of warning – if you are going to invest money in something, make sure you are clear about the return you expect to get and how you are going to get this. Always check for testimonials and be wary of anyone who is trying to sell you the ‘secret’ to making it work, you know that thing you don’t know that everyone else does?

I always establish with my clients the gap from where they are to where they want to be and then we put together a plan of how to get them there in the way that works for them. I like my clients to have clear tangible results that they expect from working with me that I can then keep them on track with throughout our coaching.

If you are running a business and feel like you’re running round in circles, why not take me up on my offer of a free ‘find out more’ session and see how I can help you get to where you want to be. Just book 30 minutes in my online diary here: www.meetme.so/alisonbradford

 

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Alison Bradford

Alison Bradford is a business coach who works with smart, ambitious business owners to get clarity about how they can grow their business and increase profit. Sign up here to learn 6 easy ways you can boost profit in your business today.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

katy warren June 20, 2012 at 9:06 am

Thanks for this Alison. I especially relate to Myth 2. i find myself working every day and trying to cram in work around my children. I need to be strict about setting some time off.

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Alison Bradford June 20, 2012 at 6:12 pm

It gets especially hard I think with all the tech we have now – make sure taking time off means switching off from emails and social media too [I need to take my own advice here :-)]

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Catherine Morgan June 12, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Love this blog Alison. As a mum who’s 2 months into my own business I am in “myth 2”, I keep having to remind myself why I did this in the 1st place so I don’t slip back into my old corporate ways of working non stop.

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Alison Bradford June 12, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Thanks Catherine – It’s great to know this resonated with you

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Jenny June 12, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Some great tips Alison – very true that there are no real shortcuts.
Sounds like you made the best decision in setting up your own business, and I know you will make it a success!

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Alison Bradford June 12, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Thanks Jenny x

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