Making the choice to become an entrepreneur and start your own business can seem a bit daunting. Where do you start? Is it really for you?
We’ve invited ICE member and founder of Morgan Online Marketing, Steve, to talk
about his experience of starting a business and share some of the tips he’s learnt along the way.
I did what I do for a living (SEO) working at a couple of Cardiff-based agencies as well as in-house for Confused.com. I’d been doing SEO since 2009 – I actually wanted to get into events management when I left uni, but I struggled to get a job in it (what with the recession and all), but ended up in an SEO role instead and found my calling.
What made you decide to start your own business?
I’d wanted to go self-employed for a while, inspired by my parents (who run multiple businesses), but never felt quite ready or confident enough to go for it. However in mid-2013 (when I made the leap), I finally felt ready, especially given that a number of people said that they wanted to work with me and if I went freelance, so the motive was there – it felt like my ‘now or never’ moment.
What has been the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur?
Being able to do what you want in your own way and on your own terms. It’s both satisfying and terrifying in equal measures, but that’s what makes it exciting.
What has been the most challenging part of starting your own business?
It’s getting used to doing all the other stuff besides your actual job. I don’t just do SEO any more – I do sales, take care of the
finances, the day-to-day admin… It can take a while to get used to everything and to understand everything that you need to do, but you get there eventually.
What tip would you give someone thinking about starting up?
I have a few, based on my own experiences:
- Make sure that you have savings by before making the leap. I had 3-6 months’ worth, which was a good thing as it took a couple of months to get things off the ground and to get clients on-board, plus there were a few upfront expenses too (e.g. contracts, website, branding, etc.).
- Consume as many business and entrepreneurship books as you can. If you struggle to afford the time to sit down and read them, buy them as audiobooks and listen to them during your commute instead – it’s what I do, and I find it to be a good use of the 40-minute round-trip back and forth ICE each day. I recommend The Pumpkin Plan. I’m currently listening to The 4-Hour Work Week, which I’m finding really worthwhile so far.
- Set yourself up at a coworking space (hint hint)! There’s so many benefits: networking opportunities, collaboration opportunities, receiving business support, receiving mentoring, asking others for advice… There’s also the social side of things, which is important if you’re working on your own – yes, you can work from home, but you’ll go crazy from the loneliness eventually. I know I did.