You have a business idea, one you love and believe in. Friends, family and loved ones believe in you and think your idea has potential. You’re an entrepreneur at heart but you have bills to pay and can’t afford to leave your job. While you’re not afraid of hard work, you need a plan you can execute while working, that is relatively risk-free, strategic in approach and practical to implement. Sounds like a dream? Well, dreams do come true! Here are some simple risk-free steps you can take to owning your own business.
Become a ‘Sidetrepreneur’.
As a ‘sidetrepreneur,’ you are a super hero in disguise, unable to leave your job for personal, financial or professional reasons you remain determined and unwilling to give up. You swap TV, social media and hazed evenings lounging on the couch for productive time working on your business idea. It might be Wednesday night, or early every Tuesday morning but during that precious time the sidetrepreneur works on her business to the point where it is ready to take over from your full-time job. Your express aim during this time is to build a winning exit strategy.
ICYMI: If you have a friend or colleague who excels in their professional field, nominate them for IMAGE BWOTY 2017 HERE!
Build a Business Plan
After becoming a committed ‘sidetrepreneur’ your next step is to write your business plan. Your strategy document, while hard to write, is important to get right. Your Local Enterprise Office’s (LEO) offers free 6-week courses designed to build it. Alternatively, you go to Futurelearn’s Starting Your Own Business online 6 part programme. At the end of either of these processes you have validated an idea, done market research, learned how to best set up your business, received some financial advice and know your next steps.
Name your Business
Choosing the right name for her business is surprisingly hard. Write down every name you can think of to see what work’s best for your side hustle. Googling each one to ensure nothing untoward pops up. You then check the availability of social media names across all platforms. If everything looks in order buy the domain name, from Irish owned Blacknight, and sign up to your social media account’s. No need to activate anything at this stage it is just a matter of having them in place. If your preferred business/domain name is gone go to Namemesh which generates alternative domain names, based on your preferred name. Keep going you start over until you arrive on ‘the name’.
Fill Skill’s Lacuna
As a ‘sidetrepreneur’ it’s likely there are areas of your business idea that you don’t feel confident in. This might include digital media, marketing, web design, coding, photography, or human resource management. But your LEO runs courses in most business related areas on a year round basis. If you want to upskill in an area, not on offer from your LEO, Futurelearn, Edx and Alison run free course in a host of amazing areas. You might consider Digital Branding and Engagement which is free to do or can be taken as part of a Micromasters in Marketing in a Digital World. If you want to earn 15 credits toward an MBA in the Digital Economy check out The Digital Economy on Futurelearn.
Get out there
While you have a wage coming in your ‘sidetrepreneur self’ gets out to meet people through professional bodies or Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Women in Business Network or Network Ireland. Alternatively, you go to events like the brilliant IMAGE Networking Breakfast’s, IMAGE Young Business Forums or IMAGE Mentoring Workshops. With the Autumn lineup just announced you have no excuse. And while I am biased as a speaker and contributor I can say with full integrity that these events are amazing. Not alone is Melanie Morris inspiring every single time, the guests are also amazing. In fact, it was by attending these events as a ‘sidetrepreneur’ that I learned from how to build A Career to Love to where it is today. I still go and each and every time I walk away more inspired, engaged and motivated.
Save, save, save, save
Before you run to the bosses’ office to ask for your P45 save some cash to cover your bills for 6 months. This allows you to focus on your business without having to worry about money.
Remember to design your own version of success or somebody else will and you may not like their version.
By Sinead Brady