Last week I handed in my notice to quit my full-time job as a Digital Marketing Consultant, so I can focus on running Alix Digital. It’s been the hardest decision I’ve had to make in my career and I don’t doubt for a second that it’s one of many difficult decisions I’ll have to face as I look to grow my business.
It may be a little early at this point, but I’ve already learnt 5 great things from this process:
1. Leave on good terms
Storming out, not working your notice, not completing your work to a satisfactory level. These are all in the no-no list.
I have been incredibly lucky to work for a fantastic company with amazing people and a brilliant boss, so it wasn’t hard to keep on good terms. But, I was still pleasantly surprised at how supportive my managers were. It’s certainly helped calm the inevitable nerves of going it alone.
Doing it the right way also maintains your reputation in the industry and you could be considered for referrals.
2. Make sure you’re leaving for the right reason
I hate to be negative, but starting business is not for the faint hearted. In Digital Marketing alone, there is mountains of competition and plenty of determination needed. Starting your own business is not a way out of your current stresses – it’s the opportunity to do it all for yourself.
Before handing in my notice, I read plenty of blogs about how quitting a job to start a business ruins lives or how freelancing is the worst thing ever. But, I felt that the author’s reasons for starting a business were different to mine and they seemed too focussed on the rewards to appreciate how much harder you now have to work. Reward isn’t cheap or easy.
3. You’ll know when it’s the right time
A couple of people told me, they saw my leaving coming. They may have even known I was going to do this before I did. I personally feel ready to jump into the world of freelance marketing; partly because I already do it and mainly because I know I have the knowledge, skills, experience and the tenacity.
Things you may want to ask yourself if you’re not sure if it’s the right time:
- Are you ready to deal with the paperwork, the organisation, the finances, the completion of work (where applicable) as well as being the receptionist, the sales executive and your own customer service department? Aside from facing a pretty quiet Christmas party, it’s also one heck of a commitment.
- Are you financially secure? Sure, you may be doing this for the money (it’s one of the top reasons people get into starting a business) but you must bear in mind how long it’ll take to get enough work to pay yourself. This may not happen right away, and money will run out fast. Can you secure funding? Do you have savings? Do you already have clients? All these things will help.
- Do you know enough about your product/service? Having the essential skills required is paramount. If you’re not 100% confident in your field, get some training or hands-on experience before you make the leap.
4. Research and plan
I would start by writing up your business plan. Get together your mission statement, proposed forecasts then set some realistic goals and KPIs. You’ll also need to think about your marketing plan and scope out the competition. Then, ask yourself, what sets your business apart from all the others.
For Alix Digital, my main mission has always been to help SMEs by demystifying PPC for them; taking the complicated stuff and making it easy to digest. Once I had this objective in place, everything else was much easier to develop around it.
5. Leverage your network
When setting up, you need to consider your budget, not to the point of cutting corners which could be a detriment to your business though. The best way to cut costs and ensure you’re not getting ripped off? Utilise your network. Reach out to people who have got useful contacts. The benefits are twofold:
Firstly, having people you know help you can boost the support you receive and lower your costs. It’s also a safe pair of hands.
Secondly, consider referrals. For example, I find it beneficial to be good friends with Web Devs, they often get asked about Digital Marketing and I often get asked about west creation. This is the perfect opportunity to pass work either way.
If you’re reading this because you too are a startup, or just thinking about going for it, I wish you the best of luck. Here’s to the most terrifying, sleepless, uncertain years of my (and maybe your) life. I’m excited.
If you are looking for a PPC Freelancer for your start up or established business, maybe Alix Digital can help, get in touch.