I’ve been up and running for just under 2 months now as a small business.  “This is hard”, is an understatement.  I have never expected things to be easy (I have worked for almost 30 years in the IT industry), but I am not a salesperson and boy is it difficult converting leads!

Most people (in fact all so far) that have requested information from me, haven’t responded.  I have diligently followed up a second time and by the third email, I write them off so to speak.

As with so many start-ups, money is tight.  I am fortunate enough that I have a full-time job and this pays for the business I hope to establish.  Outside of my working hours, I am working on my business.  So evenings and weekends whizz by…………..

I am learning about SEO (who knew?) after previously deciding for another business that it wasn’t important(!); Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Content Marketing, website development, advertising! I have read 3 books in about 9 days, watched a multitude of YouTube videos and referenced specific resources on running a business. Looking at it like this, I think I’ve managed a fair bit in the 7 weeks I’ve been going.

A WHOLE NEW WORLD has opened up! (more about this in a future blog).

I don’t get excited about the latest technological revolution (is that because I work in the technology sector?). I have never signed up to Facebook – and after so many years of avoiding it, I am coming to the realisation that I may have to take this step for the sake of my business.

This isn’t my first business.  I previously invested in a bricks and mortar business for some years which was struggling at best, but the partnership fell apart so I cut my losses and walked away.  And here I find myself doing it again but with less up front capital required and this times it's on my own.

Lessons learned so far:

For starters, you need some money (go figure...):

  • For purchasing a domain and building your website shopfront and website hosting
  • Starting a business in 2022 is HARD WORK – advertising I believe, is essential
  • You need to keep educating yourself – everything is constantly changing and you need to continue to invest in yourself
  • If you’re dealing with people, you need public liability insurance as well as other insurances such as professional indemnity

This all assumes you don’t need to pay bills or yourself, for a year at least.  It assumes you’re going to be working from your home, on your business.  It assumes you may have a full-time or part-time job.  It assumes you have some savings. You've also done your market research and identified your customer.

My base costs:

  • Website hosting/domain/email - £21.73 per month
  • Advertising - £190 per month (at time of writing)
  • Ongoing education – approx. £65 per month
  • Public liability and professional indemnity insurance - £22 per month

So approximately £3.6K per annum and this does not include equipment (I’m a wedding photographer). As far as base costs go, this can apply to anyone setting up a small business, especially a service based enterprise.

You may turn your nose up at the advertising part but if you’re new to starting a business in 2022 and are not known, it’s going to be very difficult to gain traction unless you’re bringing a completely new product/service to market.

I never thought of advertising until I started this business – but I have decided to keep it local and get my business' name out there.  You don’t need to spend this much – I made a conscious decision to do this and if it doesn’t work, I will grumble a bit and then put it down to a learning experience.

There are other costs involved, but from the 4 listed above, the website hosting and insurance are compulsory (insurance if you're working in environments with people). The advertising and education elements are optional, but for me in 2022, these are fundamental. Education because you keep abreast of what is happening in the industry and open to learning and advertising (which I have written off in the past), because unless you are already established in some shape or form, no-one if going to know you're out there without it.

My aim for this blog is to share my experiences with other small business owners.  I have no idea if this venture will be successful, but one thing I have learned in my years of working, is that when things don’t go as planned, that is when we learn the most..