In 2014 I set up
CV Shed. It was never part of my plan – in fact, my only plan was not to have a plan but to go where the wind blew me. And it blew me here. Certainly, no-one is more surprised than me to find that I’ve set up a company that not only pays the bills and supports my chocolate habit, but that I actually enjoy every day. If you’re thinking of running a business from home, here are some of the things I’ve found out along the way that may – or may not – help you along.
It’s OK to make it up as you go along when you’re running a business from home
I learnt how to run a business from home as I went along. By looking at what was working for others, doing a bit of research and adapting everything to what would work for me, things started ticking along nicely. I didn’t start with targets and plans (who needs that stress?), I just let things evolve organically and somehow it’s worked so far. I’m very much in favour of the low-stress approach.
You can outsource the tricky bits
After nearly 10 years of self-employment, I’ve finally got an Accountant. Yay! I realised I get more joy from paying taxes than I get from doing my tax returns (and believe me, I get no joy from paying taxes). Realising that you only have to do the work you actually like is revelatory, and one of the biggest benefits of running a business from home.
Constantly promoting a business, raising awareness and dragging customers through the door is not my cup of tea, I’ve got to be honest. I’m more of a head-down-doing-the-work kinda business owner. I’ve found that having a few long-term contracts means that I can have a regular income stream whilst still leaving time for the private clients that only need me occasionally. It’s all about finding the right balance of work and enjoying the rollercoaster!
You gotta be disciplined…
I get up, I crack on. If you’re a procrastinator or need the whip cracking before you knuckle down, you need to find a way of getting over that – if you don’t do the work, you don’t get paid, it’s that simple. It’s a different mindset to being employed, where your paycheque will be the same at the end of the month whether you slack off or not.
…but you get the rewards
As long as the work gets done, it doesn’t really matter when you do it. That means life can fit round work, rather than vice versa. You can go to places at off-peak times, pop out for a coffee and drop everything if someone important needs you. Flexibility to live life on your schedule is the NUMBER ONE benefit of running your own business.
Other people don’t get it
Running a business from home is a completely different ball game to being employed, and I’m not sure you can appreciate it fully until you’ve tried it. People with “proper jobs” often won’t understand your frustrations or successes. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some other people in a similar boat to me and they’ve made me realise that you need to find your work tribe, just as you need your social tribe out of working hours.
Pricing is tricky
You do the calculations and the competitor analysis, you set your prices and know they’re fair, but it still feels a bit icky. It’s very easy to undervalue yourself, especially if you’ve not been self-employed before. But don’t forget all the expenses that you have now that you never had when you were employed. You don’t get paid if you have a day off sick, and that week in the sun costs more than flights and accommodation because you have to factor in the lost income as well. No-one’s paying into a pension for you, your tech is no longer provided by your employer and that Accountant won’t pay himself! It took me a long time to feel comfortable with my prices, and longer to be able to give a polite NO when customers asked for a discount.
You find skills you never knew you had
The great thing about being employed by someone else is that if you don’t know how to do something, someone else will. Computer playing up? Call the tech guy. Struggling to get a customer to pay? Let the finance team deal with them. Not sure the best way to do something? Ask Sandra at the next desk. When you’re running a business from home, you are the tech guy, the finance team and Sandra. You wear all the hats. Sometimes you wear them all in the space of a few minutes. But you just get on with it, grateful that someone invented Google to help you figure it out.
You can grow at whatever rate suits you
The internet is awash with “coaches” telling you that you can make a seven-figure income every month. Maybe they do (I really doubt it). But I’ll be stepping out of my comfort zone, investing and putting myself out there at my own pace, thank you very much. I do the work, I enjoy the work, I get paid for the work. It’s simple, there’s no stress, I’m in control and the business is still growing. I’m doing it my way and not listening to those dodgy internet hustlers. It ain’t all about the money, all the time – I’m in it for the fun and the quality of life, too.
You might surprise yourself
Chatting to friends over some drinks once, I told them that the previous month had gone really well. The response I got was “and you did that all on your own!”. I’d never stopped to think about how far I’d come since setting up the business and it made me realise that I’d actually achieved something. And that I have excellent and supportive friends. Take some time to look back at where you started once in a while, it might surprise you.
Are you ready to set up a business?
If you’re up for running up a business from home, I wish you luck! Do it your way and enjoy the ride.
If I’ve put you off, sorry! That wasn’t my intention, I wholeheartedly endorse this way of life. But if you’re set on staying in employment, at least take the next step in your career with a knock-out CV. I offer various options at various price points – oh, and I also do content writing and editing, too.
Get in touch and see how I can help you to sound amazing!