Member Article

From a hobby, to a side hustle, to a business

Some of us are fortunate enough to have more time on our hands during these times. Despite warnings about the economy and mass job loss, this has unexpectedly led to an increasing amount of people setting up their own business. According to the Centre of Entrepreneurs, nearly half of a million companies were launched in the UK between March and September 2020, up by 44,500 compared to the same period in 2019. Many are changing careers due to job loss, keeping busy during furlough or wanting to turn hobby or side hustle into a business, with the gig economy being around for some time and the rise of influencers. But many of us are becoming multi-hyphenates and turning what we enjoy into a steady income, especially now most of us are working from home.

I’m not any different. Lockr Space came from my love of fitness and sport, and the importance of sustainability, which has led to my goal of providing functional, premium and sustainable sportswear. The move to start your own business is a big decision, whether you want to start your empire or have it set up temporarily as a lockdown business. There are a few small steps that can make a big difference and get you started on the right foot - from finances to confidence, here are a few tips I picked up while starting my own.

Keep yourself informed!

As cliché as it might sound, reading informative books or looking up business resources online is a great start especially if you have no business experience. Dedicating an hour or two a day to research or look up role models or other entrepreneurs who have successfully made a similar transition is a great way to avoid their mistakes and help us identify the real problems in our areas rather than the assumed ones.

Bills, bills, bills

Finances and the cost of setting up and running a business is a common deterrent. You may be fortunate enough to have savings, family support or be able to continue working full-time to cover costs or invest in the business. There are many alternatives such as grants, VC funding and accelerator programmes, which can lead to introductions to investors. Also, many local councils and LEPs (Local Enterprise Partnerships) have pots of money kept aside for start-ups. Depending on the type of business you’ve set up, you may allow pre-orders for your services or goods to customers which can help cover the costs, but whatever business you have, budgeting and financial planning is important. But similarly to the above, there is an abundance of free resources and templates to help monitor your outgoings, incomings, and expenses.

Entrepreneurs are not perfect

Your plan or strategy doesn’t have to be perfect to start, as it’s highly likely that it will evolve. There’s a misconception, that I also had, that you must be business savvy, have a MBA or know everything about your chosen sector. Mistakes will happen and problems will arise but you learn from all of these experiences.

Look into your immediate circle

You’d be surprised with the amount of resources you have at your fingertips. Ask your friends and family for support, you may have a relative who’s an expert at accounting, someone who’s great at building websites or a cousin who’d like work experience or an internship. Not only is this a great way to reduce costs early on but it also helps with motivation as you’ll have people in your corner.

Don’t turn your passion into a chore

Hobbies and side hustles usually have positive connotations. For example, sports and fitness has always been a passion of mine and now it is the core of my business. It’s very easy for your passion to become a chore when it bleeds into business process, clients, sales etc. Therefore, it’s important to check in and ask yourself why you are doing this? Are there easy steps you can take to switch off and make sure you keep that passion alive between work and enjoyment? Before lockdown, I played 5-a-side football every Sunday to disengage from the running of the business and I vow to push myself everyday with at least one form of exercise to from the start of the year. In most cases you work even harder when it’s something you’re emotionally invested in but this can easily turn into a thorn on your side. So, remember it’s OK to keep your passion and work can be totally separate, don’t lose what prompted you to start.

For those of us lucky enough to be succeeding or making progress starting a business, there are hard days, especially at a time when many are suffering, but do celebrate the small achievements and keep on striving.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Lockr Space .

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