After graduating from university, it never crossed my mind that I should go it alone and start my own business. I think it was the same for most of my generation – it was all about getting a good job somewhere and working your way up in the business. But things have changed. Now, graduates are seriously considering being their own boss, and good on them.
According to a study by Solopress, 56% of students are considering setting up their own business, compared to just 33% who are planning to apply to graduate schemes once they leave university.
If you’re one of those graduates in possession of a big dose of entrepreneurial spirit, you’ll be wanting to know what you need to ensure an enjoyable and successful life as a business leader. These tips from the Guardian are a great place to start:
1. A great network
Having a full contact book of people who could help you and your business now or in the future is so important. But, what graduate has a deep well of contacts to call upon? The good news is that you can quickly grow that ‘Connections’ number on LinkedIn, it’s just a matter of doing the legwork. So, get out to those networking events. Sure, it might feel like you’re having the same conversation over and over, but it’s well worth it.
You’ve clearly got some self-belief to even consider going it alone, but you also need to value your worth. To put it frankly, you’ll often find yourself under pressure to do something for nothing in the early days of starting your business. Unless there is an agreement in place to pay you after an initial period of working for free, don’t buckle under that pressure. If you’re producing a good quality service or product, clients will want to pay for it.
3. Tools and templates
As you will know, technology can help with pretty much every task these days. There are plenty of options to generate invoice templates, often without charge. As well as invoices, make sure you’ve got a legal document template. These documents will help you get paid – crucial in the formative days of any business.
4. Know your limits
The temptation is to say yes to every project, especially when you’re trying to make a name for yourself. But taking on too much, too soon can cause you to burnout, lose clients and suffer mentally and emotionally. It’s all about having a self-awareness of how much work you can take on and managing client expectations so they don’t find themselves disappointed.
This is probably the thing you need most of as a business leader. The business world really is the school of hard knocks and if you can’t take the odd disappointment, it’s probably not for you. By the time you’re my age, you’ll be so used to things not working out first time, it’ll be like water off a duck’s back.
After reading that, have your intentions to go it alone altered at all?