For those who get a home business up and running, the challenges start coming thick and fast: from finding customers to delivering on contracts, dealing with admin and building new and existing relationships.
22nd November 2016
“It was scary,” recalls Jacqui Burke, Founder of HR and training consultancy Flourishing People. “Finding the first client is the biggest fear. It felt like stepping blindfolded off a cliff into the unknown, and having to believe that there was something solid on the other side.”
I am the CEO, accountant, receptionist and cleaner all rolled into one
Like many home business owners, Jacqui found herself quickly having to develop new skills. “I came from a corporate environment where I had an IT department to fix a broken laptop and an accounts department to sort out financial issues. All of a sudden I was doing absolutely everything myself. I wasn’t a great financier or a great IT technician, but I’ve had to learn to do those things over the years.” Jo Hockley, Founder of Toddlebike, similarly reflects that, “my skill set is amazingly broad now — I am the CEO, accountant, receptionist and cleaner all rolled into one.”
Others point to the need to bring in the right help and not try and do everything alone or without the right advice.
“The farther down this road you get, the more you realise the need for expert advice,” reflects Mission Juice’s Tom Tigwell. “I wish that I had been a legal expert and supply chain expert six months ago so that I could protect my idea and get it bottled faster.”
Lucy Woodhouse, half of the team behind frozen yoghurt maker Claudi & Fin, stresses that home businesses can benefit from outsourcing work and harnessing the skills of freelance support. “Do your research and you can tap into a really talented pool of people. They want to keep their clients happy so you get a great service from them.”
Working with others, even on an outsourced basis, can help combat another problem that many home businesses spoke of: the isolation of working alone. “There is no feedback, no brainstorming, no socialising with other people,” says Christina Poelzl-Huemer, of TinaPoelzlDesign.
As well as the ability to juggle multiple priorities, home business owners identified determination and self-belief as two key attributes for success. “Parts of the journey will be unexpected, some challenging and maybe even scary,” says Lucy Woodhouse. “But if you have that belief then you will convince others, you will succeed and you will love it.”
if you have that belief then you will convince others, you will succeed and you will love it
Likewise, says Kuldip Singh, part of the family team behind chilli sauce maker Mr Singh’s Sauces, “the biggest challenge you will have to overcome is the thought of quitting and walking away. But, if you really believe in your business, then you will make it work and figure out how to take it from one to ten.”
For home business owners, often running everything themselves, no success comes without commitment and determination. “Typically I get up at 4am and will work until 6am, when I try to get an hour’s sleep,” says Rupert Connelly of consultancy marketplace DIALaBRAIN. “I’m then up again at 7am and won’t finish until 8 or 9pm. When you start your own business you have to be determined to succeed, but at the end of the day I’m my own boss and I feel good about what I’m doing.”