Spotlight On: Going Alone, An Honest Guide
Going alone is always hard; It's the big leap (or in my case a moment of madness) that can make or break you.
If you have a genius idea or want to continue doing what you do best on your own terms; making that step is often a result of sleepless nights and endless conversations convincing yourself and others that this is the right thing to do.
Brooke Hagel, a fashion illustrator based in New York articulates the struggle perfectly:
"I love the freedom a freelance career offers. Being able to travel, make my own schedule, and work with a wide array of clients across different industries is ideal for me.
In the beginning, of course, it was slow and I was nervous about sustaining a freelance career"
So how do we, at The Study Room London help you to make that big decision?
We spoke to our friends and fellow business owners who have been in exactly the same position and have gone through it for their best pieces of advice :
Knowing what you want can often be the simplest and equally the most difficult decision when launching your own venture. Andrew Kozman, Founder of Mercury Digital, a digital marketing and web design agency advises one of the first things you should consider when you too have your 'moment of madness':
"Once you've figured out what industry you want to be in, do a lot of market research and figure out what your potential customers' biggest pain points are.
This is a great opportunity to seek advice, either from industry peers, friends or family who may become your potential new clients or customers. Charley Harrison, Owner of London Tailored Tours says
"Take advice and guidance but take it from the right people ( e.g. industry experts, your target market, other small business owners, mentors etc)"
Be mindful of the advice you take however; friends and family can be a great source of advice and provide an additional perspective but as Harrison says it's "important to be mindful of their obvious bias!"
Angelique; owner of London Army Apparel says "Don't be afraid to fail publicly. If you [let others] hinder your progress than that will kill your business and always follow your gut when it comes to dealing or working with people. It is usually spot on."
This is a great piece of advice and something I reflected on during my first six months. You are often your loudest and only cheerleader; especially if it feels like your are faltering in the beginning. Becoming a freelancer or an small business owner is a huge commitment, much like Alex Tucker Says " The reality is insanely long hours away from friends and family" nothing is an overnight success and you should always remember why you started. David, Owner of Design Print Shop articulates this perfectly: "follow your heart and do something you love to do...When we do something we love and enjoy, we will naturally thrive".
It will always been hard, but if you are doing something you are passionate about, you will never work a day in your life!
Believing in yourself and your venture is one thing, but making sure you have a plan, should things go wrong is a key factor in your venture surviving past it's first year.
Danny Richman, who has worked with over 2,000 small businesses discusses one of the biggest issues startups face:
"When a business is first launched, the focus is all about getting customers. Many small business owners believe that once they have achieved this all of their problems will be over. That couldn't be further from the truth, in my opinion, managing growth is much harder."
This is something that often separates successful, thriving businesses from the struggling ones
"There is no magic solution; but being aware that you will face these challenges a few years down the line may help you be better prepared for when you do.
Being prepared, having a plan and developing a process is the best way to avoid reaching a point where the stress of success leads to failure"
In addition to taking advice, believing in yourself and being organised and productive; take a break and celebrate this momentous decision you've made. It's a big deal!
Share your work, your expertise and your vision with anyone who will care to listen; just like Brooke Hagel says:
"The only way prospective clients will find you is if your work is out there... No one else is going to do it for you..."
Thank you to all of the contributors to this article.
Andrew Kozman - Founder of Mercury Digital. Find their Facebook & Twitter here
Charley Harrison - Founder of London Tailored Tours. Have a look at their Instagram, Twitter & Facebook here
Angelique - Founder of London Army Apparel. Have a look at their Facebook & Instagram here
David - Founder of The Design Design Print Shop.
Danny Richman - Prince's Trust Mentor & SEO Trainer. Have a look at his website here
Alex Tucker - Founder of Lex Marquee Hire. Have a look at their Facebook, Twitter & Instagram here