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Saturday, 3 December 2016

5 Dos and Don'ts to be Self-Employed without Breaking the Bank

Whether you are looking to start a business because of an interest, because you would like to have another stream of revenue, or because being a stay-at-home-parent is getting meaningless, there are different types and models of businesses that you can consider. Not all businesses require lots of money to start, unless you intend to keep stocks around, or have a retail shopfront.

Besides the registration of company and some marketing costs, which do not cost an arm and a leg, starting a business is pretty easy and enjoyable.  Here's a list of 5 Do's and Don'ts, if you are just thinking of getting started:


1.  Identify a Need
One can enter into many different types of businesses, but do you have any idea of what type you would like to venture into? Is it an innovative, brand new idea that you might need to do a lot of research and market survey on? Is it the sale of products which you personally like to use, or believe that the consumers will buy?  How about offering a service?  Once you identify a need, that's where you start to do your research and source for suppliers and buyers.

2.  Invest
Yes, whether you invest your monetary capital or time, please invest in your business - no pains, no gains. This would mean less me-time, less family time, less social outings or hobbies, but look at the long-term benefits when you are successful and can have all the free time to pursue your interest. Spend your free time investing in knowledge and business know-how by reading or networking. A knowledgeable business person breaks the ice and connects easier with potential customers.

Invest some money and time into grooming yourselves as well. You don't have to look too lavish if you are just starting out (this may intimidate your potential customers as well), but to be neat and polished is a form of showing respect in your potential clients.

3.  Attend Events / Seminars
Attend more networking events and business seminars so as to get to know more like-minded people as well as improve your communication skills. These events are where you may also meet potential partners, clients as well as mentors.

4.  Secure Partners
Partners - whether they are strategic partners  who could help bring awareness to your new business, refer businesses your way, or provide a service that you are unable to. The latter is very important - especially if you don't have the requisites or resources to provide a certain service or product, but see a potential market for it - leverage on a partner company who can do it. They can be your suppliers or you can be the broker / agent for it. That way, these partners receive extra revenue without increasing their sales staff, and you earn from various streams of businesses you can refer to your partners.

5.  Be Prepared to Fail
No venture is perfect, especially if you are a first-time entrepreneur. Most successful business owners have failed ventures behind them, and from there they learn, pick up and try till success is theirs to behold. The most important factor is your mentality - remain positive, reflect on why the venture failed / did not pick up, recharge and restart.


1. Don't Jump into any Products or Schemes Immediately
If you are unsure about your product and its potential in the market, conduct research and gather some feedback, so that you can fine tune, before committing all time and resources to this one product. If you need to keep stocks, order a small number to test out first - so you know whether this is the right supplier to work with on a long term basis, and if your products are sellable.

2. Don't Quit Your Job Yet
Unless you have financial support / assistance, investors or a lot of savings, don't quit your job completely and dive headfirst into your business. You may think that this splits your focus,  but if you don't have the means to do marketing and feed yourself before your new venture starting generating profits, then your business is doomed to fail due to inactivity and lack of clients. No shyt - I know someone who had to rely on friends for lodging, meals and hands-me-downs because she was always dreaming of those widely-advertised "get rich quick" schemes, and eventually had to return to full time employment.

3. Don't Be Too Nice
Ok, don't get the title wrong, I am not advocating that you be nasty to your customers or fellow colleagues. This section simply means, don't allow anyone to take advantage of you. Even if you are working with relatives or close friends, document every single transaction and ensure all terms & conditions are drafted into an Agreement where all parties are bound to.

4. Don't Lie On The Job
It does not matter what business you choose to do - e-commerce, sale of products, insurance, property or even MLM business.  Never be dishonest or insincere in your proposals, for everything would come to light eventually, and then the shyt would hit the fan. If you are intending to introduce your product or service to your warm contacts or friends, just be honest with them about it. A true friend will not shun you just because you were trying to introduce them a product or service, even if they reject your product / service.

Don't lie, also, in the sense that you don't "eat snake" i.e. slack on the job. No one built up their empire by sleeping the hours away, or playing games or staring into space with their huge dreams of success. Hard work and efforts are often injected, even if they are in the form of brain cells being racked (in lieu of real physical efforts).

5. Don't Stop
Every successful business needs to keep growing, and whilst it is start a business, maintajning it is not easy. Ensure that you constantly keep yourself updated with news and changes, especially those related to your industry vertical. Tweak your business strategies as and when the need arises, so as to remain competent.

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