For a number of reasons I am beginning to accept that if I want to work I will have to create my own job. Partly that’s because, whatever the law says, ageism is rife and I’m in that block of old-gits that have long since turned invisible! Of course, I’m also a grumpy sod and don’t much fancy working for someone else especially as I’ve been happily self-employed for over 15 years. It’s time for a change though.

Now I’m not moaning, I’m a very practical sort of person but I’ve been to a few interviews and they go fine – it’s the bit after that’s scary – all that 9-5 at the same location crap! So, what if I start a new business? Won’t it cost loads of money?

Frankly, no, you can start a new business on next to nowt just avoid all the chancers who will be after your hard-earned cash. I can’t name them here for obvious reasons but they will be obvious when they approach – the cash will be going one-way, out of your pocket! We’ll come back to them later.

First rule – find something to do. Something that fits with your lifestyle, that people want, that’s simple, that will make a profit or any mix of the above. Obvious? Well, apparently not as far too many people find out and 75% of start-ups fail.

I’m going for a local market. I’ll be working within around a 30 mile radius of my house. It’s service only, I’ll only sell product if it’s part of the job – you won’t be able to ONLY buy the product from me, you’ll have to have it installed too. I’m deliberately keeping back what the business does for now :)

By going for a local market I can keep my costs way down. There’s little travelling for example. Also, my advertising costs are way down too as I will be using local printers – they produce booklets every two months and deliver to about 10,000 households in my patch. Advertising costs are around 20 quid a month per ad. In addition, I’ll place cards in local shops that have plenty of traffic. I will not be wasting time with paid schemes that run in the likes of supermarkets – expensive and poor response. However, smaller shops often have a window area for displaying cards and people are used to looking at them. Costs vary but a couple of quid a month is about the norm.

I’d like a website too but I don’t want to pay much, in fact, I’ll do my own – okay, I’m fairly technically competent¬†:) Find some local guy who will be prepared to help for not very much. There’s no shortage of IT technicians looking for work! Nothing too flash, it only needs the basic information and to look reasonably professional. I’m not worried about rankings.

However, I am concerned that local people can find me so the landing page should have all the relevant information on it. Once the text is refined, use the SAME text as the basis of ads on the likes of GT, in the text place your keywords i.e. what you believe people will search for when looking for whatever it is you do. Do some market research – ask people what they would search for :)

Now, I bet you think I’m starting a computer business? No! I’m starting a handyman business! Type ‘getahand’ into Google – it’s a simple WordPress site but it does the job. Domain name cost about 6 quid.

I also registered with HMRC as a sole trader – simple accounts, post annual results on-line, very cheap :)

Spotted one of the themes of the start-up? Yep, spend as little money as possible because at this stage it’s all going out!

Which brings us neatly back to the chancers! They regularly trawl through a variety of information sources so, not long after start-up, they will be giving you a call. A word from the wise – you can’t afford them…

[to be continued…]