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Starting out and Promoting your Business

Updated on August 31, 2013
Get Certified
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Working for Yourself

The idea of working for yourself can be rather appealing to some. The thought of being your own boss and being able to be a bit more flexible is particularly handy if you have family commitments or serious hobbies.

Running your own business has it's negative points too. Getting regular work, supplies and sorting out your own income tax can be a chore.

But if you weigh up the pros and cons of working for a company or starting up on your own, and decide to go with the latter, where are you going to begin?

There are many business ventures to choose from. Some can be set up straight away with minimal qualifications and money. Others require business plans, equipment and liability insurance. Do your homework first.

Starting out

Check out the competition in your area. This is a very important first step, not only to see if there is enough business to go round (if any at all), but you also want to avoid poaching clients. This won't make you very popular and will effect personal relationships within the community, and may risk your reputation of being a 'trustworthy business person'.

You then need to know if you suit all the requirements for the job. Just because you work for yourself, doesn't mean you don't need to prove your skills or qualifications.

If the business you're setting up requires training make sure you've had it. You may need to be certified and clients like to see that.

Check your financial situation as this is vital. You may need to invest some money into equipment, a vehicle or a website. Liability insurance (if you need it) will also come out of your own pocket. But don't worry - it's all tax deductible, so put it all on the books.

Talk to your bank or lender if you need to borrow. Bigger businesses require business plans which are well thought out and clear. If your lender can see you've done your research and there's a profit to be had, they might just be generous with you. Badly drawn up plans with no research on the type of clients you will attract, the area you intend to work in and no maths skills could end up being rejected.

Do you need a business partner or premises? You will need someone you trust who has a good business head. Look at your strengths and weaknesses and find someone to compliment that. If premises are required you may need to rent a shop, office or warehouse unit. If you want to work from home, check with your mortgage lender or landlord first. You don't want them to put a stop to it after all the hard work has been put it.

Every business is different, so check and double check first. You need to register your business, find a unique name (that hasn't been taken), then of course, get some business!

Your Online Business
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This is a must, especially in this day and age. People in need of a service generally look online first. It's quick and more convenient than skimming through the telephone directory

There are many ways to get a website. You can set up your own, by signing into existing blogging sites and creating one. Wordpress or Blogger are easy to use.

You can buy and register your domain name so that no one else takes it and it makes you look professional. Use the name for your email address too.

Once you're set up, you need to fill it with content. You can ask a friend or pay someone to do this, or do it yourself.

Put relevant information on your front page. The name of your business, what you do, a catchy photograph or image and a short blog. You will have a contact page with your contact details, and an About You page, describing yourself. Make sure you really sell yourself, making you seem friendly and approachable, professional and skilled.

If you don't want to make your own site, you can pay a professional to do this for you. They will have SEO knowledge and know what keywords to use, get you back links, submit your site to online directories (to get you found easier) and market your website to be found on the search engines.

Check companies before you part with your money though. Some may overcharge, offer thousands of backlinks (which will spam your site and in the long run do it more harm than good) or simply scam you. Check online reviews and telephone them. If you can't get hold of them, be suspicious.

You should be given access to update your website too. If any small changes need to be made you can simply do it yourself, hassle free.

Word of Mouth

It is surprising how many people you will chat to about what you do for a living who will either require some work from you, or know someone who might.

Wherever you go, always get talking to people. It may be at the school gate whilst collecting your child, in a queue in a shop or at a party. Spread the word about.

Hopefully friends, neighbors and family will also do the same on your behalf to get you promoted.

If you are polite, confident and outgoing without being forceful, people will remember you and feel happy to approach you in the future.

Business cards

Always carry business cards around with you. Have them in your bag, car, wallet and plenty at home. If someone wants work, they'll need a contact number.

You don't have to get them professionally done either. If you have a PC, you can print them off as and when you need them. Make them look attractive and clear with a logo or image on.


Going door to door with flyer's works for some and not for others. It depends on your business. If you choose to do this you may get a couple of clients out of it, but you'll have to go round a lot of houses.

Having said that, seeing a flyer with your business name and logo on may get you recognized in the future.

You may be better to put up your flyer in local shop windows and notice boards. It will save you time and many people will still see it.

Get permission from the shop manager first. You also may have to pay a small amount each week it stays up. Target areas where there is a good client base or many people go. Supermarkets, fish and chip shops or community halls. Even place them in doctor's waiting rooms or hair salons if appropriate.

Telephone Directories

It may seem like old hat now, but it's worth getting yourself in the Yellow Pages. Some people still use them.

If you use a car or van for your work, get a sign on the side. It makes you look like the professional that you are and it's great for advertising.

You could go a little further with your promotion if you wish, such as radio adverts or on screen (in clinics, shopping centres or children's play centers for example).

When you get an enquiry, find out where they heard about you. If most clients are using the same method, then focus more on that.

It could be trial and error before you get your feet off the ground.


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    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      7 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks Sandy - glad it helped. Cheers for the comment and vote :)

    • Sandy Frost profile image

      Sandy Frost 

      7 years ago from India

      Emma, you've provided those all required essentials which set up a business successfully and keep it up evergreen for long-run. Voted up and an awesome hub. :)

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      7 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thank you seo4site and vasmenon. Networking is a great way of getting your feet under the table when you start out, and meet people for support and advice.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      7 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi Victoria - thanks for sharing. Glad you found it useful.

      justateacher - it is hard to compete with bigger businesses. Starting out takes time but when you begin to get clients, more will come. Word of mouth is also great promotion. Good luck with it.

      Thanks Tammy for your comment :)

    • vasmenon profile image


      7 years ago from India

      Good information.I guess you missed out on business networking, which in many fields of business is very important now.I am myself a corporate guy turned entrepreneur and found your Hub quite useful. Thank you..

    • seo4site profile image


      7 years ago

      nice hub!

    • tammyfrost profile image

      Tammy Frost 

      7 years ago from Oregon

      Great Information on this Hub. Thanks for sharing your Business Tips.

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 

      7 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Some great suggestions! I am trying to get my tutoring business started and have a website and flyers and some of your other ideas, but I am competing against some large, nationwide businesses - the difference between me and them is that my services are by donation only and that makes it hard to advertise as well as they do.Voted up and SHARED!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Emma, Great information for an entrepreneur who wants to start a business. I've been wanting to with freelance writing and proofreading services. Getting focused to start somewhere can be difficult. Your article helps! Thanks! voted up, useful, and awesome! Sharing!

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      7 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks for the compliment ryancarter!

      Starting up a business can be tough from the beginning, but qualities such as patience and hard work will get you a long way.

      When things are hard, always focus on your goals and why you really wanted your business. A balanced head will get results - good luck anyway ;)

    • ryancarter profile image


      7 years ago from Falkville, Alabama

      Another outstanding hub, Emma! I am currently starting up my own business, so I absolutely relate to the content. I am a very patient hard-worker, so let's hope that luck won't need to be a factor!

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      7 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi billybuc, thanks for stopping by.

      It takes time to get a business off the ground. When I had mine, it took about 6 months, but once I started getting clients I had that many, I was turning people away! I always kept advertising though, in case I lost any and needed to take on more.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      All great ideas Emma, ones I use in my own small business. It takes time to develop a business so patience and hard work are needed. Great hub!

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      7 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi alipuckett - thanks for stopping by.

      If you are going to the effort to set up your business you need to put the time into promoting it. It comes hand in hand.

      Thanks for the comment :)

    • alipuckett profile image


      7 years ago

      Great tips! I agree that a website is a must-have. There are lots of services that can guide you through setting one up yourself for relatively cheaply. Best wishes to you!


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