16 November 2014

being self employed - tips and tricks

Let's take a break from beauty for a moment to talk business! I am a self employed 21 year old and I have learnt a lot of things (sometimes the hard way) that I feel have made me a better boss (for myself) and made my business stronger. Whether you're just nosey about what I do and how I got there, or are interested in starting your own business here are some tips and tricks that I learnt along the way.

When I left college age 18, I didn't know what to do, my plan had always been to go to university but there was nothing that really pulled me in. At this time in my life, my social anxiety was off the charts, and the day I was meant to start my foundation degree in art I had a huge panic attack and ended up at the doctors. I feel that was the start to the rest of my life. It made me think outside the world of education and think about what I really wanted to do. I went through six weeks of CBT and ended up at the job centre. This was the worst time of my life. I hated it there and felt like no one really cared what I did or tried to help me (but that's a whole other story.) I decided to leave and try and make it on my own. I focused on my blog and YouTube and then started doing blog design!

I have always loved web design, I got the design bug age 14, learning the basics of HTML & CSS on Piczo and then I moved into the blogging world when I was 17. I would spend hours updating the look of my Myspace page, googling 'how to add this, how to edit that' until it became second nature. I found my real love in blog design. It mixes my two passions, blogging and web design. I love being able to create unique and personal blogging spaces for clients that reflect their personalities and gives them their own slice of the web to create and nurture. After offering a few designs to blogger friends for free, I realised that this could be my job. I set up a store and applied to become self employed. Here are some tips that I have learnt from dealing with clients, to managing your time.

ONE: DECIDE ON YOUR OPENING TIMES.. and stick to them.

If like me, you are going to be working from home, it can be very hard to separate your work life from your home life. Setting yourself a schedule and sticking to it will do you wonders. For example I tell all my clients that I work 9.30- 17.30 Monday - Friday but do not work weekends. Being in constant contact with clients via twitter etc makes it hard to switch off, but stand your ground and don't open any emails from clients unless you are within work hours. This gives you the time off you deserve and stops you from being at the beckon call of your clients, everyone deserves a day off, you shouldn't be up till midnight working (which I have been guilty of at the start of my business as I didn't want to disappoint clients)

TWO: Dealing with clients/ customers.

This one depends on your type of business. For example if you own an online store, you might not have to interact with customers day to day where as for me as a blog designer, being in constant touch with customers and clients is a must. I need their input and they need to be able to reach me. Personally I like to keep my contact to just emails but if you have a business phone, you can use phone calls and texts to keep in touch with clients. Some clients can be tricky to deal with but it is important that you stay professional at all times. Take notes, and stay on top of your work. If you were in retail you would have the odd grumpy customer and you must stay polite at all times. Be happy to help, offer alternatives to any issues but don't feel bullied to work outside of your hour.
 

THREE: MAINTAIN YOUR WEBSITE

It's important to keep on top of any websites that you own. Keep it current and updated to make sure your potential customers can see you in your current place. I personally update my store every time I finish a blog design, as I add a preview of their design to my portfolio page. This gives potential customers an insight into how my skills are developing, what I am able to do, and if my design style is for them. Any form of website you have needs to have the basics. An about page to tell them what you're all about, and a contact page so that they can get in touch with you about anything! 

FOUR: MAKE USE OF SOCIAL NETWORKS & know your target market!

I can't stress enough how much social network has helped with my business. I get the majority of my clients as referrals from past clients, or by promoting my store and services via twitter and instagram. Hashtags are your friends! Use them wisely. Find your client type and advertise! I handed out discount cards for blogger meet up goodie bags, offer holiday discount codes and promote my store at least once a day (weekends too) using appropriate hashtags to spread the word. I even reach out to bloggers to let them know about my services.

And finally..

my number one tip to any aspiring entrepreneurs out there.

Do not fear failure! Many times I thought, this isn't working, or what if this doesn't go anywhere. Be patient, and learn from any mistakes you make. It might not happen overnight, but hard work pays off. Make sure you have a solid business plan before you start, know what direction you want to go in, and what is the next step in achieving that.  

If you have any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs and want to share them, check out this competition to win an iPad air with Thawte Start-Up!

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MEET THE AUTHOR: Serena Ozgowicz is a 24 year old Puggle owner with a passion for beauty, crafts and coding! You can follow her on facebook, twitter and instagram. Thank you for reading this post!

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