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With the closure of high street brands once again in the headlines and add to that the rationalisation of certain other companies we can brace ourselves for an influx of freshly redundant ex-employees heading for the life of self employment. Putting to good use the redundancy payouts and never having to answer to ‘the man’ ever again.

OK you have decided that you are going to set that spare bedroom up as the office you have a PC maybe and a phone but where are your customers going to come from ? The sudden reality that you will not have the security of a regular pay-packet again dawns and you will live or die based on the decisions that you make. The days of putting the ad in the paper or Yellow Pages have now passed and you need to make contacts and gain trust of potential customers. Its fair to say you have to have some kind of internet presence a website or at the very least a page on one or more of the social media platforms. You can read more of my take on LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter by clicking on these links.

Recognising you need support is a great forward step, can I recommend a few places to start ? My good friend Claire Mcternan at employee to business owner has a great track record in working with new start-ups. For a budget website creation I can recommend Graham Nicklin at iteezee and a more sophisticated offering from Matt Baxter at design one for Me. For graphic design I’m happy to recommend Steph Othen or Jon Harrison. On the compliance side a trusted financial adviser is paramount and a good accountant will save more than their fee Samantha Kemp at Trinity Accountants Steve Tamplin at Clover and Penny Lowe are stand-out candidates.

How do I know all the above are noteworthy ? One word that will stand you in good stead as long as you work for yourself- Networking. You will not survive without meeting people, potential clients, potential suppliers and just people who ‘get’ self-employment and have met and defeated the same challenges you face.

Mark_019gravatarSo, Networking, there are a lot of groups out there and to be frank they can be scary places. I tried a few before I found something that met my needs and the needs of my business. In April 2011 I walked into a networking breakfast in Sutton Coldfield, it was different, welcoming, inclusive and guess what ? I got to meet three other people in 3 ten minute meetings ! That was 4Networking and the first person who shook my hand is now my business partner in a Utility Brokerage that Im running alongside what I do. It was a big decision to part with cash – probably the biggest investment in myself I had made at that time. Looking back that investment has come back to me over 30 times ! When you add to that the social support it has given it becomes priceless.

Membership of 4Networking allowed me to attend over 250 different groups and I took my business region wide – my biggest client I met at 4N and I also count amongst my closest friends. I regularly grow my business at meetings now and am happy to refer people that I meet. like,know and trust – you see that’s it, don’t expect others to fore-go the same checks you would make. Networking is for the long haul and you need to build relationships and the business will follow.

How would you like to come to a meeting and find out more ? We have a group near wherever you are in the UK and if you happen to be in the West Midlands area – here is the latest launch where you would be most welcome.

If you would like to chat through your networking options just mail me and I will get right back to you,


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