Business Start-up: Doing the Work

[There was no post last week, due to long weekend in Paris, and just a quickie today, as I’m in the middle of extended celebrations for a BIG birthday. Normal service will be resumed next week. J]

Once we’ve got our customers, we must satisfy (or even better, exceed) their expectations.  If we do, they are likely to come back to us next time they need the same service and also recommend us to other people.  [In fact, it is a good idea to ask satisfied customers to pass our name on to their friends.] So here are some of my top tips for getting the work done.
·       Any business needs premises from which to work. As writers, we are lucky that we can work more or less anywhere, especially in these days of mobile technology. The first option should always be to work from home or from the customer’s premises.  It’s the cheapest option and there will be no extra facility costs involved.  If you are working from home, you may be able to offset some of your household bills against your income, although this is a tricky area where it is worth taking professional advice. 

·       If you feel unable to work from home, then try to find options other than renting or buying.  Maybe there is a local business that has spare space they are willing to let you use.  If you can agree a barter deal (where you provide advertising copy or press releases for them in lieu of rent), even better.   Investigate your local libraries or internet cafes. If you do decide to rent premises, then investigate local schemes which support start-up businesses. 

·       Make sure you have the time to write. This is your job as well as your business and this means it must take priority. You will need back-up systems such as child-care arrangements and may have to consider contracting out housework etc. If you worked for someone else, you wouldn’t be able to drop everything each time there was a problem at home; so why should you be expected to do so when you work for yourself?

·       Especially if you are working from home, make sure people understand that you are not available for coffee or chats during your working time. Again, they wouldn’t interrupt you if you had a ‘proper job’, so why should they do it now?

·       You will need the right equipment to do the work. That’s a bigger topic, so we’ll come back to that at a later date.
·       Finally, you need the will to get on and write. So many of us complain of having writers’ block; losing the muse; being too busy doing other things [see above!] and therefore not getting anything done. At the risk of repeating myself: this is your job, not just your business. Write through the block; use trigger to wake up the muse; stop doing those other things — just get on and write.
·       Bearing in mind my opening note: don’t forget to have fun along the way. Otherwise, why be in business for yourself; you might as well go out and get a ‘proper job’. Right, I’m off to open some more cards and presents – have a good writing week.
By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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