If you have been laid off in lockdown and are considering starting your own business – it can feel like you need to take a huge leap of faith. Frederike Harms (www.frederikeharms.com) is a six-figure business owner, who also balances a busy role as a corporate program manager and being a mum. Last week (Wednesday 26th May 2021), her book The Side Hustle Solution was published and uses stories, actionable advice and practical tips highlighting the path to achieve your entrepreneurial dreams without sacrificing other areas of your life. Based on the strategies she developed while building her own successful side hustle business and refined while working with other clients, here she outlines seven things you need to do before starting your own business:

Frederike Harms

Frederike Harms

What do Airbnb, Slack and WhatsApp have in common? They were all founded during or immediately after the recession caused by the financial crisis in 2008.

Of course, losing your job in a time when economic conditions are complex and remain uncertain is hard. I’m not here to tell you that it’s not. However, I am here to tell you that starting a business isn’t just what everyone else does, but it’s what YOU can do. If you’ve ever thought of doing your own thing, now is the time.

If fear of the unknown has been holding you back, then it’s time to break down the barriers and take back control of your life.

(1) Zone in on your genius

So many business owners think they have to start a business doing what they have done in their corporate role. That’s where they have the most experience, right? Technically, you’re right, but practically this often translates jumping from the frying pan into the fire. If you didn’t enjoy what you were doing in your 9 - 5, then you likely won’t like it when it comes without holiday pay and dental insurance. Instead, look at your transferable skills and find something you’re passionate about. Then combine the two and design an offering based on this.

(2) Align your business model to your dream lifestyle

Building a business isn’t for the faint of heart, and it doesn’t happen overnight, so you want to make sure it’s worth it. Get clear on what you want your life to look like, how many hours you want to be working, how much time you want to spend seeing clients if you wish to see them in person or virtually for added flexibility, but even what time you want to finish your day to go and pick your kids up from school. All of this will help you in defining your business model and income streams. You wouldn’t, for example, start a wedding photography business if you don’t want to work weekends, right?

(3) Sort your mindset

Mindset is a huge hurdle for most entrepreneurs. Especially if you have been thinking about going out on your own for a while but haven’t taken any action, then there’s usually a reason for that. Tackle it head-on and figure out what exactly is holding you back because if it’s impacted you so far, it will keep coming up until you deal with it. BUT also know that this is part of the process and not unique to you. I have to work on my mindset daily, as does every single entrepreneur I know.

(4) Design a strategy

It was one of my clients that said to me, “It’s not really a business without a strategy, is it?” And she’s right. If this is more than just a way to ‘top-up the holiday fund’, then you want to figure out how much money you need and want to make, how many sales it’d take to hit that figure and how you’re going to attract the clients that will buy from you.

(5)Invest in yourself and in your new business

You’ll be wearing all of the hats when you first start out, and there’s a lot to learn. I know we don’t all have infinite financial resources available but try and avoid reinventing the wheel at every turn. There are lots of resources available online to learn how to do things. Still, outsourcing is also a very viable option to move things forward - especially those things that are way out of your zone of genius.

(6) Introduce a ‘no excuses’ policy

When all decisions are down to you and only you, this creates a lot of space for procrastination. Pushing out of your comfort zone can be scary, but nothing destroys a dream more than: “I was going to but…” or “I wish I could, it’s just…” Do it. Do it now. After all, we only regret the opportunities we didn’t take.

(7) Don’t do it alone

Launching, running, and levelling up a business can be a lonely place. Especially at the start, there’s a reasonably high probability that you’ll be a one (wo)man band. But that doesn’t mean you have to experience the highs and lows by yourself. Build a network of entrepreneurs that get it and you. This has been a priceless step in my business, and I regularly rely on my business friends to lean on, soundboard or even just vent.

The most important thing to remember: Take small steps consistently. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

Side Hustle Solution by Frederike Harms is available from Wednesday 26th May 2021 on Amazon (http://bit.ly/SideHustleSolution)

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