How to launch a business you love
Sophie Cross, Editor of Freelancer Magazine and Author of marketing & mindset courses for ambitious freelancers and creatives, conducted the session "Setting up as self-employed person" as part of the Facework Ukraine training. She told us how she came up with the idea of creating a magazine, and also gave advice to those who want to start their own business.
I started freelancing 10 years ago.
At first, I worked for a long time in a hospitality as a waitress, than I was a personal trainer in a Hilton Hotel, and than I moved into a marketing role in that hotel. Before that I had worked freelance as a marketing manager.
I always wanted to have my own business and work for myself. I wanted to have a restaurant, I wanted to anything, I don’t care really. I used to write a business plan, I used to think about business plan for a cafe and I realized maybe it’s stuped idea.
One day I was driving car and I thought: "Wow, I know what business I can set up!" I can be a freelancer in a marketing because it’s a very low cost. If you set up business as a restaurant it’s a lot of cost, but if you set up a business as marketer, I already have knowledge or some of the knowledge, and network, it’s really low cost. I took a leap.
I was lucky enough to called ex-employers or people I used to work with, ex-colleagues and ask to give me some work in marketing - writing work. I was always enjoying making hotel brochures. I didn’t think about myself as a writer. But people used to give me a lot of writing base work - blogs, websites.
And over 10 years… I started working for different clients because I had a thought I don’t want to just work only for hospitality and for hotels. I actually I came around full circle and realized that was my niche, my specialism.
Mini sob story
My husband and I, we used to live in London, and we decided to go traveling and we moved to the countryside about 7 years ago. We didn’t mean live there for a long, for example 5 years, and we were still workings for clients in London which was actually really nice.
Maybe it was a bit quiet in the countryside it was really craving back to the city, so 3 years ago we moved back to London. I was thinking I am going to really get involved in like a meeting people, maybe get involved in a hospitality industry again, maybe set up my own hospitality marketing event where people can come to. It was in January 2020 and in March 2020 I lost all of my clients. I had no clients at all because of COVID and hospitality industry was obviously stopped.
Start from a blank canva
I do find the same when I left my employers job to go freelance. Sometimes you have like a blank canva. It can be the most exciting time because almost easier to make decision because you have nothing to lose. If you have a job and you try decide, you know. If nothing have to lose and that point…
Product or service
I always considered can I having a product? I always offered a service - marketing as a service or writing as a service. But also I was interested in having a product because it’s scalable. If you selling your time you can only sell like one hour of your time in one hour… If you have a product you can sell it unlimited maybe.
From online courses to magazine
So I started making online courses. Online marketing courses for small businesses and for freelancer. I have been making a courses andI have thought about magazine, basically about the reasons for freelance magazine. I spotted it was a gap on the market, there wasn’t any freelance magazine. So I came back about magazine.
And now I am editor of Freelancer Magazine.
10 key tips on launching your own business from Sophie Cross
Learning you become a teacher
First I started using a LinkedIn to promote my other courses and I realized very quickly, in about three months, that I was seeing really good results from LinkedIn. So I decided make a course about how I used a LinkedIn. So as you learning you can become a teacher as well.
You don’t need to be an expert
You think you do not enough but actually people almost prefer to learn of somebody that just have learned themselves. If you are really bad in cooking you don’t want to learn how to cook from a Michelin star’s chef you want to learn from Joe Wicks he is like a PE teacher for kid stuff he is a cook writer, and from his bestselling cookbook. People want to learn hoe to cook from Joe Wicks, they don’t want to learn how to cook from like a Raymond Blanc because it’s so far away from them. As you learning you know enough to teach to the next person. People would rather learn from you. You don’t need to be a complete expert you don’t need to know full of the answers.
Start before you are ready
So start as early as you can. Do this when you're employed, don't wait until you leave to start your own thing.
Treat it like a business
I like to compare. You should pretend that your freelance is like a restaurant. Had a restaurant you would decide what exactly you are going to offer, how you market yourself, what you are going to if need a help from another people, you would have suppliers, you would have employees. You need to think all about this things. As a freelancer as well you also think about yourself as a business. It can has to be separate like a business. Otherwise it’s easy take things very personally. Decide as a restaurant when you are going to open. It’s important as a freelancer what hour you are going to work, you can’t work 18 hours per day. It’s not accepting every single piece of work and offertory. I guess, see yourself as a business.
People work with people they like
Also, I am going to say people work with people they like. So actually you don’t need to be the best writer in the world, you don’t need be the best designer in the world, you don’t need to be the best anything. You have to be a nice person is more important to be friendly, be reliable and build relationship.
Have a niche
Specialize! If it’s not going well maybe you do too many things to many people. I would said it’s much easier to get work if you narrowdown. Have a niche. Actually your specialism can come from your weaknesses.
Turn weakness into strength
If you think you have weakness maybe you turn it in specialism.
Turn your weakness into your strength. Speaking Ukrainian in London - is it weakness or strength? Your specialize can based on Ukrainian. It might be a translation work for people, maybe you don’t very good in English but you a little bit ahead of them. Or create an English language course. Other people in Ukraine would love visit Museum of London. You can create a guid like a Londoners for Ukrainians.
What to do
If you want to start business you need to search what other people do. List of freelance job. New google search and find a big list. Start brain storming and then make decision. The best decision will be on High and Right by the scale "What do I want to do?" & "Likely is to work?"
You don’t have to have unique idea but you should make it a little bit different and better than someone else.
Tell everybody you know. Connecting with people using LinkedIn. You are in London, you definitely start meet a people and try involve them in conversation.