Thinking of starting your own business? Here’s how to get started on your journey to self-employment.
This year has taken a toll on all of us. Some might be desperately looking for a new role after being made redundant; for others, working from home may have made you realise just how much you hate the job you’re currently in. If that sounds familiar, one solution could be to go self-employed, and turn your passion or side hustle into a full-time dream career.
We know it’s easier said than done. Thousands of new businesses are started annually and half of them fail within the first five years. This seems to be due to naiveté, a lack of business acumen and failure to plan on the part of the business owners. So how can you set yourself up for the best chance of success?
Plan For Success
The first step is to make a comprehensive business plan and examine your reasons for starting a company. Are you looking at a potential long-term career, a way of making money from a hobby or a complete shift in industry? What do you hope to achieve in the short and long term, and how will you measure that success? Are you being realistic?
Most people underestimate how much of a commitment it is to run your own business. It might sound like a dream to be your own boss and set your own schedule, but remember you will also have to be your own marketing manager, PA, event planner, publicist, accountant and more – and the buck always stops with you.
Look After Yourself
Business owners always seem to forget to look after themselves. Overstretching yourself financially and emotionally for a business is very easy when it is your baby. But you need to know when you’re biting off more than you can chew and learn when to say no. It is vital that you make sure that you are able to pay your bills and don’t end up getting yourself into massive debt just to keep the business going.
Know Your Limits
Being your own boss can be very daunting and also feel a bit lonely. Making sure you surround yourself with people who can help and advise you, both in and out of your industry, can really make a difference!
Hong Kong actually makes it very easy to set up a company, be it a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company. Now more than ever, the government is looking to support local start-ups, especially those likely to employ people in the city. There is a huge number of grants and subsidies that have been set up in this year alone, and the government site for business is infinitely helpful when looking at the nitty gritty of this.
Leaving the corporate world means foregoing benefits such as group health and life cover, rental reimbursement schemes, and your MPF or subsidised pensions. It is therefore more important than ever to find the right people to help you professionally, including accountants and tax advisors who you 100% trust.
There is an abundance of resources out there for the self-employed, and despite the social distancing measures we’ve had to face this year, there are many online seminars and events being held to support small business owners. For instance, 2020 saw the first virtual start-up festival run by Startmeup and InvestHK which attracted over 180,000 attendees. Thanks to technology, there are now apps like Expensify and Xero which can save you time and energy with the administrative and financial side of owning a business. This can take away some of the pressure of day-to-day business tasks, leaving you free to focus on your core strengths and passion.
This year has seen a lot of changes in the world, forcing us all to take a long hard look at our lives. It’s not surprising to learn that many have taken the opportunity to finally strike out on their own Just remember, as long as you have a robust and realistic plan, the flexibility to evolve and grow as your business does, and the support to encourage and motivate yourself, then the possibilities in self-employment are endless!