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Stuck In A Rut Looking To Reach Out And Go Self Employed

Needhelp

Needhelp

New Member
Hi

I have an array of experience in the world of finance and I am looking for a financial website to buy, manage and build. I am fed up of the rat race which is the financial sector and believe I can do better with my own financial forum/blog. Any advice?
 
Tog Porter

Tog Porter

Ayrshire Web Design
Hello.

If you want to create your own website with a forum and blog it would be useful if you have some website authoring knowledge.

You will need to buy a domain name and web hosting space. there are many companies that offer this service, and it would be prudent to look at some of them and see what service best suits your needs. For the blog you may want one that offers free installation of WordPress or similar, and you may also find one that offers a free installation of forum software.

If you opt for a web hosting company that does not offer installation of blog and forum software, you could search for these as standalone products and add the files yourself to your hosting space, but that will require more web design knowledge and ftp (File Transfer Protocol) use.

I hope this is of some help to you and wish you well with your new venture.
 
Needhelp

Needhelp

New Member
Thanks Tog,

Can I ask how you started in business and whether further down the line you feel it was worth it?
 
Tog Porter

Tog Porter

Ayrshire Web Design
Hello.

I have been self employed for more than 40 years now. My early days of self employment were as a freelance photographer. I got interested in computing in the 80s and taught myself basic and then machine code. I wrote the first game of a TV show called countdown in 1985 for the commodore 64. It was produced on cassette tapes and sold for £3.50 all over the UK.

I started a web design business in 2001 because I was enthralled with the internet and its potential. I have since learnt HTML. PHP, ASP, JavaScript, and MySQL manipulation, and I have clients all over the world.

I am very lucky that I earn a living doing something I enjoy so yes, it was definitely worth it. I cannot imagine working for someone else in a standard employed position.

Self employment is not easy and is full of challenges, but I love the sense of freedom and of being in control of my income. Being self employed means earning what you are worth and not what someone else decides you are worth.
 
Businessman

Businessman

New Member
Two or three things leap out at me here...

First of all - going self-employed is not (necessarily) the remedy for being 'stuck in a rut', and that's completely the wrong reason to take that direction. As Tog says, being self-employed may well mean earning what you're worth. Equally well it means being out on your own without any safety net... If you fall ill or become permanently disabled for example; you will get no help. then there is the fact that as the world and technology changes so might your core service; it might even be eliminated.

"I am looking for a financial website to buy, manage and build."

What do you know about buying managing and building websites? - Do you have a comparable level of technical education to Tog for example? Have you studied the legal aspects of publishing - i.e. copyright, defamation, data protection etc? Do you know what insurances you will need and do you have the qualifications to obtain them at a reasonable price? what licencing might be necessary?

Anyone can set up 'a website' quite easily... A blog isn't a hard thing to run either. But how is it to be monetised? Is it a platform for selling financial services? Or do you hope to do a 'Martin Lewis'?

If the latter I'd strongly advise looking into Martin's story... The 'fairy tale' is that he set up this website for £100 which he later sold on and made a fortune from. The truth is a little more prosaic - it's a spin-off and extension of his wider career as a television journalist (he's a journalism graduate) and, in essence, a 'new media' project which went well. - Mainly, it has to be said, off the back of 'free' advertising generated via his television appearances; in fact he got his backside booted by OFCOM for doing it!

I'd be interested in hearing more (in very general terms) about what it is you hope to sell via this website/blog. - But my initial thoughts would be that you need to team-up with people who have the necessary technical knowledge.
 
MarkB

MarkB

New Member
Staff member
I agree - going self employed or creating your own company is not an easy road to riches and you need to have drive, focus and an end game. Also, if there is one thing I have learned working for myself it is that you cannot do everything yourself - where you lack certain skills, buy them in and stick to what you know. The real danger when working for yourself is spreading yourself too thinly and having an array of half finished jobs but no fully completed jobs. That is the one main peice of advice I would give anyone - finish one project before you start another :)
 
Needhelp

Needhelp

New Member
Many thanks for all of your advice - if I do go self-employed it needs to be for the right reasons and not just a case of jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. Maybe I should look at staying full time in my current employment and start a business in my spare time? That way if it got big enough it would be a simple transition to full time self employment?
 
Tog Porter

Tog Porter

Ayrshire Web Design
Yes, you could try dipping you toe in self employed waters before taking the plunge completely and many people do this. It may give you a wake up call as to the amount of skills and knowledge you need, as well as highlighting any additional resources you need to make it work and generate a profit. You may find some helpful information at Business Gateway, and they will have a branch near you to discuss your ideas.

My advice is to start out by creating a business plan. This is essential for obtaining finance if you need it, but it is also essential for your self. A sound and well researched business plan can show you if the business idea is viable. The most common mistakes people make when creating business plans are that they over estimate sales and under estimate costs, so it is important to make sure you get these elements as realistic as you can. It is my experience that a good realistic and honest business plan can help you see the next step with much more clarity. Things a business plan should include, but not be limited to:
1) Summary of your business
2) Objectives
3) Target market (needs extensive research)
4) Market Size (needs extensive research)
5) Competition Analysis (needs extensive research)
6) Business Structure, including in house or third party resources needed.
7) Unique Selling Points
8) Strengths, Weaknesses, and Threats analysis. (needs extensive research)
9) Profit and loss projections (include every cost and overhead you can think of.) and cash flow forecasts for 3 years
10) Profit and loss projections and cash flow forecasts for 3 years at 70% of projected sales (remember that I said most people over estimate their sales, and if the business cannot stand alone at 70% of projected sales it needs re-evaluating and may not be a viable business.)

Once you are happy that your business plan is complete and accurate, take an objective look at it and ask yourself: "Is this a picture of a viable business?" If your honest answer is "Yes" then you may have the skeleton on which to build your future.

Next, get someone else to evaluate your plan without bias. A good way of doing this is to approach a bank for a loan and/or apply for a grant. Your plan will then be scrutinised and some issues may arise that you hadn't thought of. You don't have to accept the loan or grant if offered, but you will have a valuable third party opinion of your business plan.

I hope this helps.
 
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Businessman

Businessman

New Member
A bird in the hand as they say...

For about a dozen years - between 2000 and 2012 - I lectured a few days a week. I had no thought of going in to teaching, I was simply 'headhunted' by the Head Of Department; it was useful having a regular wage at the end of the month. I bailed out when I saw 'the writing on the wall' for the college I worked at (Stow in Glasgow) and went back to the tools...

For me, self-employment was inevitable, as it is for most people who work in the broadcast/entertainment industries. - The 'gig economy' as they fashionably call it, has been a feature of life in the industry since deregulation in the early 90s killed-off most of the staff jobs. I'm not sure I'd like to be a full-time employee for anyone; but equally well, I do sometimes miss knowing what will come in at the end of the month.

And the other thing is, I'm self-employed at my own trade; not anyone else's! It's a BIG mistake to think you can take on web design/web management without the necessary technical skills - it's one thing building your own site if it's not mission-critical; quite another if it's the core of your business.
 
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john mphee

john mphee

New Member
Hello John here just had a look at the thread can i ask what type of financial website would you be looking for .
Regards John
 
Needhelp

Needhelp

New Member
Hi John,

It would be a stocks, shares and investments based site if I do finally go down that route.
 
john mphee

john mphee

New Member
Thank you for getting back i tried a few years ago to get something off the ground in the alternative finance sector but found it very tough with all the regulations i was looking into the Peer to Peer finance sector ,i still think the whole P2P thing is still young and has massive upside if you find the right market ,im still looking to do something with the website iv`e been looking at other models to use the site other than finance as such i have been doing some thinking on the grounds of retail and e commerce or cashback sites something simple to get it off the ground.
Regards John
 

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