Do this first!
The higher the building, the stronger the foundations needed.
Here are three actions to take before developing your business plans to ensure you are building your self-employed life on firm ground.
3 steps to help you build your business
Clarify your whole life vision
Perhaps some circumstances are propelling you towards self-employment. Redundancy, feeling you are lacking money and/or time, or falling out of love with your employment can all give your business plans impetus.
If you are producing a written plan for your funding provider, bank, or programme, they won't be interested in the long-term dreams and desires you have for your life, yet these are going to keep you inspired and moving forward through all the ups and downs ahead.
They also provide the context for key decisions you need to make in your business. Along the way, there will be temptations and seductions. Your vision will ensure the choices you make are aligned with your priorities.
You could take yourself into nature to do this, explore your vision with free flow writing, or make a visual representation (like a collage).
Clear your space
When and where will you work on these plans and business set-up? The chances are that your time is already full, so what are you going to stop doing (or do less of) in order to find time for this?
I'd encourage you to make a timetable and set boundaries so you, and those around you, know your working pattern. The aim is for you to be fully engaged in the activity you have chosen, not half-heartedly multitasking or constantly feeling you 'should' be doing something else.
Self-care is also important during times of change, so make sure there's time for that too.
Perhaps you have some space you can allocate at home, or at another favourite place of work? For a fresh start, de-cluttering to create your workspace feels great. You might put together a 'work station' you can bring out and set up quickly. The ritual of going into or setting up your space is part of you getting fully into your new business role.
Assuming your business is not yet bringing in money, it's good to keep costs low at this point. Experiment with what you can gather easily, and then put purchasing further equipment that you discover is needed into your business plan.
Gather your team
Who do you need to get on board to smooth the way into self-employment? Family, friends, key collaborators? Some will love being involved from the outset and will have creative ideas and practical support to offer. Others are best briefed after you have all the facts and figures to hand. At the least, those you are close to will need to be aware of the space clearing above.
Who do you know with relevant experience that you can talk to? Who has expertise in different areas of business? What online forums and groups might be useful?
This is also the time to identify any local resources available to business start-ups - training programmes, mentoring schemes, and/or grants.
Looking at the free content from coaches and training providers will also help you identify who you can turn to for further help when it's needed.