I have spent the past 25 years working in the business world, learning countless lessons and making more mistakes than I care to remember. Fortunately I've been able to use my experiences - both positive and negative - to help achieve the goals I've set along the way.
I'm always flattered when people ask me for business tips or advice about entering the exciting (and sometimes nerve-wracking) world of entrepreneurship. Looking back, I'm sure the younger me would have appreciated and certainly benefited from some words of comfort and encouragement.
With this in mind, I wanted to offer some guidance from a first-hand perspective. Hopefully, whether you already work in business or are simply contemplating the first step, I can provide you with a positive but realistic impression of both the hurdles and the highs that lie ahead.
1. Starting up: All the Right Reasons
Having recently met a group of aspiring entrepreneurs and trying to offer them a few words of support, I thought back to a time when I was starting out in business and the uncertainty I felt with it! That is why I am going to focus my first series of posts on starting up. It may sound obvious but before anyone enters the world of business they must be sure they are doing so for the right reasons. My first post highlights what I consider these to be in the hope that people become better equipped for the journey ahead.
2. Both sides of the coin: The pros and cons of self-employment
Last week I shared what I consider to be the right reasons for going into business. Hopefully now you have matched these with your own motivations it is worth looking at the positives and negatives of self-employment. From my own experiences I have tried to present a realistic picture of what starting up is like.
It is easy to forget the early days of UKFast, having evolved so much over the past 15 years. Looking back, I am certain that all the sacrifices made and hurdles overcome were more than worthwhile and part of what made our journey all the more exciting.
3. Starting up: Picking your business
You could argue that making the transition into the world of self-employment is the most difficult part of going into business. But even after making a decision and committing to it there are so many things to consider. The type of business you choose to work at is so integral to its success that it shouldn't be a decision taken lightly. It's likely that you've already got a good idea of what this will be, so I've tried to offer my best advice for what to contemplate when picking your business.
4. Starting up: Choosing your Business Partner
Sometimes the best experiences are ones shared, and in the case of UKFast this couldn't be truer. My wife Gail and I started UKFast together 15 years ago and I can't imagine doing it without her. Not only does it make perfect business sense, the journey has been all the more fun with her by my side. Interestingly, when UKFast was just an idea in my mind, Gail was busy applying for jobs, neither of us realising we both wanted to be business partners.
So here we are now, happily married and running what I believe is the greatest hosting provider in the world. However, entering into a business partnership is a serious matter and if you're considering it, there are a few issues I would reflect over first.