We love supporting small businesses on Ooh.com, and we love hearing about people who run craft courses from their living rooms or cooking lessons in their kitchens.
Over at Enterprise Nation, a resource for homeworkers in the UK, they?ve got great advice for anyone keen to get their own start-up going. We called up founder, Emma Jones, to ask for her insider tips and to hear what her new book, Working 5 to 9 is about.
We?re giving away a copy of Working 5 to 9. Read on to find out how you could win a copy.
- What made you write the book?
It was during 2009 that I noticed a good number of people we were profiling on the site were holding down a day job and building a business at nights and weekends. I thought it was the very best way to start a business as you keep risks low and give yourself time to build confidence and cashflow. I wanted to tell these stories and offer a guide to others wanting to follow the same path. The title Working 5 to 9 came to me when I was sitting at my PC working on my own business during a 5 to 9 shift!
- What?s next for you? Any more books, anything exciting happening on the website?
We have lots happening! My next book Go Global ? how to take your business to the world comes out in November (Ooh.com is referenced in it!), we launch a new site in November called Bitsy that will connect buyers and sellers of business services, and in December we bring a Start Up Kit to market that retails at £25 and comes with £150 plus of offers. As more people decide to become their own boss, we want to provide all the tools and resources needed when starting out; online through our website and offline via our books, kits and digital products.
- What?s the best thing about setting up and running a home business? And the worst?
The best thing about setting up a business, whether from home or elsewhere, is the freedom and flexibility that comes with being your own boss. The added benefits of starting from home is you?re keeping costs low (no pricey second office) and you?re saving time by cutting out the daily commute. I haven?t yet found out the ?worst? thing about setting up and running a home business!
- What?s the best (business) success story you?ve heard?
I?ve heard thousands! Every business I come across is a success story; from CocoRose London who started out with a spare time business that is now manufacturing ballet pumps in China and selling them across the globe, to Bompas and Parr who gave up jobs in property development and architecture to build a company focused on jelly and kitchenalia with sales now stretching from Singapore to San Francisco. Seriously, you would have to give me a whole day and then some to tell you about all the success stories I?ve met.
- Lots of people who list their activities on Ooh.com run their businesses from home, any useful marketing tips for them?
Yes, a couple of tips:
Find your focus and refine your niche; the more niche the business, the more you know your customers, and the lower your marketing costs
Embrace social media; never before have we had the tools at our disposal (Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn) to reach so many people at such little cost
Make friends with the media; identify the journalists covering your industry or trade and keep in gentle contact with them so you are in mind?s eye when they want a quote/need a story
What?s the best advice someone has given you? (work related or not!)
There are two pieces of advice that have stuck with me over the years. One from a successful tech entrepreneur who advised me to focus attention on one business and the other piece of advice was drawn on a napkin in a Manchester café. It said keep the business in balance by following the golden triangle ie spend roughly a third of your time on three things; business development, customer care and admin. Both these nuggets served me well.
- What?s the worst job you?ve ever had?
I haven?t had it yet.
- If you could take time off from working and writing, which Ooh activity would you like to go and do, and why?
I think it would have to be the Burgundy wine tasting. I?d take Dad too. Like father, like daughter, we both like tasting wine!
- What book are you currently reading?
Net Profit by David Sorkin
- What do you like to do at the weekends?
One of my pleasures at the weekend is to relax with The Weekend FT, but it makes me smile as they have a feature called ?My Perfect Weekend? where people who live in idyllic settings talk about all the museums they visit and restaurants they eat at over the course of a weekend. I smile because my weekends tend to be simple and savoured. They involve work/Weekend FT/ a healthy run!
WIN: We?re giving away Emma?s new book Working 5 to 9 to a lucky reader. Are you thinking of setting up a business of your own, or would you just like to read more advice from Emma? Post a comment below and we?ll pick one winner and send them a copy. Simple! (Closes November 15th)