Online One-to-One Coaching for as Little or Often as you Need
Sole Trader Mentoring and Coaching Support Services
Online One-to-One Coaching for as Little or Often as you Need
Over eleven years ago I found myself at a dead end career-wise. I soon realised that luck was not on my side and that nobody was going to just give me a job, or get a job by competing in the normal way. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and create an opportunity for myself. Since I had worked as a cleaner in and around law school I decided to start up my own cleaning business starting with a bicycle, a haversack, and an advert in the local Business Improvement District website I managed to get my first customer and then, just like a snowball I got more and more customers and developed my business year-by-year to the point where I have revenue around £30,000 - not bad for a single trader undertaking cleaning.
Now I want to diversify slightly and help people who want to start up in business themselves as sole traders themselves. Whether it be plumbing, electricians, dog grooming, hairdresser, etc - the principles of business are the same, and it is the transferable skills that I have learned in my eleven years of business that can help you start up your new venture.
With an affordable pricing structure, you can gain vital knowledge that will help you launch your business and help establish you in the market. So make contact to discuss your needs with Paul.
Who I Am and What I Do
Hi, I 'm Paul and I have been working in the cleaning industry for 22 years now, starting as an employee with hospital contractors, NHS, Royal Mail, recruitment agencies, other private organisations before starting up my own business as a sole trader in 2011, where I have cleaned for a range of individuals and organisations in Dorchester, Poole and in between such as:
for or on behalf of:
those in receipt of benefits
those in retirement
Community Mental Health Teams
How I can help you start up as a Sole Trader?
You don't have to be a cleaner in order to benefit from my services. Whether you want to start up as a hairdresser, plumber, electrician, dog groomer or whatever else it might be the same basic principles of business applies:
You need to make a profit
You need to advertise your services
You need to comply with legal and insurance requirements
You need to be responsible for your own tax and national insurance
You need to be aware of real practical issues your business will face such as unsatisfied customers.
You may need to network at local events such as local Chamber of Commerce meetings
I also read law at university and briefly worked for a small firm, and this will give you some food for thought regarding legal obligations for your new venture. I also studied Business, Law, Business Law, and Economics when in the sixth form which has some applications as well. I have written four books on the subject of starting up in cleaning which cover practical matters, advertising, marketing, supplies, and networking among other things.
I am not promising to make you a millionaire. I can help you, assist you, guide you, coach you, and support you as best I can but business is all about taking calculated risks where there is the possibility of things or choices not working out. What I can help you do is to make the chances of failure that little less likely by telling you about my mistakes and where I went wrong, and what I did to put right and my business back on track, and hopefully I can get to a point where you can stand on your own two feet and think for yourself with a nice little business, with a reasonable income, and a nice bit of independence.
What to Consider When Starting Out
Advertising is very much a trial-and-error process that you will have to go through to work out exactly what works best for you, but you could easily spend thousands if you are not very careful. Many people in advertising just want to sell you their service and have no conscience as to whether it is really going to be suitable for you. When your number becomes easily accessible over the internet you will be updated with emails and phone calls proposing to you all sorts of deals and schemes. In regards to me having a good website with search engine optimization along with a Google campaign has been very successful. The rule of thumb is that only 1% of advertising is actually successful in the long term so the aim of the advertising game is to develop a long-term advertising strategy to ensure your business is kept in people’s minds.
Newspapers are very expensive and the newspaper your advert is in will only stay around somebody’s house for so long. The local free weekly or monthly publication might be a much better bet with a small but regular advert. You will need to ask which magazine or newspaper is going to reach your customer base so advertising in a local golfing magazine may not be as good as the local free paper as the audience of the golf magazine will be much narrower.
Google / Website
Google is very much a must these days for all businesses as more and more people are computer literate with perhaps only those of retirement age not being competent. Many will people when they need your product or service will immediately search for the term and the location, they are in to identify businesses like yours including on their phones. In addition, an informative website with service and product details, and where possible videos and blogs, and Facebook and Twitter accounts will boost your website in the search engine rankings.
Leaflets can be very useful for some businesses but relying on someone else to deliver them can be risky as there have been notorious cases where leaflets are just dumped in bins/hedges by those being paid minimum wage
When starting up your own business there are all sorts of legal obligations that will apply to you. Some of these will apply to all businesses and some will be specific to your industry, some will be obvious, but others may not. Being aware of what legal obligations you have will and making sure you comply will be essential for business success.
Legal consumer contracts
If you are a sole trader, you will be selling a product or providing a service to the community in return for a fee and this is a legally binding contract that means there will be implications should you fail to provide work of a satisfactory standard or the product you supply is faulty. There could also be other legal implications beyond contract law such as tort law where people could reasonably be impacted by actions/omissions.
Misrepresentation of your services
You must endeavor to represent and conduct your business in a fair and accurate way otherwise you could fall foul of the Consumer Protection Regulations, for example being unclear on your pricing, or making a claim which is substantially false.
In the U.K the only business insurance which is mandatory is employee’s liability cover however you would be very foolish to not have any other types of insurance which may apply to your business such as public liability, and professional indemnity as mistakes always happen, and it is important to get yourself a good insurance broker who will take the time to understand your business, the service or product is provided, and will make sure you have the most comprehensive cover.
Tax and National Insurance
You will need to declare yourself as self-employed to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs within three months of starting your sole trader business and you will need to be able to work out how much you have in revenue, and your costs, which will allow you to work out your profits, which you can then use to apply the tax and national thresholds to so you can work out the respective amounts for national insurance and tax. This sounds simple but as you get involved with the day-to-day running of your business you will understand how this can go so easily wrong.
Employees or subcontractors
The law defining employees and sub-contractors is a matter of great debate, and it is easy for people engaging subcontractors to be found by the courts as hiring employees by disguise to avoid the benefits and costs of employees such as maternity pay, pensions, employee national insurance, and more. Therefore it is imperative you make sure that if you take on extra people as your company grows that you take on not only the most practical option for your business but be sure at a later stage that your arrangement is not found by the courts/HMRC to actually be in the opposite category.
Insuring your business can be a complicated affair, where you work, who you with, what you are working on, how you work, and your company turnover can all have an impact on the cover of insurance you require and the level you need, and only an experienced broker will be able to match your needs to their own pool of insurers and underwriters. There are also ways that insurance policies can be rendered void or payouts reduced such as failure to secure vehicles or premises so it is important to get experienced assistance and not just buy a simple policy off the internet.
Other legal obligations
There will be obligations on you to dispose of your waste, for example, you may need a waste carrier’s license, or you will need to hire the local council to empty your waste which will include having waste bins specific to your business. You will need to make sure your equipment is in good working order and will need to abide by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health
Networking can be an excellent way to get exposure as a new business and there is bound to be some groups close to you such as your local Chamber of Commerce and Business Improvement Districts. They are a great way to also gain experience from other members of the group so you might not even be too concerned about making money directly from getting customer referrals at first. Do remember though that some of these networking groups can cost a lot of money and therefore you must always ask yourself the question does it make sense for my me to be here, and for most people that means financially. If you are paying more than you are getting back in terms of customer referrals then you may need to reconsider.
Adapting to your strengths
If you have a certain background that can strengthen your chances of getting customers and launching your business then, at least in the short term it is worth marketing yourself in such a way. For example, with my experience working in care, I was able to secure work related to those connected with social services and community mental health teams.
What will be your USP?
Your USP or Unique Selling Point is what makes you different from other companies providing the same or similar services. It will be much easier for you to establish yourself as a business if you can differentiate yourself from your competition. Making this clear in your marketing strategy and advertising is key to success.