Seven pitfalls to avoid when making money
IF you've got an entrepreneurial spirit and need to make more money, here are some tips that will save you a lot of cash and hours of wasted time.
1 . Don't go it alone. Soak up the experience of others via an online forum (www.smallbusinesscan.com; www.sfa.ie) or LinkedIn, or contact Network Ireland, your local Chamber of Commerce, or Irish International Business Network.
Want to get work experience abroad? Apply for Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, which is an EC-funded programme for pre-revenue or start-up entrepreneurs to work with an established entrepreneur in any EU country.
2 . Don't assume that there is no support available. There are a plethora of organisations that are willing to offer funding, loans, mentoring, information, office space and introductions to key contacts.
Leader, Udaras na Gaeilge, Erasmus for All, Enterprise Europe Network, County Enterprise boards and FoodWorks have budgets to loan, grant or invest.
3 . Don't focus on how much money you make, focus on your profit – what's left after all of your costs. Factor in materials, the cost of a venue, taxes, insurance, advertising and any other expenses before working out how much you will charge. Also, think about "opportunity costs". For example, will you need to pay a babysitter if you start an art class two nights a week?
4 . Don't wait until you find the "big idea". The vast majority of income streams and businesses aren't revolutionary, they're simply one person who provides a service that other people are willing to pay for.
A natural place to start is with your hobby. If you like cooking, you could sell produce at a farmer's market. If you enjoy pilates, you could approach your local gym about delivering a class on a revenue split basis. You could sign up as a mystery shopper to get paid to write reports on services and products.
5 . Don't let a lack of confidence hold you back. If needs be, start small.
Write down everything you could do to bring you closer to making money – even what might seem insignificant. Visit the library for information, email the aforementioned organisations and download podcasts. As you do them, tick them off – and watch the momentum grow. Next, do three bigger tasks. You will soon be able to do what you thought impossible.
6 . Don't expect more money immediately just because you have something to sell.
Make sure that your potential market is reminded of your existence often (that's called marketing). Have a consistent plan of action. For example, write a blog post each week focusing on a different benefit of the product; share it on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Look for subsidised courses to work on a digital marketing strategy.
7 . Don't give up! If at first you don't succeed, take stock, list the lessons learned, the skills you now have, and ponder what you could do differently. Then start again from this new place where you're seasoned, wise and informed.
It's a very true adage that those who thought they failed were very close to success, but just gave up too soon.
Susan Hayes is the author of ‘The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom’