So Christmas has finally come and gone, the decorations have lost their sparkle and the party poppers have popped their last. You await the dull thud of the first credit card bill or bank statement of 2008 whilst anticipating your return to work. Surely there has to be more to life than this?
Maybe there is! I’ve used the Internet for many years to run online businesses and this monthly column will take you through how you could use it to start a business as well. Whilst it isn’t rocket science, you will need access to a computer and the Internet and at least a little experience of how to use them. Fortunately, the first two come free if you join the local library.
However, let’s start at the beginning and determine what you want to achieve. Why is this necessary? Well, as my darling husband often says, ‘if you don’t know where you’re going any road will take there’. In other words, if you don’t have a goal how will you know when you’ve reached it?
So what goal do you want to set yourself, bearing in mind it can change as your Internet adventure continues. For instance, you might like to clear a debt or earn an extra £100 a month. You may want to save for a holiday or even anticipate being the next millionaire on Dragon’s Den.
When you’ve decided what you want to achieve and why, it’s essential to think about how it will fit into your existing lifestyle and how much time you’re prepared to give it. For instance do you want to work at this a couple of hours a month or a couple of hours each day? Will friends and family help? Do you need to buy stock or are you making your own crafts? How will you send out orders? Do you need some start-up capital to get business cards printed or a website set up?
What you are going to do? Hobbies, interests and specialist knowledge are often a good place to start. Even if this isn’t the case there are lots of ‘instant business opportunities’ that you can tap into which are fantastic if you’re that special someone who can sell ice to Eskimos.
Each question needs careful consideration because starting a business, no matter how small, always involves activities that aren’t just about getting other people’s money into your bank account.