Welcome to today’s Freelance / Business chat with Simon Forder of RingHello. Simon’s another person who found this series through the 4N forums; I find my featured people tend to come in waves from particular places, as people recommend taking part to other people. RingHello is a telemarketing and lead generation company, like accountants, proofreaders and other service businesses, taking advantage of a niche that is often necessary to the success of a business, but not always part of the small business owner’s set of core skills. So it’s a good thing to outsource, although maybe not one you’d immediately think of, and you get the value of Simon and Janine’s expertise and ability to help your own business grow and flourish. They’re obviously keeping busy, which is great to hear – I think if you can start a business in a recession, and maintain it through the hard times, you’ve got a really good future ahead of you (although obviously businesses are failing at the moment through no fault of their own, and I would never denigrate their owners!). And they’ve used skills they’ve gained when employed to take over to the new business, which is something I’m going to talk about in a “Going Freelance” blog post, coming soon. So, let’s find out what Simon did when setting up the business, and what he wishes he’d done …
What’s your business called? When did you set it up?
We recently rebranded as RingHello, but Janine has been freelance under her own name for 4 years.
What made you decide to set up your own business?
We decided that we wanted to have a bit more control over what we did every day, and felt that we could do a better job than agencies, and make a bit more money!
What made you decide to go into this particular business area?
Experience within the sector as employed staff.
Had you run your own business before?
Not really. Janine had an Avon round for a while, and I tinkered in my spare time with copywriting, but not seriously.
How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?
Janine had a client who promised her a month’s full work, and she got additional clients for subsequent months. Full-time, with no back-up plan!
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
How much more of an emotional rollercoaster it would become.
What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?
To take more time planning the next step.
What do you wish you’d done differently?
Not started working for clients without a signed proposal.
What are you glad you did?
I’m glad I took the plunge to become freelance. I couldn’t go back to working for other people …
What’s your top business tip?
Make sure your clients have read your Terms and Conditions.
How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?
Grown – although I am not quite working to capacity this month, I have done for the past few.
Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?
I hope to be fully booked and regularly referring additional work to trusted colleagues.
Ah, yes, the Ts & Cs – so terribly important, and I have a horrible feeling that all of us have had to learn from experience with that one! Thanks for taking part, Simon, and we look forward to seeing you fully booked and thriving this time next year! Find out what happened next …