5 Tips for Starting Your Own Business

Want to be your own boss but don't know where to start?

Founder and Director of The New Kid, Marnie Shanahan, has some winning advice for women looking to start their own business. 

For those who need a leg up, or just a starting point, follow these tips: 

1. Share your idea as soon as possible

Thanks to The Social Network, it’s a common misconception someone will ‘steal’ your brilliant idea for a new business or venture. But the likelihood of someone having the same passion and drive to drop everything and pursue your idea is slim to none. And guess what? If it can be replicated and surpassed that easily, it would have happened down the track and caused a lot more heartache.

Speak to as many people about your idea as quickly as you can to gain feedback – you’ll be surprised at how many people want to help and connect you.

2. Start lean

Spend as little money as possible to validate your idea. Whether you’re planning on opening an online or brick-and-mortar business, there are so many free or cheap options available to test your idea. Try using Facebook Ads to reach a specific audience, Campaign Monitor to send EDM’s, Hootsuite to schedule your social media channels, LawPath to access legal advice and customise legal documents, and purchase a WordPress theme to get a basic website up and running.

3. Join an online community

Starting a business on your own is challenging. Joining an online community such as Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine will allow you to ask for advice, speak to people who have been in your position, access contacts, seek feedback, learn from each others mistakes, or simply just connect with people who understand what you’re going through.

4. Spruce up your skills in person or online

It’s no secret that business owners wear many hats. One day you’re the accountant, the next day you’re the social media strategist. The good news is there are plenty of classes and workshops you can do to drastically and quickly improve your skill set. General Assembly has cheap classes and workshops in Sydney and Melbourne, such as a $70 crash course in Google Adwords, and if you’re looking for some help in the tech space you can’t go wrong with How to Build a Website 101. There are endless resources online too such as 99U, Udemy, Ted X, Podcasts, and YouTube.

5. Attend events

Networking can be terrifying if you’re usually the wallflower, but luckily there are a lot of options available that don’t entail a silent room and name tags. Contacts are vital when you’re starting a business and you never know what partnerships you may stumble upon if you get away from your desk and out of your comfort zone. Fishburners always has a range of social events on, and for those who hate to network - the The Sandpit is for you!

Marnie's company, The New Kid, is a career site that helps young Australians snag a great internship (and avoid the dodgy ones!).

She is currently partnering with IndieFlix to host an exclusive screening of The Empowerment Project in order to create a local dialogue around female empowerment and women in the workplace. It will be screened at the aMBUSH gallery in Chippendale this Friday 19 February, 6pm – 9pm. More information & tickets are available here.

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