Have you thought about starting a business?

Launching a Successful Services Business on a Shoestring Budget

Have you ever thought about starting your own business and making a living from your expertise?  It’s something many people think about yet few actually do.

Here is my story which explains why I’m planning to create a package to help launch a successful services business on a shoestring budget.

My experience

I left my corporate job 2 years ago this week.

I’d spent 10 years selling my time and skills to other people on behalf of a Big Four Professional Services Firm.

That decade had been quite a ride and I learned a huge amount.  Yet somewhere inside me, I felt the desire to see if I could hang up my own shingle and do it all for myself.

There was a feeling of giddy exhiliaration when I handed in my corporate pass for the last time and walked out into the brave new (entrepreneur) world.   Yet this was tinged with some serious concerns.

Psyching myself up to make this leap had been a serious process.  I’d always had my resignation letter on “stand-by” yet never pushed the button.

Leaving the cocoon of a regular salary, a full support system and all my lovely colleagues was a huge  – not to mention a decade of memories.  A great leap into the beyond.

I also had a very limited budget to get things rolling and a desire to bootstrap my way to success.

All by myself

From a business standpoint I felt naïve in the extreme.  I was confident as a coach having spent quite some time in the corporate world developing my skills.

Yet I had never had any experience setting up the infrastructure of a business, figuring out where to find my clients, knowing how to persuade them to buy from me (without that giant behemoth behind me).

Most scarily I was going to a place where I had NO income coming in each month, and there was no-one else to help me change that (or to blame).

In retrospect

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.  Sitting here today, I can’t imagine a better decision to make.  I have a thriving coaching practice, work with amazing partners and enjoy the flexibility and freedom that being an entrepreneur brings.

However I know that my journey from that triumphant day 2 years ago to today hasn’t always been smooth.  I hit most of the challenges that a new entrepreneur faces head on.

I’ve learned many lessons about how to create a professional services business and find the clients I want to serve along the way.

In retrospect, some of these lessons were very costly in terms of time and money.

I chose a stupid name to start my business (Colosseum Consulting – people can’t even spell that), which put people off visiting my website.

I spent ages using manual processes I should have used technology to automate which wasted countless hours.

I spent too much time hiding under a rock because I had no idea how to find prospects and create a pipline.

I blew golden opportunities to sign up new clients because I had no idea how to conduct a sales call.

I don’t believe in regrets, but if I had my time over I would have wanted three things:

  • Better information to stop me from wasting some of this time and money
  • The dedicated support of someone who had trodden this path before to guide me past these pitfalls
  • Access to others in the same situation at the outset of their businesses to share ideas and support each other

Make it so

For this reason, the idea of creating a package to support professionals who are thinking about or ready to set up their own business really excited me.

I know how valuable the lessons I’ve learned are and I wish I’d known them when I was starting out.  They would have saved me loads of money and more importantly a lot of precious time.

So over the last few months together with my friend and fellow entrepreneur Catherine Morgan of Point A to Point B Transitions, we’ve been beavering away to build just such a package.

I’m certain that what we’re creating would be of huge value to anyone setting up in business.  And we’re aiming to keep the price affordable, as every penny counts for an entrepreneur.

I’m not going to launch into a huge marketing letter about this, so let’s just leave it there.   If this sounds of interest, just watch this space.

Over to you

This product will be designed for anyone interested in setting up their own business selling their time and services.  We’d love to hear your thoughts.

What excites you about starting your own business?

What are the biggest barriers you feel when thinking about setting up on your own?

What kind of information would you like to see in this product?

What support would be most helpful for you?

Please do leave a comment and get in touch and we can make sure that Launching a Successful Service Business on Shoestring Budget helps turn lots of brilliant ideas into real businesses.

Photo credit: asvensson (Flickr Creative Commons)

Related posts:

  1. What's it like to set up your own business?
  2. Why now is a great time to start your business – Part 2
  3. Why now is a great time to start your own business – Part 1


  1. Phil
    October 6, 2010 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    If you’re thinking about starting your own business or just have, please leave a comment or get in touch. Thank you – Phil

  2. October 6, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Often the perfect niche for a coach is the folks just a couple of steps (or years) behind you. It’s a great initiative! I was talking to a friend of a friend recently who is venturing into self employment and I could feel and hear his energetic profile would hold him back. A little deja vu because when I started out, a lot of my energy profile fell in the lowest levels. I didn’t know why I couldn’t make what worked for my mentors work for me. Once I released that negativity and could more consistently tap into the energy of opportunity and creativity, I could take on board all the what and how guidance from those who went before me and wanted to help me get established. Anyone thinking about starting a service business without the awareness of how much of their energy is “negative” might not fully (quickly) implement the valuable advice and guidance. To start out on our own, there has to be opportunity energy and once we see the start up from that state, we can be the next who teaches those who follow.

  3. October 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Ironically, I started a business as a by-product. I needed a business to sell my book, and it was an interesting process.

    I haven’t actually thought through the business, but I wanted an inspiring name, so I ran with Innovation Playhouse. The mission will evolve, but for now it’s write the guides that change the world.
    J.D. Meier recently posted..Getting Results the Agile Way is Now Available in Print

  4. October 13, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Hey Phil, interested in reading more about your product/service as it progresses.

    “What excites you about starting your own business?”

    Freedom, Independence, Profits

    “What are the biggest barriers you feel when thinking about setting up on your own?”

    Building trust. Being genuine. Offering products of real value.

    “What kind of information would you like to see in this product?”

    How to find clients online. The foundations of an online business.

    Looking forward to reading more from you soon!
    Steven recently posted..Interview- Rob White of Mind Adventure

  5. Phil
    October 21, 2010 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    @Denise – Thanks for your comment and that is so true. The energy that we carry into starting a new business affects how the world responds to it. If we don’t fully believe in the enterprise (which as natural as there is quite some fear in starting out) then people pick up on it. Now the guide is ready to go and a lot of the content is focused on getting in the right mindset for success. That is also why I’ve added in coaching support and also the opportunity to mastermind with others. This helps to grow confidence, get support and get your mindset into the right place. You are spot on with your comment and I’m grateful for it.

    @J.D. – Wonderful to see that you are evolving into business to share your passion with the world. That is the right way to do things. Starting out with what we love to do is the perfect launch pad for a business. We cover a little about how to expand a services business to think about extra income streams (particularly passive income) in Launching your Successful Service Business and you are partly to thank for that. Appreciate your comment.

    @Steven – Thanks for your great answers. You have the perfect approach to creating a successful business – getting the genuine approach to building trust and offering products of real value. I know that finding clients online is a huge part of a successful services business and it has taken me a couple of years to figure out that mystery. I’ve shared the best lessons I’ve learned in the guide. Some key things are to build a hub that you love, to provide consistent value in your field by sharing expertise and ideas, to engage with your readers, to build a network of supporters across the blogosphere who can support you in different ways, and to communicate regularly with your network (newsletters are great for this). Blogging obviously helps a lot. I went from getting no leads in the first six months of my business online to getting at least four or five good leads per month and that is transforming my business. Appreciate your input and help.

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