Start my own business? Could I do that?

Posted on: January 1st, 2015

Welcome to guest blogger, Caroline Law, who explains how she took the plunge and set up her own online video editing service.

I love coming up with ideas.  They can sometimes be a bit ridiculous, like having an elderberry farm or becoming a lumberjack for example. This one however started small.  I just wanted to spend more time with my daughter and continue in the job I already love. So I decided about a year ago to set up my own online video editing service that included myself as an editor and some of the great editors I’ve been lucky to get to know then lucky enough to get on the books.

Working as a television editor in Soho, the hours are long and you are expected to give everything up for the 6-8 week contract that you’re on.  Being a mum is amazing, but coming home to my already fast asleep daughter every night is heart breaking.  I want the best of both worlds.  I want to be able to do the job I love from home and I’m going to make every effort to get it. I’ve almost managed to take one of my ideas to fruition, it’s not been easy but it has already been rewarding.

The hard part:

Working a 10 hour day and commuting for 3 does not leave a great deal of downtime.  It means working on the train and staying up until past midnight most nights in order to try to get things done.  When the will is fading, I just give my sleeping daughter a kiss and imagine the day I’ll be putting her to bed myself.  I’ve found it essential to stay focused on my motivation or I would have given up.

In order to fund the project, I have to work relentlessly.  I do try to take the holidays off, or I would probably lose the plot.  When the money ran out I took a business loan with Let’s Do Business.  As well as providing funding, they have also assigned me to a marvellous mentor.  He gives me much needed guidance, a boot up the backside and he’s on my side.  In fact it seems money isn’t always too tight to mention.  As banks become more reluctant to lend, more imaginative ways of funding new business are becoming ever more popular, such as crowd funding.  So it’s worth shopping around.

This has been the trickiest one for me to maintain.  I am very close to launching my business properly and found that I had placed virtual obstacles in my way, because to be honest, I’m terrified of it failing.  With encouragement from my family and mentor though I’m  working around these obstacles because the only alternative is to not do it.  Not an attractive option to say the least.  It’s then just assigned to the crazy or fantastic ideas bin.  Not this time!

Things I’ve found useful:

Telling people
Unless you’ve got copyright issues, don’t keep it a secret. Initially, I jealously guarded my idea, wary that someone would steal it off me, leaving me as spectator, while someone else basks in the glory. Having come to my senses, I realized that it didn’t matter if other people wanted to provide the same service. If you are providing a quality, value for money service then you will succeed despite the competition. After that, I told anyone who would listen. I then found invaluable support.  To see someone who’s opinion you respect pause, take it in and then say “that’s a great idea” when your stamina might be waning is the best motivation. I found inspiration, they have expanded the ideas, given me exciting leads, introduced me to valuable markets and given me technical knowledge. In the absence of a boardroom, you need to touch base with people for brainstorming and bounce ideas in order to achieve your blue sky thinking (sorry).

Finding the right people
When choosing people to help me or even to do business with, I went on recommendations, PR, Google searches, Twitter but ultimately with gut instinct and personal interaction.  I chose people I felt I could trust with my ‘baby’.  My copywriter, branding and website designer and web developer were all chosen through recommendations and gut instinct.  They haven’t just given me products and services,  but also that all important encouragement and have added to the enjoyment of the whole experience.

Being a Solopreneur
I think of myself as many parts to the business with different job roles. I am head of IT, head of finance, head of marketing, an editor.  I try to give myself the space and time to be all the separate roles.

A friend was once at an art gallery and commenting of piece of modern art she said “I could have done that” an elderly gentleman approached her and said, “the difference is my dear, that you didn’t”.  It’s one thing having an idea, it is a whole other world, often a world of pain, often a lonely road, implementing it. But what if you didn’t do it? Even if it fails, just seeing it through to the end is a life adventure and if you’re a person with ideas it can often get frustrating to not go through to the final stage. Even if this doesn’t work. And it might not. I’ve enjoyed the journey and I might start planting elderberry trees.

Caroline Law is the Director of Cloud Edits Ltd, providing a cost effective and efficient way to edit video with a group of editors working remotely who love life and editing.
twitter: @CloudEditor

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