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  • Cardiff Magician James Hawker

The MAGIC of starting your own business!

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I thought I would take a break from writing about magic or magician related issues for this blog! There will be no discussion about hiring a Cardiff wedding magician, or how to ensure your magician is a professional. Instead, I thought I would talk about setting up and running my own business, the challenges & rewards and offer some tips for others who are thinking of starting their own business. I want to make it clear that I am NOT an expert but I do feel I have some valid points of interest, hopefully they are of some use to you?

At a time when the cost of living is rising at a rate higher than pay, gainful employment seems limited, running your own business should be considered as a viable option.

I have always loved everything about magic! From performing magic for family and friends to travelling around the UK performing as a professional magician. Even though it is sometimes challenging, I absolutely love running my own business and so could you.

I see many people I know starting all kinds of amazing businesses and importantly, DOING VERY WELL! If you are passionate about something, or have a particular skill, I would really encourage you to explore what you could do with it, hopefully this blog helps get you started.

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Below are 3 key things to consider and know before you start your own business.

  1. Approach with a positive attitude.

Now I know that this seems like its both obvious and simple to understand but it really isn’t! On almost a daily basis, people talk to me about good business ideas they have had. They talk passionately about how it could and would work, what the business would mean to them and to the people buying the product or service and whilst doing this, they seem to be almost glowing with passion and creativity (this really isn’t me exaggerating). If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you have been on both sides of those conversations, having ideas of businesses of your own and listening to other people’s ideas.

When people speak to me about their ideas, I always respond with “why don’t you go for it” and the answer almost always starts with the same three words, "I CAN'T BECAUSE". Those dreaded three words or anything similar have killed so many great business ideas but worse than that, they have stopped people fulfilling potential, changing their lives and for some people, stopped them from being happy.

In my experience, you really need to shift that mindset to “I CAN BECAUSE”! When you look at how the business could work, you engage the barriers and obstacles along the way but approach them with the view to overcoming them. This is very different from starting by thinking of all the potential problems (most of which are easily overcome or will not even happen) and overwhelming yourself with reasons why you should not do it.

Personally, when I have an idea, I start by thinking of all the good things that could happen as a result. I begin to think about practically how it could work, rather than why it wouldn’t. At some point, you will face a problem that needs to be solved. Some of those problems need to be solved immediately to enable you to progress with your idea but I would argue that most don’t, and you can move on and come back to that problem at a later point in your planning.

I will often write down the ideas, list the things I will need to do, write costs and problems to be solved, but they are always “TO BE SOLVED”! Do all these problems get solved? No, they don’t, but that’s ok because not all ideas will work for various reasons. This does not mean that they cannot be solved in future when something changes, be it in your personal situation, technology gets better, etc etc. I am certain that going through the process regardless is extremely positive and that it makes you far more likely to succeed in your ventures in future.

Question for the reader – Has anything like this happened to you? Does anything in point one sound familiar?

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Risk does not have to mean you will lose your home! Risk does not have to mean you may not earn enough to pay your bills! Risk does not have to mean you cannot afford to live!

Of course, taking certain types of risk and high-level risks can result in massive losses and unfortunately for some people, the things highlighted above, but that does not have to be the case! The crucial thing to consider and remember is that not all business ventures require massive amount of risk, you do not have to start a business that requires a shop front for example (more on this later).

I wish to make clear that although you should be positive, I am not saying that you should not assess risk! You absolutely need to do this (and effectively), so you can make calculated and informed decisions. Risk should be taken very seriously, but there are ways to minimise risk and plenty of support to help you undertake the assessment of risk, by professionals who know what they are doing, and the best part is, much of that support is completely FREE!

“Small manageable risks”

I know (because I do this) you can take small, manageable risks that will not result in you ‘losing everything’! You could start a business with a small budget like £100. Could you lose it? Yes its possible, but if the worse was to happen and you eventually lost £100 (I would be gutted too) is it the end of the world?

You could start a small business whilst you are also working – this is a great way to gain experience and earn extra money safe in the knowledge that your paid employment wage can pay your bills. Is it easy? Its not overly difficult (see the positive approach in action), it the thing it will cost is time and you must decide if you have it to give. One of the good things about running your own business is that you get to decide how much time you dedicate to it. If you are thinking “I don’t have time because” refer to point one! I do not think there is anyone I know that simply does not have enough time! If you genuinely believe you don’t, I would love to hear about it.

Question for the reader - Be honest with yourself, if you really wanted to, could you free up a couple of hours once every other day? That may be all you need!

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3. Your business in 2019

My third point is how easy it is to set up a business. Where are you reading this right now? Chances are you could set up and run a business from exactly there of you wanted to! In fact, you can set up and effectively run a business from almost anywhere thanks to technology. To go one step further still, in your hand right now, is access to all the knowledge you need!! Don’t believe me? Consider the following; -

Need a website?

There is access to so many free website builders that allow you to build good-looking, effective websites with easy to use software. If you can drag and drop, you can do it. Depending on your needs, you can set up a live website for FREE!!

For free, easy to build websites - check out Wix & Square Space

If your business grows or you want something even better – check out Tantrwm.

Not sure how to do Social Media?

Having a good social media presence is very important. Do you know how to do it? If not, no need to worry, you can learn the basics easily. There are many apps that allow you to co-ordinate posting to multiple social media platforms at once and they will also tell you the best times to post.

Check out – Hootsuite! You link a couple of accounts completely free

If you would like a dedicated professional to handle this for you, I would highly recommend – Managed Social Media

If you would like to know more about blogging, how to do it, the importance of it or even have it managed, I would recommend Clair from UPWRITE

Where can I buy products?

If you have a smart phone or computer of any kind (excluding Commodore 64) you literally have access to the world’s markets in your hand. You easily and safely source products from Asian markets, American markets or indeed some great local products (which is my preferred method if possible). Chances are, you will have heard of EBAY, Gumtree etc but there is so much more!

Check out – Aliexpress, DHgate

I am literally scratching the surface of what is possible with business online. I would encourage you to think to be creative and explore what is possible, even on small initial budgets like £100.

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Image courtesy of 1st Class Weddings

Want/need some support?

Obviously this list is not exhaustive. I am certain that there are numerous other agencies and services that are available that I have not included, some are area/county specific, some are not. You may also be eligible for a range of grants to get you started too!

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