Running A Web Design Business From Home

I’ve been following Rob Cubbon for some time now. I can’t remember how I came across him, it might have been from stumbling across the first edition of this book on Kindle. What I like about him is that he writes very honestly about what he’s doing and comes across as a real person who genuinely wants to help others.

I wish I’d had a copy of this book when we were first starting out. “Running a Web Design Business From Home” was exactly what we were doing to start with and we really would have benefited from his guide. It feels in some ways that we’ve had a similar experience – starting out in our spare time and building up to the point of being able to quit our jobs and concentrate on the business full time. But, Rob has found a way to make passive income as well as from actively working on websites, which is really something to aspire to.

This book is a really easy, enjoyable read, packed with brilliant advice. There’s the occasional thing I don’t completely agree with, but on the whole I think this is a really solid book. What I like about it is that Rob is really positive and encouraging – if I hadn’t already set up a business, this would give me the confidence to give it a go. I kind of feel like I want to work through the book and copy everything that Rob’s done. And then take him out for a pint to say thank you.

Actually, one thing that I’ve really taken away from this (apart from inspiration with regards to passive income) is that there is a different mindset to being freelance and running a business. It’s actually quite important and something worth reminding myself about every now and then.

If you’re thinking of setting up your own web design business, or are working freelance but would like to not be so reliant on the hours you work bringing in money, or, like me, are already running a web design business but feel you need a bit of inspiration – go get yourself a copy of this book. It’s really worth it.

Rating: ★★★★★

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The Accidental Entrepreneur’s Handbook

There’s a lot about The Accidental Entrepreneur’s Handbook by Iain Scott which resonated with me. In particular, Iain mentions a few times about bad experiences with ‘business advisors’. You know, when you go to a business advisor to get some advice on how to set up/run your business and instead they tell you you should be something else entirely (in Iain’s case it was “don’t give up your secure job”). Yes! This is exactly what we found in the early days of running our business. To be fair we also met some smashing advisors who were very encouraging, but one crushing experience was with a Business Link advisor who told us that we should go and work for someone else instead. Really? Is that supposed to boost our confidence and help us get our business on the right track? No! Luckily we didn’t pay any attention to the pillock and ten years later our business is going strong.

It was really refreshing to read of someone else who has had similar experiences and had the confidence to carry on regardless.

I also liked Iain’s attitude that you don’t have to be a born entrepreneur, that there are many reasons why you might set up your own business and everyone is capable of learning how to do it. In fact I think this is the real strength of the book – making your realise that you’re not the only one who feels the way you do and giving you a confidence boost to give it a go. Raargh!

So, if you’re thinking of starting your own business (or are already running one but want a boost) then this is a great book for helping you with your confidence. Don’t however fall into the trap of thinking it’s a how-to guide on setting up a business, as this really isn’t what it’s about. Think of it as a pep-talk rather than a how-to and you’ll be on the right track.

In fact, I’ve marked down my rating on this a little because even though I loved the idea of an Enterprise Agony Uncle I found the explanations more confusing that helpful (sorry Iain). I’m afraid we’re going to have to agree to disagree on changing ‘margin’ to ‘contribution’ – that makes even less sense to me than margin. But the concept of an agony uncle is brilliant!

Rating: ★★★½☆

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The Insider’s Guide to Ecommerce

I was interested to get a copy of this book. I thought it would give me a look at setting up an ecommerce business from the point of view of a business owner, sildenafil rather than the technical (ok I admit it – geeky) side that I’m used to. It also sounded like it would be an easy read and something that could be dipped in and out of. I was mistaken.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there is a lot of sound advice in the book. But I found the tip after tip after tip approach incredibly hard going and at times pretty soul destroying. It felt like I was being told ‘do this, do that, don’t do this, do that’ without enough detail to know how to apply the advice. I know a lot of books could be accused of containing too much fluff, but trust me – there’s a definite place in the world for fluff. Strip out all the fluff and you find yourself in a very boring place, and one in which your points fall completely flat.

Sorry, I tried, but I really didn’t enjoy this one. My requirements for a brilliant business book include it being a pleasure to read and inspiring – this fails on both counts for me.

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Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Hope Won’t Pay the Wages

Review by Colette Lowe, unhealthy ChewPR

I’ve read my fair share of business books, troche some useful, some terrible. But out of them all I feel I have learnt an awful lot from Hope Won’t Pay the Wages by Andrew R Miller. It is a one-off you must read. It provides an insight into the world of business failure from entrepreneurs who have experienced just that. This isn’t about doom and gloom, on the contrary it’s an optimistic read that illustrates there is a lot to be learnt from failure.

If you ever wondered what the dark-side might be like then read this book. By dark side I mean business failure! That no-go area of discussion when you set up a business, that taboo subject that’s swept under the carpet! The brilliant thing about this book is that it’s based on fact from the entrepreneurs who experienced business failure. It’s an honest, and no messing account of how these entrepreneurs rode that emotional rollercoaster and came through it with bigger and better businesses.

Of course businesses are never set up to fail but the book really does alert your attention to those little things that could seriously compromise the direction your business goes in.

To learn more about why it’s an essential read for anyone in business or thinking of starting a business check out this website:

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Rating: ★★★★★

How to Start a Business from Scratch – an insider’s guide

I’ve had my ups and downs with How to Start a Business from Scratch by Stewart Jacobs. I’ve had moments of “that’s a good point, viagra sale must remember that” and moments of utter bewilderment. My verdict is that the book has definite value … but it could definitely do with work in certain areas.

Shall I start with the good stuff or the bad stuff? Let’s start with the negatives so that I can end on a positive note.

One of the things that I found astounding is that there are practically no examples used throughout the book. Lots of statements of fact but no scenarios to back them up. A simple example is that he mentions you should get a domain name but doesn’t give an example of what a domain name is. I say “practically none” because there are a couple of instances that I can think of where the author mentions a couple of example businesses. Examples, real life or otherwise, would have helped with my understanding of the points made and with engaging me with the content of the book. As it was the style was easy but unexciting.

One area which I felt was strong (which I’ll touch on below) was financial information – in this case some example calculations were given (yay for examples!) but the figures were given as percentages which I found difficult to get my head round. Some made-up figures would have been much easier to grasp I think.

To round up the negatives, I’d say the book is more theoretical than practical, and one of the things I particularly look for in a business book is practical application.

That being said it does (as I mentioned above) have value. The author gives an overview of all the areas you need to consider when setting up a business. It might not give you all the detail you need but it is a good overall guide. What’s more the author has the courage to cover the less exciting areas of setting up and running a business. Although one of my criticisms is that the book is unexciting, the flip side of this is that it isn’t afraid to mention the areas (such as cash flow forecasts) that are less sexy. This is something to look out for in other startup books I think – I do like a book that is inspirational but do some of them run the risk of sexing it up a bit too much and missing some important info?

In particular I was particularly keen on the coverage of financial management. I picked up on this because it’s an area that I need to do some more work on myself. When talking about finances for startups it’s easy to get caught up in the ins and outs of bookkeeping – important but what about monitoring your finances so that you know exactly where your business is at? That’s what this book does well – the advice is to use a bookkeeper for the day-to-day bookkeeping but to have a system in place to oversee and monitor the business finances. Some of the techniques mentioned are exactly what I’ve been looking for (and haven’t found recommended elsewhere in other general business books) so I’ll definitely be going back over them and seeing how I can adopt them … using real figures of course not just percentages.

How to Start a Business from Scratch is not an in depth guide to starting a business but it does cover a lot of ground. You may find yourself crying out for more detail to clarify what the author means in certain areas, but if you use the book as a guide to what you need to cover you can fill in the detail from elsewhere.

So, not a particularly inspiring book but one which is worth keeping on your shelf as a reference.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Brilliant Start-Up

Brilliant Start-Up by Caspian WoodsNow here’s a book to get your entrepreneurial juices flowing: Brilliant Start-Up: How to Set Up and Run a Brilliant Business by Caspian Woods. First published last year I was delighted to find it in the online catalogue of our library system and amazed to find a copy actually at our local library, viagra buy so went skipping round to borrow it.

The book takes you through the stages of setting up and running a business. It is an inspiring mix of practical information and entertaining writing style. If you’re toying with the idea of setting up a business then this is definitely the book for you. Our business has been going for a few years now but even though some of the book was covering old ground I still found it an interesting read, so I would say that it’s not necessarily just for start-ups. It’s given me a new perspective on parts of our business and I’ve set myself some homework to follow up on some ideas.

The only criticism I would have is the bias towards sales rather than marketing as a whole. There’s a whole chapter which is basically on telesales way before the whole marketing concept is covered, which I found offputting. However, the author began the book with explaining that it would be opinionated and this is an example of that. I can see the point he’s trying to make, I just don’t necessarily agree with it.

My previous book review was, I said, not one for lifting your motivation. This book is exactly that – whether you’re thinking of starting up a business, are in the process of doing so, or (like me) have been running a business for a few years, this book could provide you with the inspiration that you need.

Rating: ★★★★½

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Preparing a Winning Business Plan

Preparing a Winning Business Plan by Matthew RecordPreparing a Winning Business Plan: How to Win the Attention of Investors and Stakeholders by Matthew Record isn’t going to go on my list of ‘inspirational’ business books but it is crammed full of highly practical information. If you are about to go through the process of writing a business plan then you wouldn’t go far wrong in using this book as a guide. It’s not a read from cover-to-cover book, viagra sale it’s a bit too dry for that, malady but it is a good choice for dipping into for specific information.

The book takes you step-by-step through the different sections of a business plan, explaining the information you need to compile and giving information about using resources. Each chapter also includes scenarios of different people setting up in business, which helps lift the dryness of the book a bit. However, I did feel that they could have been a bit more directly related to the subject matter of the chapter just covered to see how the advice could be practically applied.

The copy I have is the fourth edition, published in 2003, and it is therefore surprising that resources mentioned give postal addresses but not website details. If there is a more recent edition available I would hope that this has been rectified.

Overall a good information resource to have on your bookshelf but not a book to dip into when your motivation needs a lift.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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Start Your Business Week by Week

Start Your Business Week by Week by Steve Parks
How does a book that takes you step by step through the process of setting up a business sound? How about an active online community to offer support along the way sound? Pretty good, purchase eh?

Start Your Business Week by Week by Steve Parks does exactly that. Not only is the book a practical guide to setting up your business, cialis usa presented in bite-sized chunks so that you don’t get too overwhelmed with information, but there is a fantastic website that you can use to log your progress and interact with other people in exactly the same situation as you.

Can you tell that this is one of my favourite business startup books?

What I really like about this book is the way it’s split into weeks, giving you specific tasks to do each week. By following the book you work through the process of setting up your business and writing the all-important business plan. It’s a very easy read and includes quotes from successful entrepreneurs along the way to keep you inspired.

The companion website, Flying Startups, is a great place to hang out. You can keep a log (Pilot’s Log) of your progress and ask for advice on the forums. If you need a bit of boost this is just the place to come – keeping track of what everyone else is up to can work wonders for your motivation.

Rating: ★★★★★

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