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How To Run a Part-Time Business

How To Run a Part-Time Business

You’re working fulltime but you have a growing unease about your job security. So what would you fall back on just supposing a redundancy notice were to slip through your letterbox?

It’s a question for which nearly a million people in the ULK already have an answer - they have part-time businesses which many hope could be converted into fulltime jobs if the need arose.

As a result, the UK part-time business economy is now worth at least £80 billion according to government figures, and is likely to grow at least ten per cent this year.

So what part-time businesses are the most successful? A Manchester Business School study has shown that they range from eBay trading, gardening and landscaping to cleaning-contracting, and computer skills, mentoring to meal delivery, and to plumbing and central heating servicing.

But whatever you’re planning, remember that even part-time businesses must register as self-employed and must submit yearly accounts and tax returns

So here are some pointers to a successful part-time business:

### Budget
Decide how much you can afford to subsidise your part-time business and stick to that figure. If it needs a lot more capital have a careful look at potential profitability. It just might not be worth all that effort.

### Business plan
However small your project you should produce a comprehensive plan taking in possible markets, production, promotion, finance and distribution.

###Build a reputation
Focus on offering a good service. Stick to deadlines and getting orders out on time. Behave like a fulltime professional or your customers will think you’re just a hobby-business.

### Organise your time
but be flexible. Don’t set unrealistic targets. Keep a sense of proportion and don’t habitually overwork. Don’t be afraid to charge what you are worth even if you’re a part-timer. Network like mad to bring in new business,

### Don’t Moonlight
If you also have a fulltime job, keep your part-time venture separate and don’t moonlight in the boss’s time or use the company’s facilities and equipment. Mention to your employers that you have a sideline. Unless you are in direct competition or it infringes your contract, they usually won’t mind.

**Success story**... Richard Taylor has turned a lifelong interest in stamps into a lucrative part-time online business from his home near Cardiff. He has customers world-wide and hopes to go fullrime next year.

**Success story**... London language school teacher Roger Bowmer runs a part-time business delivering language lessons over the phone. “My clients appreciate their Chinese lessons from the comfort of their armchairs,” he says. “And we can fix a time that suits us both.”

Success story… Making model aircraft was Devon council worker Jim Graveney’s passion for 20 years.  Now his working models of WW2 German and Allied fighter planes, made in a garden workshop, are in demand from enthusiasts in Europe, the US and the UK.

“I have £7,000 worth of orders and am having to turn work away,” he says.”I’m doing something I love - and am getting paid for it!”

A word of warning: “However hard you expect a part-time business to be, it will probably be two or three times harder,” says Ed Mills, boss on an online wine company that started off as a part-time venture.

For Ed it was well worth the effort - the business now has a turnover of more than £500,000.

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