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So. You have an amazing idea for a business and you’ve decided you want to make it happen. That’s awesome, but what’s the next step? It’s likely that you’ll need to find funding to get the wheels in motion. Here are a few of the options you might want to look into:

Use your own money

Sure, it’s a risk, but it can’t be that much of a risk if you have an amazing idea and you’re really confident that it’ll work. It’ll mean you stay completely in control of your business and there’s nobody who’s going to kneecap you because you owe them money (although if you’re borrowing money through legit means we’re sure there’s only minimal kneecapping anyway). It’s the kind of funding that provides the most freedom from other peoples’ opinions.

Ask your friends/family/connections

If you know somebody who has money and who’d be willing to chip in to support you on your way to living the dream, then let them help you. It can be awkward, but it’s worth it if it gets you where you want to be. If you have connections with people who are open to investing, exploit those. Starting a business is no time to start feeling shame, and lots of people would be very excited about funding a loved-one’s dream.

Grants

It can take a while to research all of the business grants available and whether your project fits their criteria. The application process can also be equally long and dull. However, if you can find a suitable grant and end up getting it you’ll be glad you took the time. After all, free money is the best kind of money.

Incubators

If you think you could benefit from more than just an injection of cash, an incubator could be the way to go. Depending on the company involved they could offer to provide office space, advice, help with marketing, and networking opportunities along with their financial offering. It does require giving up a degree of control, though, so it might not be the dream option for everybody.

Loans

Loans are a classic option and, while there’s some suggestion that they’re more difficult to get in today’s financial climate, if you have a well-thought-out business plan and a clear idea of what your revenue will look like, you still might be able to convince a bank to sit down with you and talk it over. The crucial thing to remember is that you’ll have to pay it back eventually, whether or not the business works out.

Nothing

If you’ve got a simple idea, you might not need to be put off by complicated methods of finding funding. Say you were launching a consultancy business: You could work from home, set up a simple website, and get networking. There doesn’t always need to be a big financial outlay, and as you being to bring money in you can reinvest it to help your business grow at a sustainable rate.

funding

It’s not necessarily hard to launch and grow a successful business, but it does take a lot of work to keep it running. If you’ve managed it, you’re already kind of our idol. Do you fancy guiding other people through the process? Sign up today to become an Expert with HowNow. And if you’re just at the beginning of your journey, keep an eye out for some advice from our experts.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: It’s awesome that you want to join HowNow as an Expert. We can’t get enough of the variety of awesome things to learn on the platform and we’re thrilled you want to add your expertise to the platform. Once you’ve signed up you’ll be ready to list your first class and, since we want you to be as successful as possible, we’ve put together a list of things to remember as you do that:

Basic Information

The title, tagline, categories, and image are the first things that users see when they browse – make sure that they are appealing and informative.

Title

Avoid using the words ‘class’ or ‘lesson’ in your title as all the activities available on HowNow are classes. It’s better to give a specific indication of the class, for example ‘Guitar for Beginners’.

Tagline

You don’t need to use hashtags or keywords here. This is just a short line to further explain your class, like the strapline on a film poster. Try and write something that’s different to the title and indicate what they would be aiming in the lesson. For example: Learn to strum your favourite tune.

Overview

Don’t just copy and paste! It’s fine to use material from your own website. Just make sure that it’s relevant. Bear in mind that new people will be seeing your listing, not just your followers and fans who know what you offer already. Write an overview as if you’re describing your class to someone who’s never tried your activity before. Will they understand or have you used lingo which will need explaining? Don’t try to be salesy, be specific. Members are more impressed finding out exactly what they will learn rather than vague ‘this is the best guitar class’ comments.

What do you need?

This is the section to list what your students will need to have in time for your class (for example, if you’re teaching cookery, what ingredients will they have to have?). Make sure you list this clearly so that you don’t end up with a group of confused and un-prepared students.

What to expect

You’ve given a general overview about yourself and your subject, but this is where you can get into the nitty-gritty of exactly what a student can expect to learn. It’s good to be detailed here so that your students will know that this is the class they want to take.

Categories

Only select categories that are relevant. It may be tempting to select all the categories in the hopes that this will increase your chances of people finding your class, But for people who are interested in your activity, the irrelevant categories will look weird on your listing page. It’s also very unlikely to convert members who were looking for something totally different but just happen to stumble upon your class in the wrong place.

Keywords

This is where you should list relevant words. The more specific you can be, the better. It will help people who are searching for your activity to find your class.

Pricing

As there are no costs for running your classes (venue, materials for users), users will expect sessions to be cheaper than if you were running the class in a physical location. As you start out, we recommend that you make your classes affordable to help get reviews and build your reputation within the HowNow community.

Images

The first thing that our members see when they browse for activities are the photos. If they see good quality photos of people doing the activity and having fun, they’ll be more likely to book. It’s better to not include your logo, text or a marketing material, as your business name will already show in the thumbnail. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of opportunity for users to find out about you on your listing page.

Reviews

As you’re getting started, it’s really important to startgetting reviews. The best way to do this is to share the news that you’re offering online classes to your mailing list and friends. Nicely ask them to try it out and leave reviews for you!

class

A lot of your class’ success will depend on it being listed well on the site. After all, that’s where you’ll be able to give enough information to convince somebody to try it out. By following these steps you’ll be giving yourself the best possible chance of succeeding on HowNow. And if you need more tips all you have to do is ask.

So you’ve decided to become an Expert and start teaching classes through HowNow. We can’t say we blame you. It’s a great idea to earn some extra income and to build a brand for yourself. But how do you get started? The great news is that we’ve kept it simple. You just fill in a form and you’re good to go. However, there are a few super-easy tips you should know about to make sure you maximise your success on HowNow.

Success Tip 1:

Make sure the contact details on your profile are complete and keep them up-to-date. Hosts with a fully-completed profile (photo, contact number, email address) look much more organised and reliable than those with empty spaces.

Success Tip 2:

Be punctual! If you know that you are hosting a class, make sure that you are online at least 10 minutes before to ensure that you have the correct equipment, that you’re happy with your set up, and that your camera and mic are working.

Success Tip 3:

Practice makes perfect. If this is the first time that you are running an online class it’s worth practising the structure of your class with friends and family to find what best works for your activity. Run a practise session, gather their feedback and act on it.

Success Tip 4:

Pick an appropriate profile image. If you are an individual without a brand (yet) and are just hosting under your name, it’s best to use a clear, professional-looking photo of you so that our members can get an idea of who they’ll be seeing on their screen on the day of their class.

Success Tip 5:

Having positive reviews is a great way to increase your bookings. When you get started, it could be a good idea to get in touch with your existing followers and announce that this is a new service that you are offering. Give them a discount and then you can get their reviews. If you don’t have existing followers, don’t be put off. You might just have to do a bit more marketing to bring people in in the first instance.

Success Tip 6:

Make sure to fill in your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter handles on your profile so that we and our members can follow you on social media. We will also be able to tag you in any marketing features that you are in.

Success Tip 7:

Make sure that you feel comfortable using the How Now platform. It’s important to know how to manage your bookings to avoid any issues on the day of your session. We will offer demos for using the platform but it’s always good to practice before your first session.

social media

We can’t wait to see all of the awesome stuff you have to share on HowNow!

So. You’ve decided you want to make a bit of extra money, and you’ve realised that HowNow is the way to do that. You love the idea of e-meeting people from all over the world online. You want to teach, and you can’t wait to start inspiring people. However, you’re not quite sure where to start.

So what should you teach?

For some people, the answer to that question will come straight away. We’re all very happy for you and your confidence in your skills and expertise. But if you’re not sure what you should be calling yourself an ‘expert’ in, that doesn’t mean you can’t get involved.

The first thing to mention is the fact that, as long as you’re open in your class description, you don’t have to have an actual qualification in the subject you want to teach. If we’re honest, we’re way more interested in real-life experience than certificates. So what are skills or specialist subjects? Maybe you can make a cake worthy of any Bake Off. Perhaps you live in a tourist hotspots, and can teach people from other countries what life is like in your city. You might be brilliant at Photoshop. All of those are valid. Try making a list of everything you know a lot about, and everything you like to do in your spare time. You’ll probably find there’s something there.

Some skills are less tangible. Maybe you work in an office all day and are fantastic at dealing with people from all walks of life. Guess what? That’s something lots of people would like to learn. Maybe you have a lot of self-confidence. Therefore, you might be confident enough to believe you could teach other people to feel the same way. Go for it. You could be a productivity ninja with wisdom to impart. We’ll be first in line. Ultimately, as long as you can plan a lesson around your skill, we’d love to have you on board.

In conclusion…

What we’re trying to say is that, with HowNow, the world is kind of your oyster. You don’t need a fancy teaching qualification to call yourself an Expert, and you don’t even have to be practicing what you preach full time. All you need is a plan, a spare hour of an evening or weekend, and something to share.

We’ll do the rest.

The awesome thing about freelance jobs is that there’s no application process. You don’t need to wait for permission to start calling yourself a writer, or a designer, or even that vaguest of titles – a consultant. It’s a perfect way to make some extra income, or to take the first step towards a new career. Of course, freelancing is a lot easier if you’ve actually got some money coming in. So where should you begin looking to find your first job?

Freelancer-specific websites

Sites like Freelancer and People Per Hour provide a place for freelancers to connect with potential customers. Generally, you create a listing that details the services you offer and the prices you expect, and clients will list what they’re looking for. It’s a great place to gather information about what’s out there, who your competition is, and what the going rate is. The downside is that if you’re newly self-employed you might find people with more experience competing for the same jobs.

Twitter

It might not be the first place you think of looking, but there are definitely job opportunities on Twitter. Learn any hashtags used in your specific industry and join the conversation. Even if you don’t get direct offers of work it’s still a great place to prove yourself to be the expect we know you are about your chosen industry.

Linkedin

Keep an eye out on Linkedin. You might have mutual connections who you could get in touch with if you know they might be looking for something or have worked with freelancers in the past. There’s also lots of people sharing lots of content. If you catch someone sharing an article about change and you could help them to make it a reality, speak up! You never know where it could lead.

Your local area

Sometimes it’s good to put the screens down for a while and take a trip around your local area. You might find local businesses who are in need of your help. They might not know that yet, but you’re a kick-ass freelancer who can promote yourself, so you’ll soon make them realise. Maybe there’s a local shop who need a website, or a restaurant having a PR crisis. Take advantage of your own local knowledge and use that to sell your services.

Advertising

If you’ve got a facebook page or the knowhow to launch a Google adwords campaign you could always bring people to you instead of approaching them. Make sure to keep it snappy, and try to target the kind of companies you’d really aspire to work with, so that if they do approach you you’re prepared to pitch them with passion.

freelancer 2

Of course, finding work is only one of the challenges to being a freelancer. For more in-depth help don’t forget to check out what’s on offer on HowNow.

It’s very easy to get stuck in a job these days. Life is expensive, especially in big cities, so once you have a good income, the temptation is to cling on for dear life and never let go. But what if you’re not doing what you want to be doing with your life? We’re not saying you should go back to whatever 8-year-old you wanted to do as a job, because we can’t all be underwater treasure hunters. But if you’re unhappy where you currently are, it’s definitely worth taking steps towards changing career.

What do you want to do?

This is a big question, but once you’ve got the answer, you can start figuring out how to get there. If you’re a banker now, but you secretly want to run your own business, what specifically would your business be? Would it be a product for which you’d need to find a manufacturer? If so, start looking. Fancy getting into marketing? Find out what you’d need to have. If it’s social media experience, get on Twitter. Once you break your dream down far enough you might find that changing career looks more and more achievable. Eventually it just becomes a case of ticking off one thing after the other. Investigate training, funding, registering as self-employed – whatever it takes.

What kind of company do you want to work for?

If you’re serious about changing career it’ll help you later on if you start your research now. Aiming to become a freelancer? Learn exactly how to target your service to your demographic. If you’re aiming to work for a certain kind of company or one of a certain size, it’s worth knowing what kind of salary you could be making or specifically what kind of qualifications you might be expected to have.

What do you need?

Depending on what type of business you’re looking to start you might be expected to register with a regulator, or you might need to have certain certifications in place (hello, health and safety). Make a list and start doing the work to get those sorted. If you’re not taking the self-employed route but you know your dream company looks for something specific, learn that thing.  If you can make yourself look perfect on paper you stand a much better chance of being able to show them just how perfect you are in real life.

What needs to change in your personal life?

What kind of money will you be making after changing career? If you have to take a pay cut, are you in a position where you could afford to do that? Will you be working more, or from home, or having to travel? Would it be worth moving house, or cutting down on other expenditures? Or, maybe you’ll be raking for relatively little work in your new venture, in which case we congratulate you and would like to know exactly what it is you do and how we can get involved.

Do you have a ‘Get Fucked’ Fund?

If you’re desperately unhappy in your current job and it’s going to take a while to get where you really want to be, don’t be put off. Make a list of what you need to do, and work at it. At the very least, you’ll be able to tell yourself you’re on the way to making a positive change. In the meantime, if it’s all getting too much, it’s worth putting together what’s commonly called a ‘get fucked fund’. Basically, have enough money saved that if you woke up one day and just couldn’t take it any more, you could get out. You’d be able to tell your boss to- well, the name had to come from somewhere, right?

changing career

What we’re trying to say with all of this is that if you’re looking to make a change, it’s never too late. If you want some more specific advice, keep an eye on HowNow for experts who can help you make a change.