Tag Archives: opportunity

The day to day reality of business start-up

5 May

Starting self-employment as a sole trader, whether it’s as a window cleaner or dog groomer is a long process but completely worth it! It can be hard to know what to expect in the early days so we have spoken to Ritchie, a self-employed car valeter to give us some tips.  


Raising funds:
Your new venture may require specific equipment or start-up essentials and you need to find a way to raise the funds. You might start off by selling unwanted personal goods (I’d recommend your games console as you’ll have less time to play it if you’re committed!) or by asking family and friends for support. There are always start-up loans and banks but I was pleasantly surprised by the help I received from those around me.

Gaining new custosprayingmers: No matter what kind of day you’re having or what mood you’re in you must remain polite and presentable with customers. Those first impressions are critical to spreading news of your business and building your customer base.  Never let a customer down by arriving late and remember there are always competitor’s ready to fill your place if you don’t give good service!

Constant commitment: When I’ve finished valeting a car I can’t just make my way down to the pub. I’ve got to think about completing my paper work, meeting new customers, replacing stock and cleaning my equipment. Then there are other duties that might not have been thought of such as visiting the bank, training, buying new equipment and keeping up with industry trends. Just stay on top of your tasks and you will see great reward.

Getting support: It’s ok to not know some aspects of business start-up and there is plenty of support available out there. There are sites such as the HMRC site or organisations like Opportunity Plus (www.opsw.co.uk) that can offer advice or guidance.

It may seem like a lot of work but I LOVE working for myself. I get to meet people from all walks of life, earn my own money and see my business grow. I’m constantly learning new skills and surprising myself without dreading Monday morning!

You get what you put in, persevere through the start-up phase and you will succeed!

Check out Ritchie’s website at http://www.carcareplus.co.uk/

Lauras work placement experience

26 Nov

Over the past 8 weeks we have had our work placement Laura with us in the office. On her last day we caught up with her for a quick chat to see how she found it…

 

Tell us a little about yourself

I have recently finished studying Forensic Science at Exeter College. I am currently taking a year out from Education to gain experience and work before (hopefully) going to University next September. When I’m not studying or working I enjoy geocaching and attend a local archery club.

If you want to know what Geocaching is check out the link – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocaching

Why did you decide to do a work placement?

I decided to do a work placement so that I could gain experience in a work environment to aid me in future job applications and with University. It’s a great chance to upgrade and improve on existing abilities which I wanted to do with my ICT and administrative skills.

What attracted you to Opportunity Plus?

I’m a very compassionate person so I liked the idea of working with other people and helping them into work or develop ideas into self-employment. I was also attracted to the fact it wasn’t a large overwhelming company and had a small close team.

Is there anything you have enjoyed about the placement?

Opportunity Day is a group session run for job seekers and I was invited to attend one to assist with the activities. It was definitely out of my comfort zone but actually when I was there I really enjoyed myself. It was great to be in a helpful environment and be helping others out. I also enjoyed organising the files in to an order as I like things to be organised!

What have you least enjoyed?

As the office is based centrally in town it can be a bit of a nightmare to drive there and park but as the Job Centre paid for my travel I can’t really complain. So over all it’s all been enjoyable!

What have your main tasks been?

I’ve had a variety of tasks during my time at Opportunity Plus. Often I was required to do job searches for customers and find appropriate positions for their needs. I would also research topics and collect data. I even found myself washing masks that had been used for a face painting activity, and buying items to practice furniture restoration. I wrote quiz questions and created a CV for an employability task. I was also given time to job search for myself and support with applications and interviews.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I really enjoyed my work experience here and everyone was really nice!

She will be joining us in the future as a volunteer and as I am writing this Laura is at an interview for her ideal job – Good Luck Laura! 

10 things to do in your extra hour this Autumn

23 Oct

It’s coming up to that time again when the clocks change and the atmosphere suddenly feels like autumn or winter. On Sunday the 25th October at 2am the clocks will ‘fall back’ to 1am. A lot of people will probably think this is the perfect time to get an extra hour in bed (if the children allow you to) but whether your employed, self-employed or looking for work there are some much more productive things you can be doing with your extra hour to get you ready for Monday and feeling great. Here at Opportunity Plus we’ve created our top ten things you can do with your time instead of staying in bed:

  • Learn how to say ‘Good Morning’ in 10 languagesIMG_1673
  • Update and re-write your CV
  • Create a playlist of motivational music
  • Carve a Halloween pumpkin
  • Make a list of your goals for the next 6 months
  • Clean out and organise your emails or social media
  • Do a SWOT analysis of yourself
  • Relax yourself with some yoga
  • Review and update your weeks to-do list
  • Make a pumpkin pie

However you spend it, enjoy your extra hour!

If you’re looking for help with employment or self employment please get in touch on info@opsw.co.uk. We won’t be here at 2am on Sunday but will reply as soon as we can.

Work Experience – FAQs

13 Apr

What are the benefits of doing a work placement?

Work placements are a great way to develop your skills, build confidence and gain valuable experience. They’re also a brilliant opportunity to try out different kinds of work and figure out the sort of career you might like to pursue.

Even though you aren’t getting paid, always remember that volunteering could potentially lead to a job. If you work hard, show enthusiasm and get to know people, you’ll be in a strong position if a paid opportunity comes up.


Will it cost me money?

Not necessarily. Many businesses will pay for your expenses such as food, travel and equipment.


What skills do I need?

Some placements may require particular skills but most of the time you just need to be enthusiastic about the organisation and willing to work hard. Most businesses will provide training at the beginning of your placement to help familiarise you with the organisation.


How do I find a work placement?

Many organisations will list work placements on their websites and there are also several websites which specifically advertise volunteer opportunities.

Remember that some businesses receive a lot of emails asking to do work placements so you’re more likely to be successful if you contact them over the phone or go in and see somebody in person.

http://www.do-it.org.uk/search/vc/3695
https://exetercvs.org.uk/volunteer
http://www.studentladder.co.uk/Work-Experience/work-experience.html
http://www.work-experience.org/
http://www.gothinkbig.co.uk/opportunities

If there’s a business you’d love to work for then it might be worth getting in touch with them and offering to work for free.


What if I don’t like the placement or something else comes up?

Remember that you aren’t getting paid so you can leave a placement whenever you like. However, it’s always a good idea to talk things through your supervisor first and give them a fair amount of notice so they can prepare for your departure.

Top Ten Tips for Working From Home

6 Jan

Working from home is a dream shared by many – the thought of that extra time in bed, no road rage, no waiting for the bus – it’s easy to see why! With the growth of the Internet it is becoming easier to work from home at least some of the time. But it’s not always everything it’s cracked up to be – whilst you might at first love the idea of extra time with your family, it can be hard to concentrate and achieve what you need to with children around. Here are our Top Ten Tips for making working from home work for you.

1 – Create a workspace for yourself. It doesn’t have to be an office, it might just be your kitchen table. Get everything you need ready and remove anything that’s not work related. If you’ve got family members at home, make sure they know that this is your work area and they shouldn’t disturb you there.

2 – Get dressed as if you were going to the office. Working in your pyjamas might sound like a dream come true, but it can be hard to get into the right mindset when you’re not dressed the part.

3 – Set aside proper time for work – don’t just squeeze in what you can when your baby is taking a nap – set yourself proper hours and stick to them. Make sure your family know your hours too and don’t disturb you when you are in work mode.

4 – Wash up before you start. Whether you’re working from your kitchen table or an office two floors away, when you’re struggling with your work, housework can suddenly look like a very attractive prospect!

5 – Take a lunch break. Set a proper time for your lunch break and use the time to relax and switch off from work. Try to get out for a walk if you can.

6 – See people! Working from home can get lonely so arrange to meet a friend for a coffee, go for a networking meeting, or go and meet a client as often as you can.

7 – Choose your hours to suit you and your customers. If you know you work best in the morning, get up early, work, and then enjoy your free time in the early evening. If you struggle to get up, start later and enjoy that lie in! But remember that you need to make sure that your hours fit with your customers’ needs.

8 – Be organised. Keep a To Do list and take great pleasure in crossing things off it when they’re done!

9 – Set yourself targets and reward yourself when you meet them. It might just be treating yourself to a biscuit once you’ve sent that tricky email, or it could be buying that jumper you’ve had your eye on for ages after you’ve made a big sale.

10 – Make the most of working from home! Remind yourself why it appealed to you in the first place and make sure you are still getting that benefit. So if you wanted more time with your family, make sure you are spending that time with your family and not just working longer hours. If you wanted lie ins, don’t start work before ten unless you have to. If you wanted to save on travel costs then make sure you’re not spending the same money driving around visiting customers all the time.

If you’d like some support creating your own flexible business opportunity that allows you to work from home, call us on 0800 043 2440.

Still struggling to make working from home work for you?  Find out if there is a Work Hub nearby.  Work Hubs offer desk and private office space on a regular or ad-hoc basis and often have great rates.  Being in a buzzing work environment can help give you the motivation and focus you need to achieve what you want to.  Visit www.workhubs.com for more information.

Can your business afford not to be involved in the weddings industry?

30 Sep

Despite most of us having to cut back on our expenditure over the last few years, the weddings industry has continued to boom.  You only get one (hopefully!) chance at a wedding, so most brides are determined to get it right, and aren’t willing to make too many sacrifices for their big day.  Most weddings will use several suppliers, from florists, to bridal boutiques, caterers and cake makers, to photographers and portaloo hire.  Some of these are obvious necessities for a wedding, but with growing creativity in weddings, there are opportunities for many not-so-obvious businesses to turn their hand to weddings.  Whatever your business sells, if there is a way to make it relevant to weddings, it could be your best business move yet.

I got married back in April, and we used a venue that provided a venue, a handful of chairs, and a cake knife.  The rest was up to us.  That meant we used a whole host of suppliers to make our day.  It was a logistical nightmare, but it was worth it for such a unique day.  I wholeheartedly recommend each and every one of the suppliers that we used, and you can see a list of them here.  Do take a look if you are planning any type of event.  (And again, I’m sorry if I have missed anyone of, I’m sure I have!)

A special mention goes out to The Very Vintage Hire Company Ltd.  Started just two years ago by a young single Mum, this is a business that has gone from strength to strength.  They now have a beautiful, inspirational, wonderful shop, The Attic, in the perfect setting of Exeter Quay, and hire props out to several events every single weekend.  The majority of events are weddings, though they have also dressed wedding fayres, summer balls, and various photoshoots.

Ten Tips for Working from Home

10 Dec

Working from home is a dream shared by many – the thought of that extra time in bed, no road rage, no waiting for the bus – it’s easy to see why!  With the growth of the Internet it is becoming easier to work from home at least some of the time.  But it’s not always everything it’s cracked up to be – whilst you might at first love the idea of extra time with your family, it can be hard to concentrate and achieve what you need to with children around.  Here are my Top Ten Tips for making working from home work for you.

1 – Create a workspace for yourself.  It doesn’t have to be an office, it might just be your kitchen table.  Get everything you need ready and remove anything that’s not work related.  If you’ve got family members at home, make sure they know that this is your work area and they shouldn’t disturb you there.

2 – Get dressed as if you were going to the office.  Working in your pyjamas might sound like a dream come true, but it can be hard to get into the right mindset when you’re not dressed the part.

3 – Set aside proper time for work – don’t just squeeze in what you can when your baby is taking a nap – set yourself proper hours and stick to them.  Make sure your family know your hours too and don’t disturb you when you are in work mode.

4 – Wash up before you start.  Whether you’re working from your kitchen table or an office two floors away, when you’re struggling with your work, housework can suddenly look like a very attractive prospect!

5 – Take a lunch break.  Set a proper time for your lunch break and use the time to relax and switch off from work.  Try to get out for a walk if you can.

6 – See people!  Working from home can get lonely so arrange to meet a friend for a coffee, go for a networking meeting, or go and meet a client as often as you can.

7 – Choose your hours to suit you and your customers.  If you know you work best in the morning, get up early, work, and then enjoy your free time in the early evening.  If you struggle to get up, start later and enjoy that lie in!  But remember that you need to make sure that your hours fit with your customers’ needs.

8 – Be organised.  Keep a To Do list and take great pleasure in crossing things off it when they’re done!

9 – Set yourself targets and reward yourself when you meet them.  It might just be treating yourself to a biscuit once you’ve sent that tricky email, or it could be buying that jumper you’ve had your eye on for ages after you’ve made a big sale.

10 – Make the most of working from home!  Remind yourself why it appealed to you in the first place and make sure you are still getting that benefit.  So if you wanted more time with your family, make sure you are spending that time with your family and not just working longer hours.  If you wanted lie ins, don’t start work before ten unless you have to.  If you wanted to save on travel costs then make sure you’re not spending the same money driving around visiting customers all the time.

If you’d like some support creating your own flexible business opportunity that allows you to work from home, call us on 0800 043 2440.