Leaving a comfortable full-time job to go it alone was the “hardest thing” for Jonathan Cottrell, but four years down the line, he has no regrets and is excited for what the future holds.
Tell us about your business!
We’re a small PPC agency (called The Search Mechanics) that help manage Google/Bing and Facebook Ads for our clients, as well as supporting other digital agencies who don’t quite have the capacity to do so in-house.
What prompted you to go self-employed?
Having realised there was a need for PPC contracting/freelancing down here in Kent to support other agencies, and knowing a few personally that needed support, I decided to step away from my full-time job and go for it. My boss at the time said, “You’ll be back here in three months.” Funnily enough, he’s still using me for all his PPC clients to this day!
What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome when starting out?
Taking the leap to leave a comfortable job was honestly the hardest thing to do. Knowing I had a few agencies waiting for me to leave definitely spurred me on to get it done and move forward as a new business owner.
What do you like most about working for yourself? And what do you dislike?
I do really like the freedom, and being able to work from home is a big plus. However, I have very recently signed up to an office in the local town, to make me push the business harder. Working from home is great, but for me after a few years of doing it, I feel I need a bit of a kickstart, and working in a shared office will hopefully do this!
Chasing invoices can be a pain as well, but generally, most clients are pretty good at paying!
How has Crunch helped you during your self-employed journey so far?
A lot! The fact everything is in the one system, so I can invoice out, add expenses, record payments etc, which is really handy. It’s also great to see the running total of Corporation Tax and VAT owed, so I can assess cashflow across all aspects of the business.
What’s your biggest success story from your time being self-employed?
Just being four years in with a minimal amount of hiccups has been my success story to be fair. I never knew I’d be in this position five years ago, so am so glad to have made the leap of faith. We’ve just taken on a new team member as well to help build on the existing work, which is really positive.
What would be your top tip to anyone thinking about going self-employed?
If I can do it, anyone can! Just make sure you’ve got work lined up before you make the leap, instead of leaving employment, then having to go find work! Talk to other people that have gone self-employed, and ask them everything – try and learn from others mistakes and achievements!