What’s a true joy in my life? I get to help others that are looking to start a business. In the past month, I have been approached by folks right out of college with no clue how to go about creating a successful business. For a second, it confused me. I have a two-year degree, and I suppose I just assumed a four-year degree would provide insight on how to create and run a business.
So, why not spread my knowledge, you wonder? Well, it has sparked my interest to pursue teaching at universities. Teaching the “how-to’s” and the “ins-and-outs” of being an entrepreneur. These people have reminded me of what I knew back when I started my ﬁrst business in 2001. I have been reminded of the challenges, heart aches and all the successes. This will be the ﬁrst entrepreneurial blog in a series, and now it’s time for me to ask you some questions. Below are four questions you must ask yourself before moving forward as an entrepreneur. I will highlight my experience after each.
1. Are you a self-starter, not needing others to stay motivated? Some people like the fact that they can go to work with a set amount of hours and leave the job and go play or have a family life. Some people may even need that boss-ﬁgure initiative in order to get themselves up and moving each morning. I know many people who have personalities like mine, however, they do not have the entrepreneurial spirit. These people choose to create a life ﬁlled with hobbies that change and grow to keep them inspired in life. I have chosen the entrepreneurial route. I do not have many hobbies… as I am always creating new things within the business(s).
2. How much are you willing to sacriﬁce to create your business? Hours and hours of blood, sweat and tears go into business startups. The ups and downs are an incredible roller coaster ride. You must have a support system that is in place to help you when you hit those downs, though. With my ﬁrst business, I created a “board”, consisting of four successful business owners. Their role was to remind me of my goal, being my end result. When I would get frustrated and want to jump ship, they would reiterate my vision. They would share their experience of being a business owner and their different different areas of expertise. They were very wise and so helpful to help me stay on course. I wanted to bail often. I was making six ﬁgures when I ventured out again onto my current business. Again, I had a coach, mentor, supportive husband and, again, a few close business owners that reminded me of my set goal. When I would feel a derailment – ie; I think I will go work as a Barrista or a dog walker – they would gently remind me: I could take the easy route, or I could buckle down and push through.
3. Are you willing to do the research? It is a proven fact that 80 percent of businesses will fail without a business plan. A business plan takes time and oodles of research. Crunching numbers, market analysis, putting it on paper. Within the business plan is the marketing plan, where you describe how you will market yourself to get your name out there. The plan creates the active steps needed to move forward from start up to ﬁve years down the road. The plan also discusses where you will get your initial funds/capital to start up and who you will hire to delegate duties that you cannot or will not do. For example, I am dyslexic. From day one of business ownership, I have always had a bookkeeper. I have paid her even when I was unable to pay myself.
4. Are you going to move forward? The pluses of being my own boss outweigh the negatives. For me, being an entrepreneur is the most incredible freedom I have ever known. One major freedom with my current business is the ability to travel all over the world and work from any location. I love, love, LOVE this part of my business. I was asked by Verizon to be a blog ambassador, so I carry with me my handy,complimentary Verizon Wireless Jetpack, so I get to pick up amazingly fast Internet service! This makes my life that much simpler!
**I received a complimentary device and data service from Verizon Wireless. No additional compensation was received, and there is no promise of a positive review. All opinions are my own.