There is a lot to consider when you are starting out as an entrepreneur. I am often asked what I would tell myself if I could go back in time and give myself advice before starting my business. Here is what I would say based on the failures and successes that I have experienced so far.
1. Do Your Research
There are undoubtedly other business owners in your area that are doing what you would like to do or something similar. Take the time to research their methods, the market, and what they have done to be successful (or what has contributed to them not yet finding success).
2. Find a Mentor
Reaching out to others who have had a career path similar to the one that you would like to pave for yourself could result in finding a mentor. Having a mentor who you can learn from, ask questions, and be inspired by is a really beneficial step to take if you are becoming an entrepreneur. Most people who build an empire don’t do it alone. Even Oprah looks to someone for advice!
3. Get Legal
It is vital to learn the laws about business and licensing in your area. There can be differences between states, counties, and business types so it is best to seek out the facts rather than going along with what you may hear from someone else.
When it comes to businesses, taxes can get quite complicated. It is important to make sure early on that you have a great accountant to work with early on in the process of starting a business. I would highly suggest making a list of questions you have and sitting down with a CPA before you start your business so that you do everything correctly from day one.
There are a lot of options when it comes to banking and the benefits for business accounts vary greatly from bank to bank. Shop around to at least five different banks to see which one is the right fit for you. Be sure to let them know that you are considering opening a business account and you would like all the information they have on fees, benefits, and everything in between.
Every entrepreneur is different when it comes to a schedule that works efficiently. I have a friend who sleeps for four hours a night, has a different schedule every day, and is doing very well in her field. However, I require eight hours of sleep to work effeciently. I also seem to work best if I have 30 minutes in the morning to relax or meditate before I start work. I also need to schedule my afternoon workout into my day because if I don’t it won’t get done. Maybe you work best if you work out first thing in the morning or maybe you are much better at pitching ideas if you only hold meetings from the hours of 1-4. Experiment and find the best schedule for you and your business.
7. Fiscal Security
Before I opened my business in 2009, I spent about a year preparing for it. I studied my target market, observed my competition, and saved a lot of money. I worked two jobs during that time so that I could put away money to help transition into owning a business full time. Most businesses loose money during the first year so it imperative that you prepare yourself for that possibility.
8. Networking and Advertising
In most entrepreneurial careers, networking is beneficial. Learning to put yourself out there can connect you with others who can help you or even out you right in front of the people who you need to market to. With the internet and social media dominating the advertising field, it has become more and more important to have a personal brand that people can connect and relate to.
9. Get a Support System
For most people, becoming an entrepreneur is rewarding but difficult. Make it easier on yourself by surrounding yourself with positive, helpful, and honest people. It is important to have a support system that believes in you but isn’t afraid to tell you when you have taken a step in the wrong direction. This support group can be make up of family, friends, co-workers, or other entrepreneurs.
10. Believe in Yourself
Believe in yourself and know that you are capable of greatness. You have made it this far and you can actually do this. Put your best foot forward and get busy, Work hard, hustle, and don’t give up. When you have a bad day, a difficult client, or some other kind of setback, remember that you made it this far and your goals are well within your reach if you work hard and surround yourself with the right people. The road isn’t always easy for an entrepreneur but when we look back at the trail we blazed, we know the rough patches have only made us stronger.
Photo by Robert Messenger