There was an interesting article in 2013 from Steven Pressfield called “Poof Goes the Middle Class”. It is just as applicable today given our Covid experiences and “The Great Resignation” occurring in many industries. Here is an interesting excerpt. “People are becoming entrepreneurs, the mind-set of the employee is vanishing like the factory where it was born. It has to. We’ll all die if we wait for some force outside ourselves- business or government- to bring us jobs or teach us who we are or how we ought to live. We have to invent our own ways, and that’s just what we are doing.”
That really got me thinking. I’ve counseled many people on taking the plunge into entrepreneurship as we review their financial situation. Not all of us are looking to leave our steady paycheck but it always pays to keep our options open. Here are some practical steps to exploring going out on your own.
- What is your passion? That is really the driver. Get a book entitled, “What Color is Your Parachute” by Richard Bolles and begin investigating your strengths, skills, and abilities. Don’t make assumptions that you have nothing to offer as a business owner. Read about what you love…is anyone else doing it? How can you bring a unique perspective to it?
- What is your unique financial personality? Your personality drives so many of your decisions and is a large driver in how you would manage your business. Given your style, what are your strengths and weaknesses? Who else could you bring around you, that is a different style, that could help you in this endeavor?
- ASK- Go to potential customers first and make sure that there is a need to fill. Take it from my early mistake- creating something that you hope will fill a need is a recipe for disaster. Go to ten potential clients/customers and see if your idea both fills a need AND is unique. If you get a positive response, you are on the right track.
- Start on the side- Don’t quit your day job. Go to Score.org on putting some meat behind your plans. Build contacts and test drive your new idea. Don’t be in conflict with your current job… your current employer deserves better than that. But, taking your free time to create this on your own is a great way to get started.
- Build up some savings. You will need a runway. Planning is key. Luke said it best. “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” Set up a business plan, reduce expenses, and set goals for yourself. ie, “In one year, I want my business to be making at least 50% of my expenses and have 6 months of business and personal expenses in the bank before taking the plunge.” Remember- if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.
- Build family support- If you have a family, make sure your spouse and kids are on board with you. This is an important step and requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice… especially if you are doing it as a side business and testing the waters.
- Build a very solid contact base- this is where your business will come from at the onset. Build credibility, a good reputation and fill a need.
If you are looking at considering going out on your own, I’d enjoy hearing from you about some of your own personal excitement and challenges.