When I look back at the businesses I’ve started and consider the comments made by business owners I talked to while writing this book, one common theme is: most people who open businesses try, often by necessity, to make a living with their business from the start and are driven to spend whatever time it takes to get the business started. That’s not the only approach.
This is your business. You can choose how many hours a day or week you put into it. It doesn’t necessarily hold true that the more hours you put in, the faster it will grow and the sooner you will be making a living from the business.
You might be working at another job full-time or part-time. If so, make the decision when and how much time you’ll spend on your new business.
One consideration is the amount of time you choose to spend with your friends and family on a daily basis. If your family and friends are busy working through the week and have weekends free, consider a business that allows you to do that as well so you can enjoy activities when they’re available. Starting a business can enhance those relationships because people who are engaged in activities they find interesting are happier and more interesting.
Your family obligations are another determining factor. If you’re a caregiver for your parents or another family member, it doesn’t rule out starting your own business, but it may affect the number of hours you work, when you can work, and where you do your work.
Keep a journal of your progress. Take a few minutes each time you work at your new business to record the date and time, what you worked on and what you accomplished. At the end of each working session record your next steps. This simple practice will help focus your efforts.
For each of the businesses I’ve included a section entitled: ‘A Day in the Life of’ that lists what you’ll need to do on a routine basis. This can help you to understand the time commitment required to operate this business.
Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas.
She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them.
Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned.
Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company.
She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant.
Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.
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