- 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.
None of the steps to starting a business is ‘hard’. They might require knowledge you don’t have. They might require a skill you’ve never developed, but with the availability of information today, you can learn to do about anything. Surf the Internet, read a book, take a class, and practice until you master the new skill.
You can make it easier by taking the time to develop a business plan that includes every step necessary to start your business. The more thought and effort you put into it, the more you will be focused and the fewer unpleasant surprises you’ll have as you start your business.
Once you’ve written the plan, assign an order to the steps, estimate the time it’s going to take for each one and make a commitment to yourself for when you’re going to complete that step.
You can gain confidence and learn valuable information by taking a part-time job working in a business that’s similar to the one you want to start. If it’s a small business where you take the position, be upfront with the business owner. If you can determine ways to collaborate rather than compete, you’ll both benefit from the experience.
The myth that starting a business is hard is just that, a myth.
In the early 2000’s, Daniel Burrus, the author of Technotrends (Burrus, 1993) was a guest on my radio show, The Executive Toolbox. As I got to know him during the pre-interview process, I realized he was one of the happiest people I’d ever met. I asked him to what he attributed his deep sense of contentment and his answer was, “I figured out that the way to be happy is to find your passion and wrap a career around it.”
There are those who are happy working in businesses owned by others. They want to limit the time they put into ‘work’ so there’s time for their other passions. There’s nothing wrong with that at all if they can find work that satisfies that criteria.
Then there are those for whom the drum of their entrepreneurial spirit beats loudly. They can’t really afford to quit their jobs (yet), or maybe they can, but don’t want to invest a bundle until they’re sure, so prefer to move cautiously down the path of business ownership.
If that’s you, I don’t think it’s difficult to ‘find your passion’, but in case you haven’t landed on anything specific, there are 60 businesses outlined in my book, $1,000 Start-Ups. For each of the businesses, I provide ideas on how to make money from that business, what you need to do to get it started, how to market the business, additional resources I’ve found, and sage advice from research and from those who are now in or have been in that business.
You might not find your perfect business within these pages, but it is my sincere hope you’ll find something of interest.
Small businesses and the success of those businesses are essential for our economy and a game changer for anyone who starts and operates one. Starting a business can be the answer if:
- You’re unemployed Even with our economic recovery there are still, as of this writing, 9.5 million people in the United States who are unemployed – a third for more than 27 weeks.
- You plan to work after retirement. Seven in ten Americans ages 45-74 say they plan to work in retirement according to the AARP Bulletin, July-August 2014 (www.aarp.org/bulletin).
- You’ve always wanted to start your own business. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, one in four adults, ages 44-70 are interested in becoming entrepreneurs.
- You don’t have enough saved to retire. More than 50% of people who are of retirement age have less than $10,000 in savings, according to Mitchell Schnurman in The Dallas Morning News (www.dallasnews.com).
- You’re tired of working for other people and want to work for yourself.
Starting a business puts you in the driver’s seat and in control of your future.
- It limits your financial exposure while you decide if you really want to be in that business.
- It forces you to go through the whole cycle and get to running the business, or as I call it, ‘Rinse and Repeat’ before you invest additional time and money.
- It allows you to learn and understand every aspect of your business since you can’t afford to hire anyone else, except on a limited basis, and then only for advice.
- It teaches you to manage both your finances and your time, as you have to either keep your day job, take a part-time job, or live off your savings or retirement to get your business started.
- You might only have $1,000 to start a business … or you might not even have that much. (If that’s the case, see the Debunking the Myths section in $1,000 Start-Ups for ideas to solve that.)