So you’ve decided you want to be an entrepreneur, now what? What should be your first step to building your dream business? You may have decided you don’t want to work for an organization anymore or you may have been laid off or fired and you want to create your own job security. Either way, entrepreneurship may be the right path for you. But It can seem daunting when you first come to that decision.
We both were in that place several years ago and we know what it’s like. There are a lot of things to think about and it can be overwhelming. Today we are sharing the most important things for you to think about and consider. And we broke them down into three categories, dream, define, and do.
When starting out as an entrepreneur you need to have a vision. It is important to start with intention and write your vision and dreams down. Have a clear picture of why you want to do whatever you are setting out to do. You have to take a step back and look at the big picture.
Here are three questions you should ask yourself:
Where do you want to end up? What are some goals or milestones you want to achieve? There is never really an end point with entrepreneurship, this will keep evolving. But you need to have some things to reach for. Successful entrepreneurs stay hungry and are always looking to grow.
Where do you see yourself going? What do you want out of your business? This can change throughout your life phases as well.
If you could have any life that you want, what would you want it to look like? What are you hoping entrepreneurship can help you achieve. Is it freedom to make your own schedule or having more time with family or being in charge of your job security.
You don’t have to have everything all figured out on day one. But there are some high-level questions that you need to think about which will guide you through your first few weeks and months. These questions will help you define what it is you want to do and get a better sense of the direction you need to go.
What are some potential ideas that you can pursue? What are people asking you for, what are some of your strengths that people look to you to help them with. Make a list of all the ideas you have. You want to take risks, but within reason. Your risks should be calculated. Get creative. These ideas could be in the same area you’ve been working in for a long time, or it could be an entirely different area.
How long are you willing to give yourself to see some success? You should have a timeframe in mind of how long you are willing to try your idea out. Think about how much savings you have or how long you can go without making money while still being able to pay your bills. That way if you get to that marker and you haven’t gained any clients or sold any products, you know it may be time to try something else.
Do you have a backup plan? Hopefully your business will take off and grow in the timeframe you plan on, but it is always good to have a backup plan. Maybe you can go back to full time work, maybe your spouse can support the family while you grow the business, or if you are young maybe you can go back with your parents. Entrepreneurship is not a guaranteed thing and it doesn’t work for everyone. If you can, have a back up plan in mind just in case.
How much money do you have to sustain you? You have to know ahead of time how much you need to make month to month in order to live. How much do you need for rent or mortgage, car payments, kids, food, utilities, etc…How much money do you need to have set aside to cover these costs until you get up and running.
Who are some people you can reach out to? Is there anyone you can reach out to to be your mentor or coach. Is there a certain skill you need to learn to start your business? Reach out to others inside and outside your area of expertise for advice. Join some groups on social media. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Have the talk with whoever this decision will impact. If you have a spouse or a significant other it is important to talk things over with them to see how they feel about your vision and your plan. This might impact your parents if you need to lean on them for a while to get through the first few months. You shouldn’t ask your parents for permission, but keep them in the loop. If you have kids who this will impact you may want to share things with them as well.
These are the immediate actions you need to take when you decide you want to be an entrepreneur. We are giving you six action items, but you will have your own items to add to this list as well, depending on what industry or area you are going to be in.
Start setting up your business. Do you need an LLC, S Corp, a C Corp, etc…? Get a tax ID set up. Create a company letterhead. These items are the backbone of your business and you will need them in place before you reach out to customers.
Create your website. This is your storefront, so think about what you want to communicate to the world. It is crucial these days for every entrepreneur to have a really well designed website. You may not have this done on day one, but you have to start working towards it.
Let your network know. Reach out to the people you know to let them know you are starting your own business.
Identify the gaps. What are the things you don’t know how to do? Are you not great at marketing or do you get lost when trying to create a website. Identify the areas you need help in and reach out to others to assist with these areas. You may need to hire someone to cover them.
Paperwork. You need to set up a banking account. A tax ID. You may need to have a legal contract in place. Get all of your paperwork in order and ready to go.
Research and gather your information. Do your homework and research whatever you need to in order to be fully prepared to start on day one. You want to put yourself in a strong position so that you can succeed early on. Make sure you know your business inside and out.
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