While “experts” continue to speculate on the state of the Union and predict the future twists and turns of our economy, things are still pretty rough for many folks where I live. Jobs are around, but they’re scattered and most pay minimum wage or barely above that. A friend with two college degrees and 12 years service in the military was recently unemployed for over 8 months because he didn’t want to settle for minimum wage or factory work. It’s rough out there. If you’re in same boat, why not try your hand at starting your own business? Here are some tips to get you started.
Myths About Starting Your Own Business
1. You need a lot of money to start a business. FALSE! Depending on the type of business you choose, you may be able to get started with no upfront investment. Work with what you have and upgrade as your finances allow. You don’t always have to go into debt to start a business.
2. You don’t have what it takes to start and run your own business. FALSE! The majority of people have some set of profitable skills that can be turned into a business. If you’re crafty, sell handmade greeting cards and invitations. Got mad grammar skills? Try tutoring kids or editing term papers for college students. Love to paint? Offer your services to those who are remodeling or approach your local church about getting paid to paint the homes of elderly parishioners. Like to read? Write book reviews for a publishing company. Got a computer? Try out freelance work as a virtual assistant. Clean houses. Pull weeds. Type reports. Sell stuff on eBay. Find something you know how to do, then work on getting paid for doing it. There are many ways to earn more money.
3. I need to invest my time in looking for work, not starting a business. FALSE! You can still look for a day job while you work for yourself. You’ll be bringing in enough money to get by until a day job comes through, or you might just find you like being your own boss better. Freelance instead of going all out. Partner with others in a similar field to help balance your workload when your schedule needs a lighter load. It can be done.
4. I have health problems and can’t work a business. FALSE! If you have a sufficient IQ (i.e. if you’re reading this) you can work. I once had a patient whose body was so severely deformed, she could only move her head. She lived with severe pain every day and needed assistance to care for herself, but she still went to work everyday! She earned two college degrees online, and worked as a customer service rep with the help of a headset and motorized wheelchair. If she can work, you have no excuse. You don’t have to sit at home and feel useless.
How to Start a Business
While there is a wealth of information available about starting a business, my advice is to start small.
Look into the tax implications, government regulations, and safety considerations for your chosen field. Making sure your business is legal and vital. Next, learn as much as you can about your industry. Network with others, visit websites and blogs, and the local library. Find out what community resources are available to help you in starting and running your business. Lastly, learn about basic marketing. Marketing applies to nearly everything in life, and learning how to effectively present ideas, products, and services to the public is a must if your business is to succeed. Everything else can come later, as time and money allows.
Be sure to plan ahead with a vision statement, code of ethics, and a set of goals for your business – even if you’re just toying with the idea right now. These statements will help keep you on track when things get hectic or discouraging. Above all, don’t give up! Persistence will pay off and you’ll be investing your time in your own future instead of passing your laid-off hours with Jerry Springer or the couch potato crew.
What’s your business idea? What skills do you have that others would find useful or helpful?