Entrepreneurship is a dream for many, but getting started can be difficult. What steps should you take? Is it possible to earn a reliable income? It is possible and it isn’t necessarily as difficult as you might think (though it will require hard work; that should go without saying). In the spirit of the new year, here are six simple steps to help you become your own boss in 2017.
1. Decide What’s Important to You
Are you seeking authority, autonomy, independence, financial freedom? Are you interested in taking up entrepreneurship so that you can express yourself creatively? Or have you simply learned all that there is to learn from Corporate America, and want to try running a business yourself? Before you start your own business and become your own boss, think long and hard about what your motivations and goals are. These, ultimately, will guide your path more than anything else.
2. Scrimp and Save
As a small business owner, the first two years can be particularly challenging. This is even more so for Year One, as you get your ducks in a row, run up expenses with little to no return on investment, and build up your clientele. If you plan on becoming your own boss in 2017, start saving up now (hopefully you already have a safety net built up in your savings account). Running a business can be expensive, but it’s also important to remember that you may be getting by on little income. If you haven’t yet canceled that $150-per-month cable package, now is the time. Every little bit helps.
3. Choose a Specialty
What is it that you’re good at? Are you a talented portrait or wedding photographer? Do you paint? Are you skilled in digital marketing or graphic design? Or perhaps you’re a talented craftsman or woman with unique skill sets. The odds are good that if you are considering entrepreneurship, you are considering doing so in a field you’re familiar with. Choose a specialty – something that you’re skilled at – and double down. Monetize this skill and position yourself as a commodity in your field. Over time, your reputation will precede you.
4. Do One Side Hustle at a Time
Earning a little bit of bread on the side will be essential during your first couple of years. This is something that many budding entrepreneurs fail to take into account – you can’t rely on your flagship business as your only source of income (at least not at first). You may be able to work as a freelancer as you get your business up and running (sites like Freelancer and Fiverr make doing so easy) or sell wares online, with e-commerce platforms like Ebay and Etsy. You may even consider direct sales with established companies like Amway. With a proven track record and ample support and training, you might find that you earn enough to quit your full-time job.
5. Set a Deadline for Yourself
Deadlines are important when starting your own business, as they serve as milestones and keep you in check. It’s easy to track your progress and measure your success when you have benchmarks to measure them against. Perhaps you set detailed milestones for yourself – file business incorporation paperwork, sign up for Employment Identification Number, etc. – or perhaps you keep them more open-ended. Whatever works best for you, the key is to set deadlines and stick to them.
Finally, follow through on your goals. As the saying goes, there’s only one way to eat a whale: one bite at a time. The challenge that lay in front of you may seem daunting. In fact, it may seem insurmountable. But like climbing Everest, you can’t focus on the summit at 30,000 feet. Instead, focus on the next step, and the one that comes after that. Remember, even mountain climbers know that the summit is reachable, if they just keep going – you must adopt the same mentality, and continue forward no matter what.
Become Your Own Boss This Year
In case you have any doubts, becoming your own boss is doable! It simply requires planning, hard work, financial sense, and a bit of luck and mental fortitude. So set forth and carve your own path. What better time to start than now?