We are closing in on what appears to be the BIGGEST shift in HISTORY when it comes to what we do for a living, how we impact our economy and of course, how we communicate with each other. For the first time in forever (Let it go now!) there are more options available than there has ever been before for people like you and me to make a living. And although having a j.o.b is still a decent, viable and totally respectable option, it isn't the only game in town anymore. For those of you who are VERY excited about this, read on!
Keep in mind that although self employment SOUNDS like the end all be all working by the beach sipping margaritas type thing, it is the FURTHEST from that. Frankly, who does that? In fact, when I go to the beach (which is rarely, mainly because I live in Arizona) there is usually zero reception (very annoying). So yes, self employment or being an entrepreneur is not necessarily going to be easy. BUT, it is definitely more doable now than ever and it doesn't have to cost you 1/2 million dollars either.
If the thought of starting a home business has ever crossed your mind, here are some things to think about prior to pulling a Jerry McGuire exit from your job:
1- Do you have self discipline and drive? Can you get shit done without someone telling you what has to be done? Most people who go for entrepreneurship come from having had a job for many years. This inevitably means you have a built in “employee mentality”. Meaning, you likely had a boss telling you what to do or giving you a list of things or providing you with some form of guidance. This sets you up to get used to waiting for someone else to give you direction. Even if you are an independent and self driven individual at work, it is human nature to still be waiting for direction. The shift to being an entrepreneur requires that you also shift your mindset and start taking charge of identifying WHAT needs to be done and then go do it. You are the boss. You give yourself permission. Just remember, if it doesn't get done, there is no one else to blame (usually). So, are you disciplined enough to assume this shift and level of discipline?
2- Are you financially ready? I mean this in two ways: do you have the funds you need to start the business you want to pursue (franchise, etc…)?, AND do you have the funds to get by while your business has a chance to take off and start generating money for you? Depending on the type of business you want to start, you might be able to keep your job in the meantime. I worked on my business on the side for many years while I still kept my job until I was ready to transition over. Also, starting the type of business I invested in cost me less than $600 and I was in profit the very same month (not a lot of profit, mind you, but profit). On the other hand, a franchise would be closer to $200K and up in terms of the up front investment amount.
3- Do you have the skills necessary? Sometimes these skills can be learned “on the go”. Or maybe you need to learn these ahead of time or get a certificate or something. I learned all my web design skills by teaching myself through the years and staying on top of new trends and such. I learned the leadership and online building skills to build my other business by going through the training provided by my mentors within the team I am a part of. Know what you will need but also don't be afraid to challenge yourself and jump in with both feet and learn as you go (unless your new business is as a traveling paramedic, in which case, you might want to be prepared :-)).
4- What type of business investment and daily routine do you want? Realtors can make a lot of money, but, do you want to spend your day showing homes all over? If you want to invest in property, do you want to manage tenants &/or do you have the capital to invest? Are you looking to open a franchise and if so, do you understand clearly the expected roi, investment amount and time frame of return? Or maybe you are a people person and network marketing/direct sales sounds appealing to you? I myself have made this particular business model work strictly by building my business online from home for many years. I now do this full time. Think about what you would want your day to look like.
5- Write down a business plan and work your way backwards in terms of financials. What will it take to make this amount of money per month? What does that translate in terms of sales? How long should it take? What are some critical success indicators? What circumstances will make you change course? How much time will you dedicate to this? Are these answers reasonable?
Here is an example:
I had a girlfriend once tell me she wanted to work from home by putting together scrapbooks for people and asked me what I thought about that.
So I asked her, ok, how much money do you wish to eventually be making? She said something like $45000 a year. I said ok, let's break that down to $3750/mo. Let's leave all taxes aside for the sake of illustrating this scenario.
Now, how much do you plan to charge each person to complete their scrapbook? Well, people are willing to pay around $85 for this type of service (that's pretty good!). Takes about 3-4 hours to complete one too.
So, based on this she would need to make some adjustments. Either in how much she charges per album, how long she works each day or how much she wants to make. OR, she could find leverage (people to do some of the work). Because $85/album would mean she would need like 44 customers to meet her goals. Even if she DOUBLED her cost, that's still a ton of customers to manage on her own per month doing such manual work.
My point here is to KNOW what you are getting into. What are your numbers? Do they make sense? Reverse engineer that goal and determine what it would take LITERALLY per day to reach that number. Are there enough hours in the day? Is the business sustainable in the long run? Can it be scaled up? (outsourcing, hire employees, etc…).
In my experience and success with my online business, I've found that LEVERAGE is the way to go. The internet is an incredible communication and marketing tool and we can do so much more than ever now from our computers. Meeting new people and making connections has never been easier. Building a solid residual business took a little time for me, but I did it and I have been able to show other people how to duplicate that success as well. It really is in who is guiding you and knowing the steps to take and the dips to avoid.
You can find leverage in other home based industries as well by learning to outsource so you can focus on what you do best. I am not the greatest at keeping books and keeping my appointment calendar nice and tidy so I leverage an operations assistant for that when it comes to my web design business. And well, with my social retail business, I am leveraging a team of social marketers, leaders and customers and WE all each do just a little bit so that everybody wins at the end of the day. Teamwork CAN make the dream work!
I encourage you to consider starting a home business today, even if part time. The potential tax advantages alone could make this really worthwhile as well. Also, keep in mind that time is going to go by whether you are doing anything or not. Today is a good a day as ever to consider this and start moving in that direction. Making the decision to build a business on the side part time a few years ago is what has allowed me to peace of mind today to transition into it when I was ready. Now I do this full time. Starting a home business doesn't always need to be hard and expensive. And it doesn't have to be full time either. I would be happy to share my business choices and success tips with you. And if you are so inclined, check out my book “The Awesome Factor: An Inspiring Guide for Embracing Your Greatness and Pursuing Your Dream Business“. It is available on Amazon and it will offer additional ideas not only on how to move forward but also WHY you should :-).