Freedom is the one thing that seems to be synonymous with entrepreneurship. Free to make your own decisions and to be your own boss. Free to spend more time doing work you love and free to create your own schedule. Many people dream of owning their own business, but is it really all that glamorous?
Becoming a successful entrepreneur doesn’t happen overnight and it certainly isn’t an easy journey. And what about that change in lifestyle you were looking for? It may not happen if you don’t take the time to set your business up the right way.
Look Into The Future
What do you see? Is it a big house in a nice neighborhood with three kids and a dog; or is it a backpacking trip spent traveling to different countries and meeting new faces? Either way, start your business with your end goal in mind.
The clearer you can envision your future, the easier it will be to create a business that takes you there and allows for the type of growth your goals require.
Decide and Delegate
Do your research. As an entrepreneur you need to have your eye on every piece of your business. Know what it takes to keep your business functioning and that includes everything from finances to web design to marketing.
Don’t get overwhelmed – this is the fun part!
Now, decide what you are going to do and what you are going to outsource. Maybe you love dealing with customers and handling all of the marketing efforts. Spend your time doing what makes the most sense and leave the web design and paperwork for someone else.
This may sound impossible when you are starting out from scratch with no money in the bank but take it one step at a time. Don’t hire someone until you absolutely need them so you don’t waste a single penny.
Time is Money
Think about how productive you will be when you are out there making money for your company instead of spending time behind a desk trying to figure out whether you should register as an LLC or a Sole Proprietorship.
And you don’t need to hire a fancy lawyer either, try a service like Rocket Lawyer (which I current use and recommend with my affiliate link). These types of sites aren’t the best for complex legal issues but for simple legal business requirements they work great. Not to mention, it feels good to take some of the pressure off of yourself.
Know Your Money-Maker
This is so vitally important, yet so many entrepreneurs skip this step entirely.
KNOW HOW YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE MONEY.
Don’t just start with a brilliant idea and presume it will work simply because it’s pure genius and there’s a magical open opportunity in the market. Figure out exactly where your profit machine is going to be. If you are a services business, know exactly what services you are going to offer, the amount of time it will take you to realistically deliver on each service, and how much you are going to charge.
This way, before you even start, you can see your profit margins and decide which of your services will work best to grow your business.
If you offer products, know what the cost of production is and know which will give you the best return on investment. Thinking all of this through is going to force you to be realistic so you don’t jump in over your head.
Time management is key to success in a startup because in the beginning stages, time is just as much of a commodity as money. If you’ve ever worked a 9-5 job you can probably agree that there were many occasions when you wish the days would go by faster so you could head home and relax. When you run your own business the opposite is usually true. You constantly wish for longer days so you can get everything done while still making time for friends and family.
In the beginning, you will almost always need more hours than there are in the day to get everything done, but it doesn’t have to stay that way forever. Planning ahead so that as your business starts to take shape and turn a profit you can enjoy what you have created by taking some time off here and there without letting all of your hard work fall apart will help you find this balance.
If you create a strong foundation by developing frameworks and timelines for each of your action items and goals, your business will scale smoothly and with less hassle on your part. Don’t let yourself slave away doing unnecessary work because you didn’t take the time to find the most productive route.
Don’t Miss Out
When an opportunity to comes along to spend some quality time with the people who support and love you – don’t miss out. I know it’s hard when you’ve been working for so long and you’re about to hit a major victory – but stop yourself. Don’t let little opportunities like this slip away because you don’t realize how important they are until it’s too late.
The people you surround yourself with are so important to your success and you need to keep them in your lives no matter how time consuming your business has become. You’d be surprised how refreshing it is to step away from what you’re working on and take some time to think about something new and different. You will resume work with a smile and a new frame of mind.
Excuses are for losers. Don’t ever think you can’t do something because of someone else. And if you are holding yourself back; well then give yourself a pep talk or find a business coach (like me) who can help you realize your true potential and lead you in the right direction.
It’s Not Easy, But…
Running your own business isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to consume your life and keep you from enjoying all the other things you love to do. There will be times when you spend what seems like days without sleep, trying to get ready for your latest product launch or a major client deliverable. However, with proper planning there will be times when you can sit back and relax knowing that you created a profitable business and an amazing lifestyle in the process.
What tips do you have for new entrepreneurs? Is there anything you wish you knew before starting out?