Many of us dream of owning our own businesses, and of the freedom that might entail. No matter what stage of your career you’re in, it’s never too late if you’re willing to make a serious commitment and can afford potential financial instability for the first few years of owning your own business, it’s never truly too late. Before you make the leap, consider the following tips:
Identify your passion
Realistically, owning your own business will involve a huge amount of hard work, and nothing will cause burnout faster than having to work at a business that’s doesn’t interest you, so it’s important to plan ahead and choose a business idea that you’ll still enjoy five or ten years down the track.
What makes you feel alive? Think about what you’ve enjoyed throughout your life. Perhaps you’ve always loved making your own clothes, in which case you might like to set up a small clothing business (whether it’s online or in a brick-and-mortar store), or perhaps you’ve always liked the idea of serving food or coffee to people, in which case running a café or restaurant may be ideal for you.
If you decide to go the restaurant route, why not invest in a used shipping container to house your new establishment, in the form of a mobile kitchen or a food truck? Restaurants are notorious for being expensive to set up and difficult to make a profit on. To combat this, minimise the initial fees and start smaller. Your startup style will make for a great talking point with your new customers, too!
Do your research
There’s no point in putting all your savings into making a product that’s already available cheaply on the market, nor is it a good idea to open a doughnut shop if there are already dozens in your area. Consider what your town or city is missing, or where there’s a gap in the market for a new product.
It’s also wise to start slow; once you’ve decided what you want to do, there shouldn’t be any rush to implement your ideas. Don’t start a business just because you’re sick of your job; wait until you have the required capital without needing to ask for a high-interest loan, and make a detailed plan before you make any rash decisions.
Join forces with friends or family
The easiest way to raise enough money to start a business is by working with others. It’s also a great way to share skillsets; maybe you’re a whiz at reading legalese and can easily read and write contracts, while a close friend is an expert at renovation and can effortlessly turn an old diner into a sparkling new café.
Be sure to only work with people you’re sure you can trust. Nothing divides people like the prospect of losing money, so choose your partners wisely.
Decide whether you should keep your regular job
Many entrepreneurs retain their day jobs while their business is new. Unless you’ve won the lottery or can otherwise afford to live without a steady income, it’s probably a good idea to keep working while you set up your business. Dedicating yourself to your day job as well as your own business often means less sleep and much more hard work in the beginning, but you’ll have more financial security in the (hopefully unlikely) event of failure.
Running your own business isn’t as glamorous as often depicted in films and on television, but nothing beats knowing that you’re your own boss and that any success is thanks to your own hard work.
Years ago, Cloe Matheson pursued her life’s passion with a new freelance writing career - and she still couldn't be happier! She especially enjoys collaborating with eco-friendly blogs, sites and businesses such as Strata. You can read more of Cloe’s work here.