By Karin Mizgala, Co-Founder and CEO Money Coaches Canada
Starting your own business is easier than it has ever been before. The internet has made it possible to serve customers not only across the country, but across the world. Accessible technologies have made it conceivable to create an app, bring a product or service to market, be a consultant or teach courses.
This exciting new path to entrepreneurship has no age barriers either; kids are pitching viable ideas to savvy investors on the television show Dragon’s Den; millennials have been nicknamed the side-hustle generation; and businesses started by baby boomers with no interest in retirement, are on the rise.
But what will make any of these new businesses successful is not an internet connection and a large Twitter following. Today’s entrepreneurs need the same mindset and success principles that Canadian J.L. Kraft had when he started selling cheese out of a horse-drawn wagon in 1903.
Let’s look at what draws people to entrepreneurship and what needs to be considered before taking the leap.
You’re Not the Boss of Me
You may be one of those people who have wanted autonomy since pushing back against authority in the school yard, or maybe the desire to be your own boss is something new. Maybe you want to work from home to raise your kids; maybe the health needs of a parent, child, or spouse would be less stressful if you could adjust your work hours. Or maybe you’re just excited about creating and building something of your own.
Of course being your own boss doesn’t necessarily mean working less—in the beginning especially, it may mean working more—but as your own boss, you do get to control your schedule.
Being the boss extends control far beyond the hours spent working though, it also means you are in charge of the bigger vision or mission statement.
- You decide where your business is headed. As an entrepreneur, you have the opportunity to give back to your community by offering important services and creating wealth and job opportunities for others.
- You can be true to yourself and your values. You can support causes and organizations that are meaningful to you. You can make sure that your business meets your standards for integrity and excellence.
- No one puts a cap on your earning potential. It may take a while for your business to generate a profit, but you get to decide what your time, skills and knowledge are worth.
The desire to be in charge, and build a business is essential, but desire is not enough. There are several challenges that entrepreneurs face – especially in the start-up phase. To get a business off the ground, entrepreneurs need to be able to multi-task and wear several hats at the same time – web guru, administrator, sales and marketing specialist, bookkeeper – which can be stressful and even lead to burn-out. Then of course, there’s the worry of financial uncertainty. Without a well-thought through financial plan, the money piece can be daunting, often stopping people from taking the entrepreneurial plunge.
Do You Have What It Takes to be an Entrepreneur?
What are you passionate about? Is there something you do in your spare time that could be turned into a business? What activities bring you joy? Are you interested in providing a product, a service, or both? While it’s possible to run a successful business without passion for what you provide; it will be a lot harder to motivate yourself to do all the necessary hard work. Even if your passion is sales, it’s still better to sell something you believe in.
Will anyone else be passionate about your business? In other words, is there a market for your product or service? Think about who your ideal client is, what they need and how you can reach them.
Can you deliver the product or service profitably? Once your product or service is sold, will you be in the black or red? Will you have enough cash flow to sustain yourself now and have some left over for taxes and savings?
Do you have the skills and knowledge to run a business? I started by talking about passion, but passion alone won’t make you a success. The good news is; if you have a solid product or service, and you have researched and found a viable market where you’ll be able to turn a profit, you can learn the business side. There are many books, courses and experts to point you in the right direction and to help you get a plan for your business in place. You can also hire out aspects like bookkeeping, branding, marketing etc.
Do you need to invest in the business to get it started? If you are offering services like website design or social media marketing, your start-up costs will likely be low (assuming you already have the skills, a computer and an internet connection), but if you are offering a product that needs to be manufactured, or you need special facilities to conduct business, your start-up costs can be significant. It’s important that you are clear about how much start-up capital you need and where you will get the funds—savings? loans? family? business start-up grants?
How will you transition from your current occupation to your new business? Will you quit your current job cold turkey and start your new company, or begin working on your new business part-time? Can you work from home or do you need an office?
Do you have your financial house in order? Do you have enough money set aside in case there is no, or negative cash flow during the first few months of operation? Have you determined the amount of money you need to make each month to be financially stable?
I know, it’s a lot. If you would like assistance to set the financial foundation for your dream, a Money Coach can help.
We also offer a special coaching program specifically for women. Your Money Map Coaching Program was created by women for women. It offers high-level personal support to get you where you want to be.
Being successful takes passion, energy and planning. But there is a reason so many people are giving it a try; entrepreneurship can be one of the most rewarding ways to make money and fulfill your dreams.