You’re tired of seeing your boss benefit from your talents and being a slave to the 9-5(more likely 9-9). You want to define your hours; make more money; spend time with your kids/partner/friends/parents. You want to be able to make the impact you were meant in this world for by doing what you love.
Sounds awesome, right? Sister, I feel you!
There are a bazillion benefits of being your own boss, but like everything else, you need to consider some things before you pursue this dream of going into business by yourself.
1. Understanding your “why” for starting your dream business
The “Why?” of whatever you start is crucial. Why do you want to have your own business and how will this impact your life? What kind of life do you want to live and how will your own business help you achieve that lifestyle goal?This model comes from the genius Simon Sinek, who wrote Start With Why, incredible book.
You might be sick and tired of working for someone. You might have extrinsic motivations (outside pressures – need for money, retrenchment, or being forced to quit your job) to perform and achieve your lifestyle and financial goals for you and your family. But the key question is: Are you committed and will you be disciplined enough to see through the first investment months, through break-even and continue to make money for yourself?
In a job, you have financial stability. Someone else takes responsibility for the whole chain of operations and all you need to do is show up and do what you need to do. I am not trying to discourage you from starting your own business , but you need to be aware that every business requires a lot of investment (time, devotion, capital) in the first few years of operation. Do you feel passionately and are you committed to your why? As you progress through the ups and downs, your why will be the reminder of why you are actually going into business.
2. Do you have project management experience?
If you are a talented hairdresser, cook, coach or web-designer? You might be rocking your gifts but you need to an some business skills like sales, marketing, managing finance and time. Are you committed to learn some of those skills?
You might think “Well that’s not a problem! I can outsource those parts of operations,” and devote yourself to doing what you love. But the truth of the matter is that you need to have the ability to project manage before you offset. You need to understand the overview of how things works before you expect someone else to know what you want.
Some of you ladies might think that you will take short-courses, but some people go overboard and learn a lot of things that take them away from their talent. I know as a lady, we sometimes feel that we are superwomen, but we need to be able to be able to learn to manage and not be the implementer of absolutely everything.
3. Do you have what it takes to run your own business?
Are you a self-starter? Do you take initiative? Do you like to get creative? Do you feel comfortable reaching out to customers? Are you good at making sure promoting what you do so that people can refer you? Bottom line as mentioned, Are you disciplined? Success comes from doing something consistently until it gets better.
Zig Zagler once said this and I think it encompasses successful entrepreneurs very well “It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.”
Do you feel comfortable speaking with people? You might think you can set up a false persona over the Internet, but even if you are online you will require doing some offline activities, which require you to speak to potential customers face to face.
Essential key for any sustainable business is that you will need to truly care about your customers and not only about the money you make when they use your products and services.
In the beginning, any new business can be a bit stressful because your not sure if you are doing the right thing, and you might worry about financial pressures. Being your own boss often means working long hours and putting in extra time to sort out admin duties and wrestling with late deliveries from suppliers, which could mean working on weekends or in the evening.
4. Do you have the “moolah” to start a business?
A lot of clients I work with have this misconception that they need to have a lot of money to start a business. You actually don’t, but you require some money. The truth is that whatever idea you have can be scaled down to the bare minimum to test if the idea would work.
For example, imagine you want to set up a cup cake shop. It is important to test the waters before you tie yourself in 24 months rent, refurbishiment, down time, promotion, staff, etc. And can imagine the horror if after all this, you realize that you don’t actually enjoy this enough to make this your business.
A safer way (that won’t require you any money) is to just start off at home to see the response, build your customer base, improve your products, and then consider to uplevel your business.
But if you can’t simplify the business, you might consider one of these options:
- Part-time Business: This is the safest way of starting a business, this guarantees that you are generating income every month and can experiment with your business.
- Savings: Tap into your piggy bank and start using your money to look at ways to generate income.
- Friends + family: This is a great source of money, but it might effect your relationships so be careful
- Loan companies: Another avenue is from a bank or another loan company but remember this: They usually require security and comprehensive business plans with in-depth marketing strategies, sales forecasts and income and expense projections.
We follow this chain of thought which many successful entrepreneurs agree that it’s a great idea to start off part-time while you have your income from your day-job and to build your new venture to a sustainable level before going full-time. This usually requires putting in effort in your spare time, which is a temporary sacrifice. This also helps you practice discipline and project management skills.
Starting out part-time will give you a good idea about what will be required of you when you go fulltime and you will have a track-record of sales and income, which will go a long way to securing a start-up loan if you decide to go that way.
5. Where will your business be located?
Even if you are planning to start off at home, you need to create a space you can call your mini office. This can be a small section of your kitchen/ dining room table to help you organize your information.
Having a dedicated office or store in a prominent business center will boost your brand image. However, you will have to consider the costs involved in traveling to the office and overheads such as office space rental. So unless your financially there, don’t go for this approach.
Also some of the perks of working from home is that its usually the most economic option, particularly if you already have a home office with a phone and internet. But you might want to reconsider if you have a walk-in trade, especially if you have kids and pets running around, if its possible to have a dedicated space that separates your living area from your working area. The bonus is that you should also speak to your book keeper about the tax benefits of working from home.
If you decide to rent a space, you might want to start off in a co-working space/virtual office, until you consider signing a lease and locking yourself into high fixed costs each month.
The Reality of Running Your Own Business
The best and the worst thing about your own boss, is that you’re in charge of all the decisions. While you are liable for any mistakes, you also have the ability to change the course of action when things are no longer progressing smoothly.
Freedom is a rare commodity, but as women we can take the economy of our families and communities into our own hands and teach our children to be entrepreneurs from a young age.
But the key is to remember in order to get his freedom, it requires discipline + commitment. If you are not able to do that, you should really re-consider going into business for yourself.