Starting your own business and defining your own path is literally the “American Dream”. In the digital age, it’s easier than ever to throw up a website and say you’re now running your own business.
But let’s not get too hasty.
Even though it’s technically easier to START your own business, and you could literally start it from your living room, the questions you need to ask yourself remain the same as if you’re opening up a physical small business on Main Street.
I’ve already told you that you shouldn’t start your own business – but if you’re going to ignore that advice, then keep reading.
- Why am I doing this? Understanding your motivation is the key to starting a business. Is it because you love what you do but no longer want to do it for another company? Do you want to expand existing freelance work you’ve been doing (because there’s a definite difference between being a freelancer and a small business owner) ? Are you hoping to shake up the landscape and make a difference?
- Who are my customers? If understanding your motivation is the KEY, identifying your customers is the FOUNDATION to starting your own business. Who are the people you want to connect with your product or service? What are their needs? Why would they care, and more importantly, who would actually buy what you’re selling?
- Who will help me? The reality is that you won’t be able to do everything yourself. We’ve briefly discussed the importance of a support system – but this goes beyond your friends and family. Who are your mentors? Who are the people you’ll turn to for legal and financial advice? How will you connect with other small business owners in your industry to build a network?
- How much money do I need to get started? If you’re taking the dive and leaving your full time job, be sure to factor in living costs in addition to the expenses you’ll most definitely incur when getting your small business off the ground. Don’t forget about hidden costs such as licensing fees, rental deposits, equipment, and taxes. Experts suggest having at least 12 months worth of living expenses saved up before you start your own business. The Small Business Administration has a plethora of great resources to help you plan and figure out potential costs as you’re starting out.
- How will I handle setbacks? This could be the most important question to ask. There are lots of ups and downs (I mean, LOTS), and your days could be filled with more disappointments than successes in the beginning. Are you the kind of person that gets discouraged easily? Are you prepared to heard the word “No” more often than your favorite song? Be brutally honest with yourself. Ask family and close friends if you have to – truly understand yourself in order to anticipate your behavior as an entrepreneur.
I know, it got really existential all of a sudden, didn’t it?
What advice would you give to someone at the start of their entrepreneurial journey? Tell us on Twitter and use the hashtag #AmplifyYourBiz.
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