Many people dream of living the good life, working part time or not at all. Being able to travel around the world while working for themselves. These dreams will never become a reality without definite goals, without a plan.
If you’re like me, you still work a full time job and dread each day you have to go into work. Maybe you like your day job but you feel like you could be doing more with your life. Either way, unless you take action, you will be stuck there until retirement or at least until they give you the boot.
Is it really possible to escape and start your own business? Yes it is possible and that’s exactly what I’m doing. Check out these tips to help you get started on your road to freedom.
1. Look at your finances
Take a long hard look at your financial situation and see if entrepreneurship is really in the near future. In order to run a successful business, you need to have a decent handle on your own finances. Even if your finances are in order, do you have the money to start a business right now?
There are a lot of businesses that don’t cost a lot of money to get started. However, you need to know how much you have in order to see what can be devoted to a new business.
Also when reviewing your financials, think about how much money you really need to live and how much you want to make with your business. What is your overall goal?
For me, my goal is to pay off my student loan and replace the income from my day job. For some, they just want a side business to help pay for vacations or family activities.
What can you do now to get started?
- Gather all your pay stubs & bills
- Determine how much money you have available to start a business
- Decide on your long term goals for your business – side income/full time income
2. Decide on the type of business you want to start
In a perfect world, with your perfect business, what would it be? Do you dream of owning your own store or service business or do you want to work exclusively online and at home?
For me, I love the idea of being able to work at home or any location of my choosing. Right now, I don’t want to be tied down to a local or service business that requires my in-person presence.
What if you have no idea what you really want to do?
Access your current skills.
What do you do at your day job? Ex: bookkeeping, administrative assistant, nursing
What do you already know how to do? Ex: cooking, sewing, photography, teaching
If you are already knowledgeable about a particular field, why not start a business doing that? You may not need to go back to school or do any extensive training on how to perform that new skill. Your time can be spent on developing your business.
- Start brainstorming business ideas, if you don’t already have one
- List the pros and cons of the different types of business you may want to start
3. Start drafting your business plan
No I’m not talking about the 15 page document that you can never seem to finish or get together. I’m talking about a basic, to the point business plan. Chris Guillebeau, in the $100 Startup has a great quick and easy business plan template. (Edit..this link is no longer available on his site).
Although you want to spend time drafting the basics about your business and how it’s going to be structured, there is no need in spending an extensive amount of time right now on creating that type of plan. Your objective is to get moving and get the business started.
- Create a basic business plan based on the template in the $100 Startup
4. Create a marketing plan
Just like the business plan, your marketing plan can be real simple. Basically you want to write out who are you target customers, where do they spend time, how you are going to reach them. There are so many different free avenues to get new customers, take the time to explore those before you start spending money.
There’s a basic marketing plan that can be downloaded for free at Smallbiztrends. If you prefer a more extensive plan, do a Google search for a marketing plan.
- Create a marketing plan
- Create a list of 50-100 free ways to reach your target audience/customer
5. Start learning
If you need additional training, sign up now. I’ll be creating a post in the future on where you can find free training.
6. Find a mentor or motivator
Try to find someone who is doing what you’re trying to do. So many times we turn to our friends and family for support but when it comes to starting a small business, they’re usually not as supportive as we would like them to be. Don’t let naysayers or haters distract you from reaching your goals. Find like-minded people to help you get to where you want to be.
7. Get started
Stop wasting your life away dreaming, thinking, planning, wishing or whatever you want to call it. Just start taking some steps. If can be as simple as registering and placing bids on a site like Elance. Whatever you do, just do something that will help you toward your goal of financial independence.