According to Chris Guillebeau—traveler, writer and entrepreneur, it’s never been easier to start your own business.
He puts this down to how easy it is to communicate with people, and the amount of people that are happy to make purchases online.
It’s microbusiness heaven.
I would agree—I’ve been in business or watching people in business since before I can remember.
I run multiple businesses now and have always supported myself and my family solely through my business activities.
It’s an amazing way to live, and I want that for you, too.
So if you’re reading this, I know you want to start a business. The only thing left to do is start one. Here’s how.
STEP 1: GET READY TO INVEST SOME MIGHTY SWEAT EQUITY
The only real thing you need to start your own business is common sense, a roaring desire, an idea and enough energy to get things rolling and heading in the right direction. Get ready to use that serious sweat equity to make crazy things happen and wrestle down your competitors.
STEP 2: TURN YOUR GENERAL IDEA INTO A SPECIFIC ONE
You do need an idea before you start a business.
But there are some fool-proof ways to get started in business and make your best mistakes before it matters that much.
For example, you could very easily:
- start blogging and writing for other people’s sites
- become a consultant: when you’ve built up some expertise in your career, or really know what you’re doing in business already, but would like to help others instead of launching your own full-on enterprise. Network and buy your first prospects a coffee to chat about what you can offer them.
- tutor kids (or adults)
- sell stuff on eBay. Buy things at garage sales and flea markets, and then sell them on eBay. Here’s a book on how to make $10,000 a month on there.
- set yourself up as a graphic designer/desktop publisher/proofreader/transcriber/typist/professional organizer/housesitter/petsitter.
Check out more ideas and detail on the above here. All you need is $20.
….if you do have an idea, awesome! Now you need to make it a lot more specific. Drill down on the details.
What’s your product or service?
Who is going to buy it and why? How will you get paid?
Are you going to do this alone, or do you need to bring in additional talent?
Write a business plan once you have some ideas clear in your head. The plan format will help you fill in the blanks.
STEP 3: WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN
There are so many business plan guides out there now, it’s impossible not to find one. But you’ll want one that allows you to be insanely creative, right?
STEP 4: REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS, AND ALL THAT JAZZ
There are legal and tax-related steps you’ll need to take wherever you live. Check out these resources. Don’t take any of them too seriously. Your business location might be your basement at first. Just make sure you’re not breaking any regional or federal rules.
And take advantage of any free business support that your local authorities might offer you.
STEP 5: GET A MENTOR
This might be one of the best steps you take in business. You just need to make sure the person isn’t a condescending moron, who doesn’t want you to succeed. Find someone who is sincere and who truly cares about what you’re doing.
Choose carefully, then experiment with every piece of advice they give you to see if it works. Reflect on whether you need multiple and specific mentors to help you with different aspects of your business.
STEP 6: DO SOME HARDCORE READING
While it would be wrong for me to recommend you only read for your first year in business, I’m going to do it.
BUT, I want you to read, then apply what you’ve learned, then read, then apply some more.
It’s just to easy to think that at some point you’ll be ready, but you need to do another month’s reading.
YOU CANNOT READ EVERYTHING YOU’LL NEED TO KNOW AT THE BEGINNING.
You might drive yourself crazy, too, because there is a lot of conflicting advice out there. And there’s a whole internet-y worldwide web of it. Haha!
So pick some dudes and girls who are doing what you want to do, stick with them and read the hell out of everything they put out online.
Also read a little often on general topics. Here are some goooood general resources for first time entrepreneurs. Learn about marketing. You’ll need to market whatever you sell.
And, widen the net if someone in your space or someone you respect makes a good recommendation, then bring it back in and analyze how it’s going to benefit you.
Very important: bear in mind that the only way you can really learn how to run a business is to run one.
Make your mistakes early, and you’ll minimize those bigger losses later that really make you want the ground to swallow you up forever more.
(Don’t worry—those losses make AMAZING learning experiences.)
STEP 7: SPREAD THE NEWS
Networking is huge in business, so tell everyone what you’re planning to do. Tap your network for people who you might benefit from meeting.
Hammer LinkedIn, local business meetups, conferences and groups. Meet and be inspired by people on the same path as you.
If you’re not sure how to network, this book is really great.
Also, be ready for the haters. If you tell everyone what you’re planning to do, some people are going to tell you it’s not possible.
Ignore. Keep going.
STEP 8: COMMIT TO A PROCESS OF CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
Once you have all your plate spinning nicely, those plates will try to own you.
Get out of that space at least once a week (ideally once a day), and think about what you want to achieve.
Identify 1-2 actions you can take to further develop your project, then proactively strike them off the list through action.
Constantly responding will hurt your venture.
STEP 9: TAKE AT LEAST ONE MONTH OFF EVERY YEAR
Now you’re probably laughing right now, but once you get started in business, you’ll quickly realize just how hard it can be to get away from that ringing phone, your to-do list, difficult decisions, people who depend on your business financially, etc.
Try not to work through every weekend in the first year!
When you see a good opportunity to escape, book a last-minute deal and skediddle! Click here for more on that.
And naturally, I definitely recommend getting out into nature at least once per week.
Sail. Swim. Bike. Run. Look after yourself and stay calm.
You can do this. Let me know how it goes.
Images courtesy of Dave Dugdale, DaveFayram, QuinnDombrowski, geteverwise.com, Cubosh, and Joe the Goat Farmer on Flickr; Wikipedia Commons.