OK, so if you’re anything like the 85% of the rest of the world, this whole down economy thing is the pits and probably has it’s dirty little talons firmly entrenched in your dubiously positive mindset. So you’re carefully weighing your options and trying to figure out your next move in this game called life.
Or, if you’re like the other 15% you’re toying with the idea of going all entrepreneur on the economy’s a$$ and giving the job market the finger.
Before you sell the farm and give up your insurance benefits or give any fingers, please review these top 40 do’s and don’ts.
Either way, I’ll support your decision 100%. But only if it supports my decision to support your decision to support my decision. So there.
Do’s for Going All Entrepreneur
1. Seek advice. Lots of it. Lots and lots. Better yet, get a mentor. Or hire a coach. But always seek advice from those who have gone before you. And that does mean from those who have gone before you successfully!
2. Or, work for someone else in the business you’re considering entering. Nothing beats on the job training when it comes to learning something new and learning to do it well.
3. Don’t be a hummingbird and flit from one idea and opportunity to the next. We all fall victim to the ‘Bright and Shiny Object’ syndrome. Unaffectionately dubbed BSO. Not to be confused with BO. That’s just stinky.
4. Make a list of all opportunities you are considering and create an “against” and “for” list for each. Narrow it down to skin and bones, and pick just one. Yes, just one. You can go off on a tangent AFTER you’ve made a return on your time and investment. Not a moment before.
5. Consider all your skills and training before leaping. Will they be a good fit for the business opportunity you’re thinking of pursuing? Is it something you’ll enjoy? Will you be good at it or totally suck? (Tip: Don’t go for biz ideas you’d totally suck at.)
6. Decide whether you’re going to jump in whole hog, or be a moonlighter. Yes I vote whole hog, but if you can’t it’s understandable. You need to work within your realm of possible, without causing harm to the rest of your fiscal and family obligations. But nothing beats commitment like whole hog.
7. Make the decision to outsource whenever and wherever you can. Focus on your core money making skills, and let others do the dirty work you suck at or hate doing. You can often outsource for cheap if you look in the right places.
8. Save. And save and save and save. Live like a scrooge and sock away every little penny you can for investment purposes, for inevitable tax hiccups, for emergencies, and for peace of mind when business is slow.
9. If you plan on creating and selling a product, research ways you can do it that are as cost effective as possible. Find low cost manufacturers and suppliers.
10. Always test market your product before leaping in with both feet. You never know, motion-activated heat footies might NOT be such a hot seller. Except with me, I’d totally buy them.
10. Create a business plan of sorts for whatever business idea you’re choosing to go with. I’ve said it before, it doesn’t have to be all fancy and in-depth, but a ship without a course is just drifting. Who knows where you’ll end up? Yikes.
11. Meditate and learn to use affirmations. Seriously. You think I’m kidding, but I look in the mirror every day and tell myself how much of a writing rock star I am and how great a day it’s going to be.
And I tell myself often that I will love my kids like the precious little angels they are and determinedly push away thoughts of strangulation and hanging them out windows by their toes.
No, I really would never do such things, but I’d totally lock them in a closet and tease them with candy from under the door.
Honestly, meditation is relaxing and helps you to focus. It also helps you avoid murder charges. Affirmations help you reinforce the positive mindset you need for success and intrench in your brain all the things you want in your life. Then cool energy vibes drift off you into the world and help make it happen.
12. Consider a franchise opportunity to get your feet wet. It can be easier to get started going that route than trying to start a business from complete scratch. This will be something you want to think about when you’re weighing that “for and against” list.
13. Make sure you are going into business for yourself for the right reasons. Desperation does count, but more importantly do it because you want to follow a passion. When it’s a passion it becomes less like work and more like fun. Making the long hours you will need to put in initially more than worth it.
14. Begin your journey with an exit strategy. Always have a plan B and even a plan C and plan D if need be. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and if things don’t go well you need to know what your next move is before you cause serious damage to your livelihood and mental health. Back up plans rule!
You should also be backing up all your pertinent documents, information, and files too just in case you have some strange lap top fire or computer failure. Remember, back up plans rule!
15. On top of your business plan, create a marketing plan. Why? Because if you don’t market, you’ve got no business. It’s that simple. When you create a plan, it allows you to implement, see what’s working, and tweak as necessary.
16. Create an online presence. Even if it’s just a simple HTML website to advertise your offline business, you need something online that tells folks about who you are and what you do. In this day and age, people look to the Internet to find new products and sources more often than they will ever flip through a phonebook or skim a newspaper. No website? No chance of being found.
17. Consider going an extra step and creating a business blog. This allows you not only to showcase your business, but also lets people get to know you and uses pre-selling to its full advantage. Plus you get search engine benefits and more traffic to your website.
18. If you’re really feeling your oats, consider launching a social media campaign to build your presence there as well. Social media isn’t going anywhere and the sooner you accept it and learn to use it, the better off you will be. Oh and you’ll make lots of new friends too.
19. Treat your customers and clients like the gold they are. Don’t be a jerk. Provide value. Then provide even more value. Put people first. As God says, ‘Minister’ and you will be blessed! Or something to that effect.
And yes that applies to business just as it does to your personal life and spiritual health thankyouverymuch!
20. On that note, treat your workers like gold too. If you outsource or hire a team, reward them well for the time and energy they put into you and your business. They could just go help someone else get rich, but they’re choosing to help you.
(Feel free to bookmark at this point and return later for your continued reading pleasure!)
Don’ts for Going All Entrepreneur
1. Jump into a lake of fire by starting a business you don’t adore. Seriously if you’re going to sell the farm and go all entrepreneur you need to do it for the right reasons and motivations. Passion rules, tolerable stinks.
2. Choose a business with a huge risk margin. Yes some risk is exhilarating, but don’t be downright stupid. Make smart choices not emotional or greed driven ones.
3. Forget to test your market before committing to a new product or service with everything you’ve got. Again, use your brain and be smart. If no one is buying what you’ve got to offer, is it really a business?
4. Tell your current boss you plan on ditching his butt to work for yourself. Trust me, he or she will not like that little tidbit of enlightenment, and you may end up selling that farm before you’re darn good and ready!
5. Oh and FYI… running your business on your employer’s dime is a big mistake. If you’re still working your job, work it. Run your business in your spare hours, no exceptions.
6. Risk everything on your new venture. Create a plan, outline a budget, and stick to it. No exceptions, no excuses.
7. Forget to take the blinders off and learn the negative potential aspects of your future business. Know your business inside out, pretty and ugly.
8. Rush into something without proper planning and evaluation of risk versus reward.
9. On the flip side, don’t plan a venture to death and stall your progress before you’re even off the ground. Perfect is not the goal. Functional, rewarding, and profitable is the goal.
10. Undercut yourself. If you have to lowball all the time just to gain customers and clients you’re in the wrong line of work. You should be providing a valuable product or service and charging what it’s worth.
11. Burn your farmyard bridges. That job of yours might stink and you might very well be able to envision your boss’s head on a stake in some bug infested field… BUT it won’t do you any favors to tell him to kiss off if you ever need to ask HIM for a favor. Just sayin’.
12. Steal business, contacts, or information from your current employer to advance your own business. That’s just wrong no matter how you try to cut it. Grow a moral compass and just don’t do it.
13. Allow self-doubt or fear to derail you. Yes working for yourself is hard. Yes it’s scary. But life is hard and scary and sometimes you just have to buck up and ‘get r done’. Ugg… can’t believe I just quoted Larry the Cable Guy.
14. Neglect networking and building valuable relationships with other business-minded life forms. Really.
Connections are what make the world go round, and if you’re trying to go all entrepreneurial you need to make them. And nurture them. But don’t stalk them or make them think you’re crazy.
I did that once, didn’t pan out.
15. Forget to research your business name and make sure there are no existing trademarks that could get you into trouble later. And this is a very important thing to remember BEFORE you decide to have business cards and other business materials drawn up. Could save you a bundle of money and hassle.
16. Allow free publicity to walk on by. Take any chance you can get to toot your horn for free because there will be plenty of instances where you have to pay for it. So if you get a freebie take full advantage!
17. Spend money you’ve set aside for taxes, employee benefits, or other business related requirements. Those Jimmy Choo’s or that sweet Rolex might be triggering your “I want it” button but trust me…
Get some self control man. Set some priorities. Don’t screw yourself before you even start.
18. Be frivolous and invest unnecessary time and money in material things to further your ‘image’ unless your image is what you’re selling. That means that $500 office desk is nice… but that $150 dollar one would work just as well and your wallet will love you.
19. Pretend insurance doesn’t matter. If your business is online you can get away with stalling in some respects on quite a few things. But if you’ve decided to go offline and create a real brick and mortar proper insurance to cover your butt should be a priority.
20. Roll towards burnout by trying to be everyone and do everything. You can’t. A well run business requires help even if it’s just you and Dad. Remember that and don’t be afraid to ask for help from those who care about you and want to see you succeed. Or outsource, that works too.
There you have it.
The Entrepreneur’s Top 40.
20 do’s and 20 don’ts you need to consider before taking the leap into the realm of entrepreneurship. Read ‘em and stash ‘em because I might just quiz you later.