entrepreneurship http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8342/all en-US Starting Your Dream Business Is Easier Than You Think — Here's How http://www.wisebread.com/starting-your-dream-business-is-easier-than-you-think-heres-how <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/starting-your-dream-business-is-easier-than-you-think-heres-how" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/small-business-5322435-small.jpg" alt="designer" title="designer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the great pleasures of owning my own business and working for myself is that I get to talk to a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs.</p> <p>They <em>want</em> to be entrepreneurs, but they aren't quite there yet. They read all the business articles online, they constantly make plans, they aspire to own their business and maybe one day they will get there. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-home-based-side-business-ideas?ref=seealso">10 Home-Based Side Business Ideas</a>)</p> <p>I've heard Mark Cuban, and others, call them &quot;wantrepreneurs&quot; on Shark Tank because they are perpetually in the pre-business phase. Having ideas is great, but executing them is what separates true entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs.</p> <p>Unfortunately, so many of them never start a business because they put up barriers in their own mind. One of those barriers is that they think &quot;starting a business&quot; is an arduous task that will take them months and months, if not years, of planning and preparation.</p> <p>In reality, the paperwork of starting a business is almost trivial compared to everything else you'll need to do to start and run a business. But before you embark on filing anything, make one sale.</p> <h2>Make One Sale</h2> <p>Before you go down the route of &quot;starting&quot; a side business, make a sale. Just one.</p> <p>If you wanted to start a snow shoveling service, would you start by incorporating your business, getting insurance, paying for advertising, or opening a bank account?</p> <p>No, that's crazy. You would find a shovel and go door to door looking for people to pay you to shovel their driveway.</p> <p>That's what you should be doing with whatever business you're considering. Make one sale. You will learn a tremendous amount about your market by selling your product or service to one person. After you make one sale, sell it to a second.</p> <p>After you've made the first dozen sales, you'll know whether you have a business on your hands, a nice hobby, or a dream that can't be realized. It's valuable to do this before you waste time and money doing the paperwork of forming a business. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies?ref=seealso">Awesome Money-Making Hobbies</a>)</p> <p>Also, it's important to actually sell a product or service, not ask people if they would buy it. Most people are polite and tell you they would buy. But few people are so polite that they'd actually pay you for something they don't want.</p> <p>Once you've made enough sales to be sure this is a business, it's time to make it legitimate.</p> <h2>Startup Paperwork</h2> <p>So you've made some sales and you're ready to make it official. You need to do some paperwork. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners?ref=seealso">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a>)</p> <h3>State Licenses</h3> <p>The first step is to research the licensing and bonding requirements of your state. Some businesses need a license to operate. If you're starting a blog, you don't need to get a license or a bond to operate. If you're starting a tattoo parlor in Maryland, you need a Tattoo License before you can do business. Check your state's laws for what you'll need as it's different for each state.</p> <h3>Insurance and Bonds</h3> <p>The next step is to research your insurance needs. A surety bond covers guarantee of service but liability insurance protects you from accidents, lawsuits, and other business disasters. Some businesses need a surety bond, nearly all businesses should have liability insurance. If you intend to hire employees, workers comp insurance may also be necessary, as it protects your business from any medical or legal expenses associated with accidents on the job.</p> <h3>LLC, EIN, and a Checking Account</h3> <p>If you're starting a simple business that has no licensing, bonding, or major insurance requirements, the rest is easy. It's a three step process:</p> <ol> <li>Incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Open a Business Checking Account</li> </ol> <p><em>Do you need to incorporate?</em></p> <p>It depends. Incorporating is a must if there are any potential liabilities associated with your business because it shields you from your business, if set up properly. You are often not required to incorporate and can operate as a sole proprietor. As is the case with any type of legal advice, check with a professional and with the requirements of your state.</p> <h3>Incorporate as an LLC</h3> <p>Incorporating is often a straightforward process, but it depends on your state because the complexity varies. In Maryland, it's a one-page form (Articles of Organization) with a handful of fields.</p> <p>One minor bit of advice, in the area where you write in the &quot;purpose&quot; of the company, use this: &quot;To engage in any lawful activity for which a limited liability company may be organized.&quot;</p> <p>Some states leave this Purpose field blank, some states automatically fill it out with a similar phrase (California automatically fills it out with &quot;The purpose of the limited liability company is to engage in any lawful act or activity for which a limited liability company may be organized under the California Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act.&quot; Don't get caught up in writing something descriptive here, it'll only slow you down.</p> <p>The cost associated with incorporating will include the one-time filing fee. In some cases, it may also include annual fees too. In Maryland, every business has to file a personal property tax return that has a minimum $300 tax. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-starting-a-small-business-for-the-tax-deductions-worth-it?ref=seealso">Is Starting a Small Business for the Tax Deductions Worth It?</a>)</p> <h3>Obtain an EIN</h3> <p>An EIN is like a Social Security Number for your business &mdash; you can get one for free by <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-%26-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-(EIN)-Online">applying with the IRS</a>.</p> <p>Once you get an EIN, use this instead of your Social Security Number on all forms for your business. Congratulations! You've graduated from sole proprietorship to an LLC.</p> <h3>Open a Business Checking Account</h3> <p>Once you have the incorporation confirmation letter (original with stamps) and your EIN, go to your favorite bank and open a business checking account. Look for one with low minimums and no fees. Most banks make their money off business accounts with merchant processing and other add-ons, so the base checking product shouldn't cost you anything. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a>)</p> <p>Use this checking account as the center of your business banking world. Any revenue you receive should go into this account. Any bills you pay should come out of this account.</p> <h2>Now Go Back to Selling</h2> <p>Once you do those three steps, you're officially a business. Don't forget to file the necessary tax forms and get back to the important part of business, getting more of it.</p> <p>Good luck!</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/starting-your-dream-business-is-easier-than-you-think-heres-how" class="sharethis-link" title="Starting Your Dream Business Is Easier Than You Think — Here&#039;s How" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Jim shares insights and lessons learned with new bloggers at Microblogger.com. Be sure to <a href="http://microblogger.com/introducing-lifetime-income-blog-course/">sign up for his free (and very in-depth) Create a Lifetime Income Blog course</a> to learn from his experiences.</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jim-wang">Jim Wang</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship business entrepreneurship starting a business Thu, 13 Feb 2014 11:36:35 +0000 Jim Wang 1124504 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get Work Experience Without Having a Job http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-work-experience-without-having-a-job <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-work-experience-without-having-a-job" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/desk-5322554-small.jpg" alt="woman at desk" title="woman at desk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Need experience to get a job; need a job to get experience&quot; is one of the most frustrating paradoxes faced by those who are still in school or in the midst of a career change. Although unemployment numbers are slowly falling, the race to land an entry-level job is not only hyper-competitive, but also somewhat deceptive, since some employers require a couple years of experience before applicants qualify for even an entry-level position. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/awesome-accomplishments-50-questions-to-ask-yourself-and-figure-out-what-youve-done">Awesome Accomplishments: 50+ Questions to Ask Yourself and Figure Out What You've Done</a>)</p> <p>If you're currently searching for a job but don't have extensive work experience to back you up, boost your resume and make valuable contacts in the industry you want to work in by exploring some alternatives.</p> <h2>Internships</h2> <p>One of the most popular ways of getting your foot in the door is by completing an internship. Depending on the industry, these may be paid or unpaid, part time or full time, short term or for several months, and for college credit or just for another bullet point for your resume.</p> <p><a href="http://www.internships.com/">Internships.com</a> and <a href="http://www.internmatch.com/">InternMatch</a> are great resources for finding internships in your area (remote/virtual internships are also available). If you go above and beyond what is expected of you during your internship, your boss might write a letter of recommendation, which will help you stand out from the crowd when you apply for your next job. Or better yet, your internship could potentially lead to a full time, paid position with the company.</p> <h2>Volunteer</h2> <p>If you want to make a difference in your community and gain valuable experience while you're at it, consider becoming a volunteer. Like many internships, this isn't paid work, but compared to the regular job market, volunteer positions are much more readily available. Although there are certainly differences between regular jobs and volunteer positions, you could perform similar tasks at a nonprofit as you would in a normal work environment (office work, teaching, researching, event planning, etc.). At the very least, you'll likely improve your communication skills and make connections that can serve as references later on when you're job hunting. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/translating-volunteer-experiences-and-skills-to-workplace-credentials">Translating Volunteer Experiences to Workplace Credentials</a>)</p> <h2>Take Specialized Classes</h2> <p>Being a college student or graduate is almost mandatory for decent-paying jobs these days, but employers want more than employees who learned everything in a classroom. Consider taking some hands-on classes that relate to the industry you want to work in. This can be anything from wood or metal shop to culinary classes. Many community colleges offer trade-specific classes, and some high schools have a <a href="http://rop-smcoe-rop-ca.schoolloop.com/file/1315636664350/1316353355363/2008991174234172131.pdf">Regional Occupational Program</a> (ROP) for their students. ROP offers hands-on courses to prepare students for careers in industries such as health care, engineering, manufacturing, tourism &amp; hospitality, and more.</p> <h2>Start Up Your Own Startup</h2> <p>Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone, but if you're really determined to get your foot in the door, you could run your own side business until you amass the experience needed for your dream job. This is probably the most complex way of getting experience, but you may find that working for yourself is more rewarding after all. Either way, entrepreneurship will help you add valuable experience to your resume, as well as show you both the employer and employee's perspectives in your industry. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-your-great-startup-business-is-doomed">6 Reasons Your Great Startup Business Is Doomed</a>)</p> <h2>Freelance</h2> <p>If running a business isn't your cup of tea, and you offer services rather than products, consider getting into freelancing.</p> <p><a href="https://www.elance.com/">Elance</a> is a popular website for new freelancers, although there's one thing you should know about bidding sites &mdash; it's a race to the bottom. You'll be competing with other freelancers, many of whom are willing to charge minimal prices just to get work. An alternative to this is building a portfolio in which you have several pieces of your work available for potential employers to peruse prior to hiring you. As an independent contractor, you could also offer your services for free for a couple clients when you're just starting out (in exchange for portfolio samples and references). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-year-new-resume">New Year, New Resume</a>)</p> <h2>Final Word</h2> <p>Landing a new job &mdash; even in a struggling economic climate &mdash; isn't impossible. It's admittedly harder for those who don't have firsthand experience required by many employers, but as you can see from the points above, there are ways around this problem.</p> <p><em>How have you gotten experience without first having a job? Tell us your job search story in the comment section below!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-work-experience-without-having-a-job" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Get Work Experience Without Having a Job" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-kehoe">Kelly Kehoe</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career and Income Personal Development employment entrepreneurship freelancing internships resume volunteering Fri, 30 Aug 2013 09:48:29 +0000 Kelly Kehoe 981181 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Key Characteristics of the Entrepreneurial Mind http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-key-characteristics-of-the-entrepreneurial-mind <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-essential-characteristics-of-the-entrepreneurial-mind" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-essential-characteristics-of-the-entrepreneu...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-key-characteristics-of-the-entrepreneurial-mind" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000018491243Small.jpg" alt="Corporate leader" title="Corporate leader" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-key-characteristics-of-the-entrepreneurial-mind" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Key Characteristics of the Entrepreneurial Mind" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>Inventors, business owners, and corporate superstars who reshape and remake companies are some of our strongest cultural heroes. They reflect an essential part of the American story&mdash;the story of the average person who sees an opportunity, seizes it, and in the process creates something new.</p> <p>But what do <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/10-signs-you-shouldnt-be-a-small-business-owner">these entrepreneurs share</a>? What qualities or ways of thinking characterize the entrepreneurial mind, and can this type of innovative thinking be cultivated in others? Let&rsquo;s explore some of hallmarks of entrepreneurial thinking to better understand how it works and how we can challenge and bend our own thinking to achieve better results.</p> <p><b>1. Creativity</b></p> <p>The seed of all true entrepreneurship is the ability to see things differently. From new products to new processes, entrepreneurs are driven by the uncanny knack to see holes in the marketplace and devise innovations to fill them. Though it&rsquo;s not the only essential quality to success, creativity may be the foundational mental skill. Entrepreneurs ask the &ldquo;what ifs&rdquo; that drive inquisitiveness, and they&rsquo;re able to let go of what they already know to source fresh information and new ways of thinking about a problem.</p> <p><b>2. Suspicion of Predictors</b></p> <p>Entrepreneurs tend not to labor under the assumption that data is the sole predictor of an outcome. Especially in new markets and with new products where data is largely interpretive or extrapolated, entrepreneurs are undaunted by the typical predictors that may put off fainter hearts. One study by <i>Inc.</i> magazine found that nearly 60 percent of Inc. 500 CEOs had not written business plans prior to the launch of their companies, and only 12 percent had done market research. These entrepreneurs realize that creating something new is a heated evolutionary contest, and no one can know the outcome with any amount of certainty. It&rsquo;s as if their thinking, freed from the &ldquo;no&rsquo;s&rdquo; of the data, can begin to build, test, and refine.</p> <p><b>3. Comfort with Uncertainty</b></p> <p>Similarly, a distrust of prediction and analysis creates an atmosphere where uncertainty rules. Indeed, uncertainty is the very essence of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are comfortable existing in that space between raw idea and successful product, and they tend to thrive in the wide middle ground of experimentation, revision, and testing.</p> <p><b>4. Openness to Experimentation</b></p> <p>A comfort with experimentation goes beyond educated trial and error. The ability to experiment with products, processes, and outcomes no matter where the results may lead is the key element of this quality. It&rsquo;s difficult to fully appreciate how much of what we call &ldquo;experimental&rdquo; is actually quite predictable. Most people are comfortable testing new products or systems with a range of one or two possible outcomes. When the results fall nicely within the range, we move on to the next step. But for entrepreneurs who are bringing something new and novel to the marketplace, experimentation can be truly&hellip;experimental. Removing expectations and letting the results lead you in completely new directions is the attribute that marks a truly entrepreneurial mind.</p> <p><b>5. Functional Humility</b></p> <p>Egos can destroy the very best ideas. Entrepreneurs who are committed to solving a business problem or reinventing a product or service display a functional humility. They understand that their egos are only useful in moving the idea forward, not dictating outcomes or wrestling to make results conform to a preconceived notion. The very best entrepreneurs may constantly generate and promote their own ideas, but they think and act collaboratively and are staunchly solutions-focused.</p> <p>So can everyone have an entrepreneurial mind? Probably not. But with time and practice, we can begin to think more like entrepreneurs. We can start to make subtle shifts in old, reflexive thinking that keeps us from exploring a new idea or taking the leap and launching our own business. Entrepreneurial thinking may be less of a destination and more of journey as we push our own boundaries and explore exactly what we&rsquo;re capable of. There are few things more elemental than how we think&mdash;what kind of beneficial chaos could we create if we began to think differently?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Small Business Resource Center entrepreneur characteristics entrepreneurship leadership small business Fri, 30 Dec 2011 17:59:36 +0000 Kentin Waits 844410 at http://www.wisebread.com The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: For Love or Money? http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/the-entrepreneur-s-dilemma-for-love-or-money <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/the-entrepreneurs-dilemma-for-love-or-money" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/the-entrepreneurs-dilemma-for-love-or-money</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/the-entrepreneur-s-dilemma-for-love-or-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000016122694Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/the-entrepreneur-s-dilemma-for-love-or-money" class="sharethis-link" title="The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: For Love or Money?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>We&rsquo;ve all heard the phrase, &ldquo;follow your passion and money will come.&rdquo;</p> <p>When you&rsquo;re thinking about starting your own business, this phrase might not be very comforting. There are no guarantees of monetary success with entrepreneurial endeavors. In a troubled economy like this one, however, there really isn&rsquo;t a guarantee when you work for someone else either. So, if leaving a day job to pursue your entrepreneurial passion seems like a good idea, what&rsquo;s holding you back?</p> <p>Likely, many things are. One of the big trip-ups to starting a business is the concept of passion itself. Deeply ingrained in our DNA is the want to do things we love. To tinker. To create. To solve problems. To help others. To build. But what if your passion doesn&rsquo;t have big potential to rake in a lot of income? Should you still follow your heart and build a business around it? Or, should you abandon your passion and look for entrepreneurial opportunities with bigger income potential?</p> <p>Of course, it depends on what your overall income needs are and your monetary goals for the future. Financial planners advise us to have enough savings for six months, a retirement account, and funds available for health care, disability care and medical emergencies. This, in addition to whatever income you need to cover everyday living, like food and a mortgage. It also depends on how you imagine your working life in the future. With a few key questions, you can start making a plan.</p> <p><b>Have you considered all the ways to profit from your passion?</b></p> <p>There are more than one or two ways to profit from your business idea. You just have to find them. Consider all the revenue streams you can manifest. For instance, can you teach a class or hold online seminars as part of your business? Perhaps you can add products or services to your original idea. By following your heart, you&rsquo;ll look at all the ways you can generate money from your idea and help make the dilemma of love vs. money a non-issue.</p> <p><b>Does the business have a legitimate chance of success? </b></p> <p>Ultimately, any business idea can seem like a good one; especially when you&rsquo;re passionate about it. But reality dictates that we do look closely at the validity of our ideas. This is one moment where your head and heart need to separate and let money step in between. If your business idea really doesn&rsquo;t have a valid chance at success, consider revamping your plan.</p> <p>Consider:</p> <ol> <li>Who is the market for your product or service? If it is a small niche, is it big enough to sustain consistent sales?</li> <li>Are you offering something people genuinely will be interested in (and will pay for)?</li> <li>Have you done enough research to know who your market it?</li> <li>Can you start your business within your current resources and expect to become profitable within a reasonable timeframe? If your business requires a lot of start-up money, how soon can you expect to be making money to pay yourself back&mdash;and then earn an income?</li> </ol> <p><b>Can you refocus your passion in a more profitable way?</b></p> <p>Perhaps following your heart just isn&rsquo;t going to be profitable enough. Fine. That&rsquo;s OK and it&rsquo;s better to figure it out sooner than later. But that doesn&rsquo;t mean you still can&rsquo;t build a business that allows you to also live your passion.</p> <p>For example, a local tax preparer who is also a ballerina, wants to open a dance studio for underprivileged children. However, after creating several business plans with different scenarios and financial angles, she sees the income potential is not good&mdash;at least, not good enough to support her family of five with a comfortable lifestyle. So she buys a custom screen printing and embroidery business from an accounting client, and begins making custom dance wear to sell to other dance businesses across the country. She uses funds from the screen printing business to finance a small group of ballet students in the evenings. In the end, this entrepreneur found a way to be financially successful, while still following her heart and living out her dream of helping kids through dance.</p> <p>You can follow your heart <i>and</i> the money, too. Have the mindset that <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/20-important-lessons-i-learned-from-my-marketing-mentor-1" target="_blank">failure is not an option</a>, plan early, and be flexible. Entrepreneur icon Steve Jobs said it best, &ldquo;There really is no reason not to follow your heart.&rdquo;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/justine-grey">Justine Grey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Small Business Resource Center business risk entrepreneurship motivation small business Wed, 28 Dec 2011 23:57:05 +0000 Justine Grey 835750 at http://www.wisebread.com Entrepreneurs Versus Managers: Which are You? http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/entrepreneurs-versus-managers-which-are-you <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/entrepreneurs-vs-managers-which-are-you" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/entrepreneurs-vs-managers-which-are-you</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/entrepreneurs-versus-managers-which-are-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000014272069Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/entrepreneurs-versus-managers-which-are-you" class="sharethis-link" title="Entrepreneurs Versus Managers: Which are You?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>&quot;<i>Successful entrepreneurs know their weaknesses as well as their strengths</i>.&quot;</p> <p>The line above is a classic small business maxim that I believe most of us would agree with. Self-aware people are well-positioned for success and when it comes to being self-aware I have noticed two distinct types of business owners: <i>entrepreneurs</i> and <i>managers</i>.</p> <p><strong>We All Start The Same</strong></p> <p>In the beginning, everyone is a hustler.</p> <p>You're a fire starter. You have to be. You can't <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/10-tips-from-bootstrapping-entrepreneurs-1" target="_blank">bootstrap</a> an idea into a profitable business without a little elbow grease.</p> <p>Things start to change, however, once you accomplish a small amount of success. When you cross that valley of the unknown and realize that you're actually going to stay in business...well, then it gets interesting because most people settle into one of two categories.</p> <p><strong>Entrepreneurs vs. Managers</strong></p> <p>Entrepreneurs are go-getters. After they build a business, they are ready to push the envelope once again.</p> <p>Day-to-day operations bore them to a certain degree. Sure, they are interested in continuing to grow their first company, but in their mind the daily grind of business is something to be delegated.</p> <p>Entrepreneurs start companies because they want to change things. They expose gaps in the market. They are always moving on to the next idea.</p> <p>Once entrepreneurs build one profitable business, they say, &quot;Watch me. I did this once and now I'm going to do it again.&quot;</p> <p><strong><br /> </strong>Managers believe in the business they built so much that they want to cultivate it on a daily basis. Once their first business is profitable, they view it as their personal responsibility to take it to the next level.</p> <p>Managers may delegate some things and they certainly might tell themselves that they delegate often, but truthfully major business decisions usually go through them before they are approved.</p> <p>Once managers build one profitable business, they say, &quot;We're profitable. Now watch me take this worldwide.&quot;</p> <p><strong>You Can Be Successful Either Way</strong></p> <p>Let's get one thing straight: both entrepreneurs and managers can be wildly successful with their businesses.</p> <p>It's not about one style being better than the other, it's about choosing the style that's best for you. I'll give you an example using two of the most successful business men of our time.</p> <p><strong>Richard Branson vs. Steve Jobs.</strong></p> <p>Branson is an entrepreneur. His Virgin brand now encompasses over 400 different businesses. 400! When he succeeds with one business idea, he is on to the next. In fact, the following quote from Branson is one of the reasons I wrote this article.</p> <p>&quot;<i>An entrepreneur is not a manager. An entrepreneur is someone who is great at conceiving ideas, starting ideas, building ideas ... and then handing them over to really good managers to run the business.&quot;</i> -Sir Richard Branson</p> <p>Steve Jobs was a manager. Last month, Apple had the largest market cap of any company in the S&amp;P 500. Jobs built a $300+ billion dollar business by operating in a manner very different from Branson.</p> <p>Jobs was famously a micromanager and a perfectionist. Employees have noted him calling out tiny details in design changes (all of which had to be approved by him), grammatical and spelling errors in company documents, and so on. He would even answer customer service complaints as the CEO from time to time.</p> <p><strong>Which Are You?</strong></p> <p>Branson and Jobs have both been incredibly successful at building their businesses, but they have done so in very different ways.</p> <p>For some of us, being a manager is the path to success. For others, being an entrepreneur is the best bet.</p> <p>If you're an entrepreneur, then keep building businesses. If you're a manager, then focus on a single subject matter and become brilliant. This is about finding your strength.</p> <p>Which type is best for your small business? More importantly, which one are you?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/james-clear">James Clear</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Small Business Resource Center entrepreneurship management style managers small business Mon, 10 Oct 2011 18:25:20 +0000 James Clear 732716 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Do When the Wrong Person for the Job is You http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/what-to-do-when-the-wrong-person-for-the-job-is-you <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/what-to-do-when-the-wrong-person-for-the-job-is-you" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/what-to-do-when-the-wrong-person-for-the-job-i...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/what-to-do-when-the-wrong-person-for-the-job-is-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007492741Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/what-to-do-when-the-wrong-person-for-the-job-is-you" class="sharethis-link" title="What to Do When the Wrong Person for the Job is You" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>You already understand that if you hire the wrong person for the job they'll probably fail. But what if <i>you're </i>the wrong person for the job?</p> <p>The entrepreneurial spirit that it takes to start a business usually isn't what is required to grow an established company. And the skills and attitudes required to maintain a mature business are far different than the ready, fire, aim approach that overcomes start-up obstacles.</p> <p>Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs don&rsquo;t understand that. As a result, they either ruin a good thing or they&rsquo;re kicked out by investors.</p> <p>Recently a Harvard professor <a href="http://www.annbadillo.com/files/the-founders-dilemma.pdf" target="_blank">surveyed 212 US companies</a> and discovered that by the time the ventures were three years old, 50 percent of the founders were no longer chief executives. By the time of the companies' initial public offerings, only 25 percent of their founders were still leading them. Most, in fact, had been forced out.</p> <p>In fact, entrepreneurs are resoundingly naive about the problems they&rsquo;ll face and overconfident in their ability to succeed. A Purdue University survey of 3000 entrepreneurs showed that one in three thought they had a 100 percent chance of success. Their estimate of their competitor&rsquo;s chances? Not surprisingly, they were far lower at 59 percent.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a hard truth: Eventually all founders</p> <ul> <li>fail; or</li> <li>they are forced out by partners, investors, or bankers; or</li> <li>they realize their charisma and passion aren&rsquo;t enough to make the business what it could be.</li> </ul> <p>You&rsquo;ll be far happier and your company will be better off if you recognize when it&rsquo;s time to step down, and make plans for your succession. Here are five tips for making the transition.</p> <p><strong>1. Brace yourself. </strong></p> <p>The new leader isn&rsquo;t always going to do things your way. If he or she did, you might as well have stayed on board. Letting go is hard to do, but if you&rsquo;ve made the right choice the result will be bigger and better things for all concerned, especially for you.</p> <p><strong>2. Learn from the mistakes of others.</strong></p> <p>Any company with a Board probably has a succession plan, thanks to the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarbanes%E2%80%93Oxley_Act" target="_blank">Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002</a>. Boards now consider it one of their most important responsibilities and lots of guidance is available.</p> <p>But for founders working alone, it&rsquo;s easy to sabotage the process by:</p> <ul> <li>Looking for someone like themselves or at least someone they like &ndash; what the company really needs is someone with entirely different skills and temperament; or</li> <li>Looking for someone of lesser stature so the founders&rsquo; legacy isn&rsquo;t overshadowed.</li> </ul> <p>By the way, the Internet is bursting with <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/where-is-the-business-going-succession-planning-points-for-consideration-1" target="_blank">example</a> <a href="http://www.barbaraweltman.com/articles/other/other_article_details.asp?id=125#axzz1VsWrNOTT" target="_blank">succession</a> plans. There&rsquo;s no excuse not to have a plan in place.</p> <p><strong>3. Decide between an internal or external successor.</strong></p> <p>Finding a new leader from within is much less risky than hiring an outsider. Be careful not to view someone in a lesser role as incapable of stepping up to the plate. You may overlook your very best candidate.</p> <p>Even if you have identified excellent candidates in-house, that&rsquo;s no excuse for not looking outside to make sure you have the best possible choice. The search inside and outside should go on concurrently.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s a tendency to think that candidates have to be ready to take over immediately. In fact, business and market circumstances &ndash; especially the strength of the management team and how their skills compliment each other &ndash; will determine how quickly a new leader can take over.</p> <p><strong>4. Try before you buy.</strong></p> <p>If you bring in a successor as, say, General Manager or COO, you&rsquo;ll have time to watch him or her work for a period of time. Ideally that period will include any seasonal peaks or other crucial points in your year such as an important trade show.</p> <p>If you make succession a sink-or-swim test it will be hard on everyone. Even someone chosen from within your organization will have to overcome a learning curve. Remember, mistakes <i>will </i>happen, the issue is how they&rsquo;re handled. Make succession a process, not an event.</p> <p><strong>5. Create a supportive environment.</strong></p> <p>In addition to the support of a great team, mentors, executive coaches, and the Board, be sure to bring the new leader into a supportive environment that encourages honest feedback.</p> <p>If you have a Board, directors will have to make sure they not only pick the best new executive, but that they provide the support he or she needs.</p> <p>If you don&rsquo;t have a Board, you can do no less. Your future and your company&rsquo;s future depends on it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tom-harnish">Tom Harnish</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Small Business Resource Center business succession planning entrepreneurship firing founders replacement CEO small business Thu, 01 Sep 2011 23:10:49 +0000 Tom Harnish 677376 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Free Resources for Entrepreneurs to Watch and Learn http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-free-resources-for-entrepreneurs-to-watch-and-learn <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/6-free-video-resources-for-entrepreneurs-to-watch-and-learn" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/6-free-video-resources-for-entrepreneurs-to-wa...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/6-free-resources-for-entrepreneurs-to-watch-and-learn" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000003460705Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="194" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-free-resources-for-entrepreneurs-to-watch-and-learn" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Free Resources for Entrepreneurs to Watch and Learn" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>To keep their competitive edge today, even the smallest businesses need to stay on top of the rapid changes in the business world, from better technology to increasing globalization.</p> <p>But doing that can be hard. You may not have time to read the latest business bestsellers or the <i>Harvard Business Review </i>in between winning new clients and managing employees.</p> <p>One shortcut is to tap the growing number of high quality videos and webcasts available on small business topics. Squeezing in just one short video or webcast every week can go a long way toward stimulating your creativity at work and rounding out gaps in your entrepreneurial knowledge.</p> <p>Not sure where to find the right viewing material? Here are a handful of sites with videos that are worth checking out.</p> <h3>Academic Earth</h3> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://academicearth.org/">Tune in</a> to talks by leading entrepreneurs at some of the world&rsquo;s top universities. On the <a target="_blank" href="http://academicearth.org/subjects/entrepreneurship">entrepreneurship channel</a>, you can soak up ideas from Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, entrepreneurship guru Guy Kawasaki, and Kleiner Perkins venture capitalist Vinod Khosla.</p> <h3>America&rsquo;s Best</h3> <p>This <a target="_blank" href="http://www.sba.gov/AmericasBest">interesting series</a> features interviews on business strategy with the leaders of six entrepreneurial companies, from Columbia Sportswear to Radio One. The businesses have received support from the Small Business Administration &ndash; which co-sponsored the series with ADP &ndash; so if you&rsquo;re interested in applying for SBA-backed loans or other programs, you may find the details of these stories particularly helpful in positioning yourself.</p> <h3>Ecorner</h3> <p>Run by Stanford University, <a target="_blank" href="http://ecorner.stanford.edu/">Ecorner</a> offers more than 2,000 free videos and podcasts, many with a Silicon Valley vibe. The videos range from practical topics such as &ldquo;What to Avoid in Term Sheets,&rdquo; by Altirah Capital&rsquo;s David Frankel to more esoteric ones, like &ldquo;The Five Whys,&rdquo; in which lean startup guru Eric Ries offers tips on discerning the reasons for technology glitches.</p> <h3>Small Business Webcast</h3> <p>Get free <a target="_blank" href="http://www.smallbusinesswebcast.com/">continuing education</a> on tax related matters and other financial topics from the instructors at the Small Business Institute of Seattle and Bellevue, Washington. Titles range from &ldquo;LLCs and S Corps Explained&rdquo; to &ldquo;7 Tax Tips for the Self Employed.&rdquo; Another good source of free finance webcasts: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cfo.com/webcasts/index.cfm">CFO Magazine</a>.</p> <h3>Ted.com</h3> <p>Looking for inspiration from leading entrepreneurs and business thinkers? You&rsquo;ll find plenty of it on <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ted.com/">TED</a>. Enter the term &ldquo;entrepreneur&rdquo; in the search box and you&rsquo;ll discover a wealth of interesting videos, including offerings by business coach Cameron Herold about raising kids to be entrepreneurs, Wine Library TV&rsquo;s Gary Vaynerchuk on the importance of overcoming self-doubt, and Amazon&rsquo;s Jeff Bezos on the next online innovation.</p> <p>The next time you feel tempted to while away a few spare moments on YouTube or Farmville, click over to one of these sites instead, and turn your downtime into investment-time.</p> <h3>OPEN Forum</h3> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/innovation/videos">OPEN Forum</a>&nbsp;has wonderful videos of super successful CEOs, Small Business Owners, and other fascinating industry leaders. Get insights, advice, and perspectives from those who have blazed the trail for you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elaine-pofeldt">Elaine Pofeldt</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Small Business Resource Center academic earth america's best ecorner education entrepreneurship small business small business education TED Fri, 20 May 2011 22:00:10 +0000 Elaine Pofeldt 541080 at http://www.wisebread.com Basic Tips for Investing in a Business http://www.wisebread.com/basic-tips-for-investing-in-a-business-1 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/basic-tips-for-investing-in-a-business-1" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/598487_coins.jpg" alt="coins" title="coins" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="187" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <blockquote><p>'When I married Donna, I could get both hands around her waist,' said my husband's grandfather. Pointing at his full-figured wife, he boasted, 'Now look how much I got. That's what I call an investment!' &mdash; Katherine Eby, via Reader's Digest.com</p></blockquote> <p>In essence, that funny anecdote is right. Of course it doesn't sound very flattering to Katherine's grandmother-in-law, but that's exactly what investment is all about: making sure that your accounts and net worth grow bigger over time.</p> <p>Investment is that exercise of putting money in a financial account, in your business, in a friend's business, or even in some other companies' business, for the pursuit of growing one's money. Investment is an effort to get one's money to &quot;grow.&quot;</p> <p>Investment works on the principle of &quot;compounded interest.&quot; Interest that is added to your principal, or initial investment, itself gets to earn interest. So if you've initially invested $200, at the interest rate of 2.5%, at the maturity term of one month, you'll be earning $5 at the end of that month. If you renew the term of your money, your $205 will then earn $5.13 ($5.125) when another month is over. Certificates of deposit accounts or time deposits work exactly like this.</p> <p>On the other hand, mutual funds work on the principle of snowballed profits. Mutual funds are as good as stocks and bonds, only you don't manage them yourself. Rather, trained financial experts are hired to manage your money. To invest in mutual funds, you can look into a broker that charges low commissions and check out their offerings.</p> <h2>Basic Tips For Investing In A Business</h2> <p>Investments could also mean those things you purchase or put money in, in order to further your business. Most people take additional studies in order to get the credentials needed to help them advance in their chosen careers. Other people invest in machinery, gadgets and equipment in order to make their lives easier. Then, most businesses invest in people which make up their workforce &mdash; their much-needed manpower.</p> <p>Here are three informal rules of thumb by which you can measure your investments and purchases:</p> <ol> <li>Does it add value to your business?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Does it add value to your personal workflow? Does it save time and help you finish your work faster?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Is it an expense that will pay itself off in the future? What is your estimated return on investment?</li> </ol> <p>If what you pay for holds up well to inquiries like these, then it's safe to say that you've made a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/personal-finance/investment">good investment</a> and have put your money in a good place.</p> <p>On the other hand, there may be things that we may not see as outright investments, but end up becoming &quot;money well spent.&quot;</p> <p>One interesting financial tool is the credit card. It's a great tool when used wisely, but can also be a problem if used indiscriminately. If you apply for business credit cards as a way to organize your business' bills and expenses, you may find that doing so can be easier and can actually be helpful for compartmentalizing your finances.</p> <p>In starting a business, one really does not need to have tens of thousands of dollars set aside or obtained on a loan for capital. Starting small is a good idea. As long as you manage your money well, and weigh each purchase or each acquisition against whether or not they add to the business, then you should be fine.</p> <p>And if there is any advice we could leave you with, it would be these tips:</p> <ol> <li>Make sure your bills are paid.</li> <li>Make sure your accounting is in order.</li> <li>Make sure you know where your money has gone, is going and where it will go.</li> <li>Endeavor to create a product line that answers your target market's needs.</li> <li>Make sure that you please and listen to your customers.</li> </ol> <p>One of the biggest pitfalls of a business would be sloppy financial monitoring or the lack of any monitoring altogether. You'll have less worries if you can have mechanisms in place to meticulously track your finances. Finally, the other side of your business involves customer satisfaction. Once you have these matters down pat, there won't be anything stopping you.</p> <p>Good luck on your money-making ventures!</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/basic-tips-for-investing-in-a-business-1" class="sharethis-link" title="Basic Tips for Investing in a Business" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/silicon-valley-blogger">Silicon Valley Blogger</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/personal-finance/investment">Investment articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Investment entrepreneurship investment small business Wed, 13 Oct 2010 13:00:06 +0000 Silicon Valley Blogger 259347 at http://www.wisebread.com Get Business Start-up Tips from “Apprentice” Finalist Dr. Randal Pinkett http://www.wisebread.com/business-start-up-tips-apprentice-finalist-dr-randal-pinkett <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/business-start-up-tips-apprentice-finalist-dr-randal-pinkett" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/randal%20pinkett.gif" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="162" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">He heard Donald Trump say, &ldquo;You&rsquo;re Hired!&rdquo; in Season 4 of the reality TV Show, and now he&rsquo;s written a no-nonsense book for the startup entrepreneur.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>He shares highlights from his new book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0979059488?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread03-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0979059488"><i style="">The No Money Down CEO</i></a> and gives us the scoop on keeping a business successful in <a href="http://www.blogtalkradio.com/WiseBread/2009/06/11/Season-4-Apprentice-Winner-Randal-Pinkett">tonight&rsquo;s interview with Wise Bread</a>.<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Even if you haven&rsquo;t followed the reality TV series phenomenon of &quot;The Apprentice&quot; (although I&rsquo;ve always been a fan), you have still probably wondered how much money you really need to start a successful, high-growth business.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>While the economy has shifted since Randal began his series of business start-ups, his advice hasn&rsquo;t gone stale.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>We get the exclusive scoop on Randal&rsquo;s life, business experiences, and book during tonight&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.blogtalkradio.com/WiseBread/2009/06/11/Season-4-Apprentice-Winner-Randal-Pinkett">Living Large on a Small Budget</a> radio show at 8pm CST.<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>We cover:</strong><o:p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></o:p></p> <ul> <li>How much money do you really need to start a thriving business?<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Do you need &ldquo;angel investors&rdquo; -- or not?<o:p></o:p></li> <li>How can you use &ldquo;bait and switch&rdquo; to start a cash flow-positive business and then use it to pursue a dream business?<o:p></o:p></li> <li>Is a college degree all it&rsquo;s cracked up to be?<o:p></o:p></li> <li>What can you learn from working with Donald Trump?<o:p></o:p></li> <li>How can strength in numbers and teamwork help you in your personal goals?<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></li> <li>How does culture and ethnicity play into business today?</li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://www.blogtalkradio.com/WiseBread/2009/06/11/Season-4-Apprentice-Winner-Randal-Pinkett">Join us tonight</a> to learn about his guide to aspiring entrepreneurs, job-hunters, and regular guys and gals who just want more out of life.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>We&rsquo;ll be taking live callers in the bottom half of the hour and sharing our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-credit-cards-be-used-for-good-or-are-they-just-evil-answer-to-win-10">Trivia winners</a>, too!<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Read more about Randal at his website </strong><a href="http://www.randalpinkett.com/"><strong>www.randalpinkett.com</strong></a><strong> or check out <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0979059488?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread03-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0979059488"><em>The No Money Down CEO</em></a> book and CD bundle.</strong></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/business-start-up-tips-apprentice-finalist-dr-randal-pinkett" class="sharethis-link" title="Get Business Start-up Tips from “Apprentice” Finalist Dr. Randal Pinkett" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building Entrepreneurship blog talk radio entrepreneurship randal pinkett small business The Apprentice Wed, 10 Jun 2009 20:30:21 +0000 Linsey Knerl 3252 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Find Freelance Clients - Part One http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-one <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-one" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2416885057_5fe37e7edc.jpg" alt="outdoor freelance office" title="outdoor freelance office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With the number of people getting laid off increasing daily, it's no wonder why more people are looking at freelancing or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-to-become-self-employed">self employment</a> options to make ends meet.&nbsp; Once you hang your &ldquo;open for business&rdquo; sign, the hard part begins! Finding clients to pay you for your products or services can be the most challenging aspect of starting and running a business. After all, without clients buying what you have to offer, you certainly can't remain in business for long.</p> <p>Getting your first client will accomplish a few things for you, business-wise. First, you'll of course have a client who is paying you, which is necessary for earning a profit and is the life blood of all businesses. Second, that first client can very well open the door to many other clients, through referrals and word of mouth; and can even turn into long term, consistent work &ndash; even if you thought it was a one-time project. Once you're ready to start your freelance business, what steps do you need to take to find your first client &ndash; and then every client after that?</p> <p>Regardless of the type of freelancing you do, the process of getting your first client is similar across all industries, and will require <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/focus-focus-fowhat-was-i-saying">focus</a> and discipline on your part to make it happen!</p> <p><strong>Prepare to Prove Yourself</strong>: As a new freelancer, hanging your &ldquo;open for business&rdquo; sign isn't enough to prove you are capable of providing high quality work. Prospective clients are weary of new business owners, and many will prefer to work with experienced freelancers in your industry. How do you prove your abilities if you've just started out?</p> <p><strong>Previous Work Experience</strong>: Before you decided to go-it-alone, chances are you were employed by another business at some point in time. Perhaps you are still employed, and are looking to freelance on a moonlighting basis until your business takes off and profits. Either way, think back to any work you have done for your employer which is an example of your abilities. If you are looking for <a href="http://www.makemoneyfromwriting.com">freelance writing</a> clients, you can probably dig up a letter or manual that you worked on for your employer. As long as it isn't confidential information, you can probably use this type of writing as initial samples for prospective clients. If you are a freelance graphic design or web developer, anything related to your line of work that was completed for an employer may very well be sufficient to prove your abilities in the field.</p> <p><strong>Do Some Volunteer Work:</strong> If you don't have anything suitable to use as samples to show your ability to do the work, consider volunteering to help a nonprofit organization. Create a website, develop logos or graphics, or write marketing materials at no charge; in exchange for using the item(s) you create as samples of your work.</p> <p><strong>Build a Portfolio</strong>: Many new freelancers, particularly those in the creative industries, feel trapped in a catch 22 when it comes to building a portfolio! <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_4482212_portfolio-before-have-writing-clients.html">How can you have a portfolio if you haven't had any client</a>s, yet? On the other hand, who is going to hire a writer, artist, or web designer without seeing a portfolio of your best work? The solution is to get to work creating a portfolio that shows off what you can do &ndash; and keep adding to your portfolio as you develop more samples. For individuals who haven't had any clients yet, it's an opportunity to come up with your own creative pieces to include. For example, you will need business cards, a web site, and other items for your business &ndash; you may as well start your portfolio out with the creative pieces you'll need to start and run your own business. Whatever your area of expertise is, do the work and include in the portfolio. Proving your ability is essential for clients to trust in your services and have confidence to hire you. As a new freelancer, you won't have testimonials of happy clients to back up your own claims of expertise, so your best option is to have samples of work you've completed ready to show off whenever you have the opportunity to communicate with a prospective client.</p> <p>Once you have samples and/or a portfolio ready to go &ndash; where do you start finding prospective clients?&nbsp; We'll discuss this in &quot;How to Find Freelance Clients:&nbsp;Part Two&quot;.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-one" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Find Freelance Clients - Part One" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debbie-dragon">Debbie Dragon</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building entrepreneurship finding clients freelance jobs freelancing Making Extra Cash small business owner Tue, 12 May 2009 11:31:58 +0000 Debbie Dragon 3151 at http://www.wisebread.com Can't Get A Bank Loan? 8 Other Ways To Finance Your Business http://www.wisebread.com/cant-get-a-bank-loan-8-other-ways-to-finance-your-business <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cant-get-a-bank-loan-8-other-ways-to-finance-your-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bank-loans.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="171" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With a good proportion of my peers having been <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lost-my-job-tips-for-the-recently-laid-off">laid off</a> or facing the possibility of getting axed sometime soon, many people I know are seriously pondering the possibility of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-entrepreneurial-spirit-in-an-economic-crunch">starting a business</a>.&nbsp; The thing is, a lot of businesses take time and money to run.&nbsp; I've got a little experience in this area, having started an online business with my spouse that so far has taken over two years to build, and tens of thousands of dollars to finance.&nbsp; </p> <p>The reality is that starting a business can easily become a money pit. So for those of you thinking about launching a new venture, what financing options do you have?&nbsp; Well, there's the possibility of taking out business loans from your local bank, of course. <strong>But what if your bank has turned you down?</strong>&nbsp; Let's consider a few alternative financing options in case you're unable to get the money you need from your bank.&nbsp; Many would-be enterpreneurs cobble together various sources of funding to make things work. Now not all strategies are a good idea -- so here are some options, along with my opinions of each approach:</p> <h3>No Bank Loan? Alternative Financing Options For Your Business</h3> <p>I offer 8 possible ways to finance your business, with the first four methods as my preferred approaches. I'd personally avoid the last 4 options due to the financial and personal risks they bring, but your mileage may vary.</p> <p><strong>1. Bootstrapping.</strong><br /> Do you have enough bulk in your savings account? The way we financed our business involved having us build our savings for a significant period of time, and allocating some of that savings towards our business plans. If you're thinking of going into business for yourself, then work to save money towards that goal, way before you even put your plans into action.&nbsp; I know of people who've decided to raid their emergency funds to feed their ventures, after ensuring that they could rebuild their emergency fund account over time.&nbsp; But be careful about this approach since it will probably take you a while to build back your savings as you focus on nurturing your venture.&nbsp; Personally, I wouldn't touch my emergency fund for this purpose unless I was sure that I had the cash flow to replenish any savings lost as quickly as possible. </p> <p><strong>2. Peer to peer lending network.</strong><br /> Have you heard of peer to peer lending and borrowing? This process involves borrowing money from strangers, all of whom belong to a lending network.&nbsp; This is simply a formalized network that pools the financial resources of people together in order to help fund someone's &quot;project&quot; or enterprise, whatever it may be. For more information on these services and networks, check out my Lending Club review, Kiva review and Prosper coverage. </p> <p><strong>3. Venture capital or angel funding.</strong><br /> If you've got a compelling business idea, you may be able to find funding for it through &quot;angels&quot; or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/venture-capital">venture capital</a>, who usually have the deep pockets to offer you a substantial investment for a piece of the equity. During the dot com boom, it was quite easy to get funding through this method, but it's no longer the case during this drawn out recession.&nbsp; So if you can get the bucks this way, consider yourself lucky!</p> <p><strong>4. Bartering methods.</strong><br /> Instead of financing your business with money, why not look to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-the-trade">barter services</a> with others who can help you with your projects?&nbsp; For instance, you may have technical skills while someone else has the marketing chops.&nbsp; To get your business off the ground, you may want to trade services with other small business owners who are willing to share their skills with you and vice versa.</p> <p><strong>5. Funding from friends and family.</strong><br /> Certainly, you can always hit up your relatives and friends for the money. It's usually the case that you'll find your first fans and supporters from your own circle, so they may be the first people you end up approaching for financing. But going this route can have its pitfalls, since doing business with those people you have close relationships with can become complicated, especially when things don't turn out well. Unfortunately, many an entrepreneurial venture will end on a sour note (as they say, 9 out of 10 businesses eventually fail) and can bring down along with it, your ties with your familial investors. The conventional advice here is to keep your social and business relationships separate, and not to mix business with family, unless your family is willing to work with you on a completely professional level.&nbsp; If you decide to accept money from your loved ones, make sure you have a contract and that you treat anyone who puts money into your venture as professionally as you would any business partner or investor.<br /> <strong><br /> 6. Credit cards.</strong><br /> Many entrepreneurs I know have hit up their credit cards for the funding they need. The thing is, they charge everything and anything to their <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-rewards-programs">rewards credit cards</a>. This isn't a good idea unless you're able to pay off your balance in full each month or unless you can prevent your debt from escalating.&nbsp; When my spouse started his first company right out of college, he ended up carrying credit card debt for a long while.&nbsp; We ended up retiring this debt after 3 years only after we married and were able to pool our financial resources together.&nbsp; Credit cards are an easy source of financing, but I'd be careful to take out a large amount of debt this way, given the high interest rates you'll end up paying over time.</p> <p><strong>7. A HELOC or home equity loan.</strong><br /> You may get a better rate by using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-tapping-into-home-equity-is-like-pawning-a-gold-necklace">home equity loan</a> or HELOC to fund your business, but putting up your home as collateral is a big risk, again, given the rate of failure of businesses.&nbsp; This is something I wouldn't try.</p> <p><strong>8. Borrowing from your 401k.</strong><br /> Are you tempted to borrow from your 401k?&nbsp; Just like borrowing against your home, this is another source of financing that can be cheaper than many other channels, but it's also pretty high risk.&nbsp; You can end up potentially owing the government taxes as well as penalties, if you are unable to repay your loan according to the rules that govern these retirement plans (within 5 years or less).</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-deal-what-to-expect-when-starting-your-own-business">Starting your own business</a> is a huge step, since it takes a lot of risk, time, energy and in most cases, a certain amount of money to proceed down this path. I'd weigh the risks of running a business very carefully, before I decide to commit money to any venture using various financing channels.&nbsp; If you were to launch a business, how would you go about it? <br /> &nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-get-a-bank-loan-8-other-ways-to-finance-your-business" class="sharethis-link" title="Can&#039;t Get A Bank Loan? 8 Other Ways To Finance Your Business" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/silicon-valley-blogger">Silicon Valley Blogger</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/career-and-income/entrepreneurship">Entrepreneurship articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Debt Management Entrepreneurship bank loan business credit debt entrepreneurship financing small business Wed, 22 Apr 2009 20:26:44 +0000 Silicon Valley Blogger 3070 at http://www.wisebread.com Outsourcing Your Life, and Creating New Businesses http://www.wisebread.com/outsourcing-your-life-and-creating-new-businesses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/outsourcing-your-life-and-creating-new-businesses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Nora%20working%20hard%20-%20cropped%20and%20compressed.jpg" alt="outsourcing" title="outsourcing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="374" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">How much is your time worth? If you get paid $25/hour for example, you work long hard hours on a salary (<em>read: no overtime pay</em>), and you have a family that is starting to forget what you look like, then how much is your time worth?</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">In order to gain an hour or two of family time, get out of the office at a decent hour, and save your health, is it worth $12/hour to hire landscapers? $15/hour to organize a terrific birthday party for your child? Or $10/hour to have somebody apply for visas for your next big vacation?</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">If you own a business and are doing nothing but running around putting out fires, how much more money could that business make if there were no fires to put out? Or rather, if somebody else could put them out for you and free you up to start averaging $50, $75, or $200/hour?</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Welcome to the wonderful world of outsourcing.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Tim Ferriss describes this concept beautifully in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/4-Hour-Workweek-Escape-Live-Anywhere/dp/0307353133?tag=wisbre09-20" target="_blank">The 4-Hour Workweek</a>.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">In fact, you can read a <a href="http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/outsourcing-life/" target="_blank">clip from the book here</a>; a humorous and compelling case study for outsourcing your life.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">I have read about this concept before. This is not news. I have hired cleaners, delegated taxes to experts (who can complete them in a fraction of the time it takes me and still manage to save me more money), and hired help whenever I could find a way to do so.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">But when I read <a href="http://www.amazon.com/4-Hour-Workweek-Escape-Live-Anywhere/dp/0307353133?tag=wisbre09-20" target="_blank">the book</a>, and more specifically the passage above, I began to realize that it doesn&rsquo;t matter what you do for a living; there is always a way to outsource, make a profit in the end, and have more time to live life.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">You can outsource your life to enjoy a fuller existence and more profitable career. But you can also create new businesses using outsourcing as the platform. Let&rsquo;s explore both.</p> <h2>Outsourcing Your Life</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">When I sold my business to travel full-time and write for a living, I figured I was in it on my own. Shy of sending my taxes to an accountant, what can I possibly outsource? And why on earth should I need to? For goodness sake, I travel full-time; how taxing can that be?!</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Shortly thereafter, I learned that it doesn&rsquo;t matter what you do, or where you do it. There is always a way to find yourself too busy if you aren&rsquo;t careful. Time that was previously filled with client meetings, drafting financial plans, and driving all over the city became filled with visa applications, press work, destination research for articles, actually writing and editing, working part-time in trade for accommodation, internet research and posting&hellip;you get the point.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">I am traveling, yet I seem to spend more time at WiFi hotspots than I do actually <strong>seeing</strong> the world.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">So I started to look at how I could outsource my life. Here are just a few ways:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Article Research:</strong> Some articles I wish to write require a lot of research. Since it costs me (in both time and money) to do internet research on the road, I tend to shy away from these projects. If I can get a stack of research done for a small fee, and turn that research into one or many paying articles, I will have a healthy profit and somebody else to have done the grunt work which normally slows me down &ndash; or rather, stops me from starting. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Website design:</strong> I don&rsquo;t have the patience or time to learn how to design and maintain a website, but if I get somebody else on the task&hellip;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Blog postings:</strong> I regularly contribute to a number of blogs. And sometimes, it takes me almost as long to post the articles (especially if I&rsquo;m in a place with a pitiful connection) as it does to write them. My virtual assistant can post it, take care of the html code, and attach reasonable tags. In fact, they can probably do it considerably more efficiently and effectively than I. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Travel Research:</strong> Instead of buying a travel guide and sifting through information I don&rsquo;t need, or searching on the internet for what I do need, I can have a tidy little report sent to me by my assistant on exactly the things I want to know about my next destination. And there&rsquo;s a potential cost savings in not having to purchase the guidebook too.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Travel Visas:</strong> If you have ever applied for a visa in certain countries with rigorous visa processes, you&rsquo;ll understand why this may be worth outsourcing. It saves both time and headaches. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Income Optimization:</strong> My virtual assistant can consolidate all my online income sources and report some of the specific activities I monitor on a regular basis through avenues like Feedburner, Analytics, and even other avenues I have a desire but no time to monitor.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Increase Traffic:</strong> Anybody who makes money online knows there is but one golden rule to making money &ndash; thou shalt increase traffic. If my assistant can spend the time required to drive traffic to certain portals, my income can increase exponentially. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Personal Tasks:</strong> It&rsquo;s a bit of a stretch past my comfort zone, but I could even outsource the monthly payment of my bills (online), and accounting. I do, however, draw the line at having them correspond with my family and friends for me!</li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">There are a number of dos and don&rsquo;ts to outsourcing your life and working with <a href="http://www.productivity501.com/ultimate-virtual-assistant-guide/813/">virtual assistants</a>, so I will leave it to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/4-Hour-Workweek-Escape-Live-Anywhere/dp/0307353133?tag=wisbre09-20" target="_blank">The 4-Hour Workweek</a> to explain them, as the author does a bang-up job.&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Let&rsquo;s start to think even bigger.</p> <h2>Creating New Businesses</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">I just managed to find ways outsource most of the things that hold me down and keep me from traveling with a clear mind and lighter pack.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">But what about outsourcing as a business?</p> <h3><em><strong>It&rsquo;s pure art in the making.</strong></em></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Artists by nature are rarely business-minded people. Entrepreneurial talent and artistic talent utilize different parts of the brain. I wonder if it is one of the reasons you see talented artists (be they visual artists, musicians, or &ndash;ahem &ndash; writers) who aren&rsquo;t &ldquo;making it big&rdquo; like you believe they should.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">What if you could pave the way for these artists? To develop a team of virtual assistants, versed in everything it takes to market that mural, or book that gig? And what if you could connect those artists with your talented virtual assistants? The artists become your clients. You then manage their marketing activity via your virtual assistants.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">What&rsquo;s in it for the artist? A well-organized marketing plan, and possibly the big career break they could otherwise spend a life searching for.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">What&rsquo;s in it for you? A cut of the profits for finding the artist, taking them on as a client, and outsourcing the marketing management. It&rsquo;s not cheating; there&rsquo;s still work involved in bringing a team of virtual assistants up to speed (an initial research task which you would be out of pocket for up front), and in soliciting and managing your artistic clients. But once you get even a few clients on board, what a wonderful form of relatively passive income this could be. Heck &ndash; you could even outsource the research on how to find potential clients, and get your virtual assistant to make the prospecting calls and book meetings for you. This leaves you free to work on another outsourcing business. Or drink pina coladas. Your choice.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">This is just one business idea on how to maximize the power of outsourcing. If you take a look at your own profession with fresh eyes, you may find a few ways to do something similar yourself. Heck &ndash; you may even want to outsource your own job.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">So&hellip;how much is your time worth?</p> <h3><strong>Here are some outsourcing resources to get you started:</strong></h3> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.ivaa.org/" target="_blank">International Virtual Assistants Association</a> &ndash; use them to find virtual assistants all over the world. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.yourmaninindia.com/" target="_blank">Your Man In India</a> &ndash; a tool mentioned in <a href="/%3Ca%20mce_thref=%22http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2F4-Hour-Workweek-Escape-Live-Anywhere%2Fdp%2F0307353133%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks%26qid%3D1211779134%26sr%3D8-1&amp;tag=wisbre09-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325%22%3EThe%204-Hour%20Workweek%3C/a%3E%3Cimg%20mce_tsrc=%22http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wisbre09-20&amp;amp;l=ur2&amp;amp;o=1%22%20width=%221%22%20height=%221%22%20border=%220%22%20alt=%22%22%20style=%22border:none%20%21important;%20margin:0px%20%21important;%22%20/%3E" target="_blank">The 4-Hour Workweek</a>. Poking around there will lead you to <a href="http://www.getfriday.com" target="_blank">Get Friday</a>, where you can hire a virtual assistant to take care of any number of tasks. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.elance.com/p/landing/buyer.html" target="_blank">Elance</a> &ndash; another portal for outsourcing and locating virtual assistants who can help you simplify your life. You can search for appropriate companies by the task you wish them to complete.</li> </ul> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/outsourcing-your-life-and-creating-new-businesses" class="sharethis-link" title="Outsourcing Your Life, and Creating New Businesses" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/career-and-income/entrepreneurship">Entrepreneurship articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship Productivity entrepreneurship new business ideas outsourcing The 4-Hour Workweek tim ferriss virtual assistants Tue, 27 May 2008 11:56:24 +0000 Nora Dunn 2129 at http://www.wisebread.com The Real Deal: What to Expect When Starting Your Own Business http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-deal-what-to-expect-when-starting-your-own-business <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-real-deal-what-to-expect-when-starting-your-own-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/511298198_773b196368_m.jpg" alt="First Entrepreneurial Five Dollars" title="First Entrepreneurial Five Dollars" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="222" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's easy to list &quot;Start Business&quot; as a goal for the new year, but do you know what that actually means? About a year ago, I asked myself that question. Over these last months, I've done a ton of research on what it would realistically take to start a small business. I've had various ideas and have researched them all, and the list below contains items that seem to be true across the board. There are business for which these are not true, but those are the exceptions rather than the rule. </p> <p>You can expect that...</p> <p>1. You will lose money.</p> <p>It's easy to list &quot;Start Business&quot; as a goal for the new year, but do you know what that actually means? About a year ago, I asked myself that question. Over these last months, I've done a ton of research on what it would realistically take to start a small business. I've had various ideas and have researched them all, and the list below contains items that seem to be true across the board. There are business for which these are not true, but those are the exceptions rather than the rule.</p> <p>You can expect that...</p> <p>1. You will lose money.</p> <p>Hopefully, this will not be long-term. However, you could be facing a year or two of losses even if your idea is eventually successful. It just takes that long to make contacts, acquire customers who return time and time again, and drum up enough recognition for your product and your brand that people know it and trust you. This is why it's so important to plan ahead and make sure you have the money, either from savings or other streams of income, to cover your costs while you're getting things going.</p> <p>2. Things will not go as planned.</p> <p>Something will go wrong. Sometimes those wrong turns become the very thing that makes the business so successful. Most of the time, though, wrong turns slow down business growth. You can't plan for these, but you can expect them and take them in stride when they appear. They're particularly common when a business is new, because you don't have working relationships with suppliers, shippers, vendors, etc. You'll do your best to make it all run smoothly, but you don't know them and they don't know you and that can cause problems.</p> <p>3. Some customers will be unhappy.</p> <p>No matter how good your product or service is, there are always people who don't like it. They will probably complain vociferously and harangue steadily, and there's not much you can do about it. You can't make everyone happy, and you don't have to try. While it's probably best to try to pacify an unhappy customer, you can't let their opinion get to you. Just because the vocal few don't like what you're doing doesn't mean it doesn't have value or won't ultimately be successful.</p> <p>4. You will have to dig deep.</p> <p>Being an entrepreneur takes a lot of social, emotional, and physical energy, and it requires you to sustain high levels of those energies over long periods of time. You will be tired, cranky, and emotional and there's not much you can do about it, no matter how good your self-care is. It's just not possible for a human being to sustain high levels of energy in all these areas for a long time. If you're not willing to suffer these effects, entrepreneurship is probably not for you.</p> <p>5. You will have to adjust your prices.</p> <p>Almost every case study I've read about an entrepreneur mentions a major price change somewhere in the formative stages of the business. You can do all the research in the world, but you still can't know for sure what someone is willing to pay for what you have to offer. Go in knowing that things could come out differently. Often, this is for the best as businesses with correctly priced items or services tend to do the best. The actual change, though, can be difficult for some business owners.</p> <p>6. There will be slow seasons.</p> <p>Your product takes off, and you can't believe the ride you're on. Six months later, business is in the doldrums and you're not quite sure what happened. Every business has this happen at least once. Sometimes, it's a season thing, and business will pick up in a couple of months. Other times, it's an economy thing and you just have to ride out the low points until consumers are buying again. Whatever the reason, you need to expect that you won't have the same income all the time and plan accordingly.</p> <p>7. Someone else will have a similar product.</p> <p>No great idea is created in a vacuum, so it's invariable that someone else will come up with something similar to what you're selling at some point. This can require anything from some minor tweaks to a major overhaul of your product or business model. Since great minds think alike, take this as confirmation that you're doing something special and important and that you'll find your way around the obstacle eventually.</p> <p>8. Your family and close friends will face stress.</p> <p>If you think you're the only one who will pay a price to get your business started, you couldn't be more wrong. As an entrepreneur, you will miss important events. You will not get enough rest, and be tired and cranky. This will influence your personal relationships. This doesn't have to be something negative and can be a chance for your friends and family to rally around you with their support, to help you out when you hit a deadline, or to do something special to help relieve the stress.</p> <p>9. You will pay more taxes.</p> <p>What with a self-employment tax on top of your normal tax contributions, you will give the government a larger percentage of your money than you have before. When you have employees, you'll pay even more. This fact has drastically altered some business plans and can make the difference between turning a profit and declaring bankruptcy. If you expect it ahead of time, you can plan better and remember to incorporate these expectations into your thoughts from the very beginning.</p> <p>10. You will burn the candle at both ends.</p> <p>Starting a business takes time, particularly at the beginning where you're the one doing everything--contacting vendors, advertising, making the product or performing the service, working on packaging, building an identity for your business, working with suppliers who may well be located in other countries, invoicing, etc. There are a lot of tasks that go into forming a successful business that you may not think about ahead of time, and you'll get to do them all. While running your own business may sound like an easy way out of the 9-5, rest assured that you'll work more hours doing your own thing.</p> <p>11. Your work will be more rewarding.</p> <p>When you're working on something you care about, it doesn't matter how hard it is. The long hours, the stress, and the highs and lows will have meaning for you if you're doing something that fits in with your personality and personal values. Make sure your product or service falls into these categories, and you'll find the energy to pull your business off.</p> <p>12. You will change in the process.</p> <p>You can't step out on your own, try something new, put yourself and your family on the line and not be changed. Entrepreneurs report being stronger, more resilient, more process oriented (instead of results oriented), and more at peace with themselves than they were before they started their businesses. If you're not open to change, or are one of the few people who are perfect already, this can be the most difficult part of the entrepreneurial experience.</p> <p>13. You will always have something to talk about.</p> <p>Your job will be different from what most of your friends know, and this will mean that there are conversations to be had. While they might get tired of hearing about the business eventually, being an entrepreneur make you interesting to most people. You need never fear small talk at a cocktail party again.</p> <p>Some of the items on this list can seem so discouraging! It's easy to wonder what the point is of starting your own business if you're going to be tired, poor, emotional, and stressed all the time. If this looks like the doldrums to you, take some time before jumping into a new business to ask yourself if it's really something you want. If you went through all of these things for your business and it ultimately failed, would you still have wanted to experience the process or would you wish you'd never had that brilliant idea in the first place? If you can answer &quot;yes!&quot; to this question, go ahead and jump in (with, of course, the proper planning). If you answer &quot;no!&quot; take some time to figure out what makes you answer negatively and if there's a way to turn that around. Being able to say &quot;yes!&quot; to this question means your business has a better chance of success because you believe it's important enough to try for, regardless of the outcome. That creates a special kind of energy that nothing else will.</p> <p>Be well, have a happy holiday, and best wishes for your entrepreneurial endeavors, next year or whenever!!</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-deal-what-to-expect-when-starting-your-own-business" class="sharethis-link" title="The Real Deal: What to Expect When Starting Your Own Business" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/career-and-income/entrepreneurship">Entrepreneurship articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entrepreneurship entrepreneurial endeavors entrepreneurship starting a business Wed, 19 Dec 2007 20:16:48 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1513 at http://www.wisebread.com