Don't Just Dress Up as an Entrepreneur - Become One!
November 30, 2014
By Chris Baker
Becoming an entrepreneur does not have to be a costume you wear, it can be a reality you experience!
This Halloween, instead of being spooked by the thought of venturing out on your own, turn that fear into motivation and make being your own boss a reality.
If you have ever thought of venturing out on your own, becoming your own boss and managing your own career; here are some tips to get you started:
The Cheap Franchise - A lot of aspiring entrepreneurs want to get out there on their own but would love to have a proven model in place. Owning a franchise is one such solution.
If you don't have $1 million in capital to own a major fast food chain, consider a much cheaper solution.
One of these solutions is the model behind becoming a financial advisor.
Most Insurance and Investment companies or firms are looking for entrepreneurial minded people like you right now.
Becoming an advisor means you are usually on contract and essentially operate as a franchise on your own with the support and marketing of the firm. There is no franchise fee and the capital you should have behind you can be much less.
It is a commission structure, but you are not an employee. You make your own hours, use a proven model to advise and educate your clients, and you avoid the additional expenses like, bricks and mortar and employing staff.
Yes there are expenses associated with operating your own practice as a financial advisor. These expenses are much lower however, and usually include technology fees, licensing, space and support arrangements, errors and omissions insurance, among a few others.
Many of these expenses can be tax deductible (be sure to ask an accountant which ones) and since you are likely to choose to have reduced or no tax taken from your commissions, you will need to have some expenses in hand come tax time.
Be prepared to work - No matter what you choose, a franchise, or to go it alone, be prepared to put the work in.
Becoming an entrepreneur is incredibly rewarding, but it will take commitment and work ethic, particularly in the beginning. Expect to put in a lot of hours up front with reduced income.
To keep yourself motivated during these times, take your business plan (which we will discuss in a moment) and have some fun creating a vision board.
Not sure what a vision board is? A vision board is essentially a collage made out of images or pieces of experiences that you hope to have when your business really gets going.
It may sound silly, but I have networked with quite a few successful entrepreneurs across the country and this is one element I have heard come up a few times. While they joked about the reasons that they had the vision board, the board actually helped. The fact of the matter is that they had the board and looked at it during the early days. It was particularly useful when some days, weeks and even months were frustrating.
Be prepared to quit multiple times, then don't - The world's most successful entrepreneurs have quit what they do multiple times in their minds and guess what? That was alright. It happens and is expected.
Owning what you do is hard, especially in the early days, but success comes from not giving up.
Despite quitting in their minds multiple times, successful entrepreneurs persevere. It is a learned talent but it is one of the only ways to succeed. There will be bad days. Stick to it.
Have a really good business plan and allow it to evolve - You need a plan, and it needs to be extensive and good. But plans change.
Make sure that not only do you have a solid business plan that has a vision for the short medium and long term, but that it also has room to grow, be altered and you are open for feedback.
The best entrepreneurs learn from others and adjust as they go. You must have founding principles, but there is always room for feedback and advice.
Network and be open to networking - It always baffles me when I am on LinkedIn and looking at the 'people who viewed your profile' feature and see that their security is set so high that they have only the silhouette head as an image and the "someone from such and such industry viewed your profile" moniker. My question is always this: Why are you here then?
If you are not on LinkedIn to build your personal and/or business brand and most importantly network, then you shouldn't be here at all. Be open and responsive to networking and building your brand.
Regularly educating people on "what you do" is part of that networking process. If you do not take the time to educate and inform your own personal network as well as those outside of it as to what you truly do, then it will be impossible to receive referrals and organically market yourself and your business.
Last but not least: Take a dry run - Before you even lay the first piece of ground work, why not educate some of the people in your own network on what you are looking at doing and take the 'temperature' on how they feel about it?
If you know 45 people and 30 of them have had a bad experience with the industry you are looking at, this might be a red flag indicating that the advocates you thought you had in your personal circle may not be advocates at all because of how they feel about the industry. I know I would sure like to know that my network would not advocate for what I do before spending a dime of my hard earned money on venturing out on my own into that world.
A dry run also helps in early marketing. If the bulk of those 45 people respond favourably, they will now already have an idea of what you will be doing before you even do it.
How fantastic would it be if you could launch your business and in week one you already have interest?
These tips, along with the many others you can find on LinkedIn and beyond, will give you a great start in preparing for the biggest career move of your life and heading out to go it on your own.
Like Halloween, there may be scary elements out there, but most are just your imagination. Take that step!
About the author: Chris Baker is Director, Buiness Develoment at Freedom 55 Financial in London Canada where he helps to build teams to success. He is a certified professional speaker (Canadian Association of Public Sepakers) and is involved in coaching, leadership development and management.
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